Bazaruto Archipelago and adjacent mainland.

The site consists of the Archipelago (Bazaruto, Benguera and Santa Carolina Islands), the San Sebastio Peninsula and the hinterland of Vilanculos and Inhassoro. The site is a legendary get-away for fishermen and divers, and is becoming increasingly popular with birders. It is designated as an Important Bird Area because of the large numbers of migratory shorebirds which take refuge on the extensive intertidal flats. Everything happens slowly here, and two or three days is a minimum time needed to get around to some of the best birding sites. More than 260 species have been recorded.



Bar-tailed Godwit (the biggest concentrations in southern Africa have been recorded on Bazaruto Island), Crab Plover (flocks of up to 80 birds), Greater Frigatebird and Lesser Frigatebird are seen around the islands after heavy weather at sea. Eurasian Oystercatcher are regular summer visitors. Madagascar Bee-eater are common around the islands and on the mainland. Neergaard's Sunbird and Plain-backed Sunbird should be looked for in forests on the San Sebastio peninsula, Malagasy Pond-Heron and Mascarene Martin have been seen in winter around wetlands in the hinterland. Lemon-breasted Canary is found in grassland with stunted palms in the hinterland. Occasional sightings have been made of Red-footed Booby and Brown Noddy. Large flocks of Sooty Tern and Wilson's Storm-Petrel can be seen on pelagic trips. Lesser Noddy, Swift Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, Common Tern and Little Tern occur on the sand spit on the north-western tip of Bazaruto Island.



Extensive intertidal sand bars and mudflats are the main feature of the site. Woodlands are mostly scrubby, but substantial forests occur on the San Sebastiao Peninsula. Freshwater wetlands occur on the larger islands and in the hinterland.



There are well known luxury lodges on each of the islands. On the mainland along the shore immediately north of Vilanculos, several establishments offer varying standards of accommodation. A hotel and campsite were previously available at Inhassoro, but these are shortly to be closed as the site has been taken over by the construction company involved in the gas pipeline. Various boat owners stationed at Inhassoro and Vilanculos offer trips out to the islands. Make inquiries locally. Pelagic trips can also be arranged. Trips by dhow (traditional Arab sailing boats) can be arranged from Vilanculos. When embarking on a dhow trip, one should definitely not be in a hurry.



Vilanculos and Inhassoro are reached via the main tar road from Maputo. The Islands and San Sebastiao Peninsula are reached by boat. Guests of the luxury lodges on the islands are usually flown in. The town of Vilanculos is notoriously full of thieves, but security is good at the resorts out of town, as well as at the campsite at Inhassoro. For more information, try Mozambique Travel Centre (011-7013756) or Mozambique Connection (011-8034185).

Bazaruto Archiplago Website

Vincent Parker 2001.