- Coastline Blue lagoon
- Coast life The tide is high
Remote and reef-fringed Benguerra Island is stranded off the coast of southern Mozambique, sun-favoured and away from it all…
Calling all castaways: things can’t get better than this. The totally tropical Bazaruto Archipelago is formed of five islands, and Benguerra, 14 kilometres from the mainland, is its second biggest. An untouched landscape of pristine shores, crystal-watered seas and swaying palms, roads are merely tracks in the sand around here. Sail the sapphire waters in an old wooden dhow boat, or go subaquatic and scuba-dive your way around the coral reefs and sparkling shoals of fish. Inland, the landscape is made up of forests, freshwater lakes, wetlands and savannah. It may be cut off from the rest of the country, but there’s no laid-back island life on Benguerra. The community welcomes visitors to join in and help out with some of the many conservation projects: building clinics, protecting dolphins and sponsoring local football teams.
Do go/Don’t go
This tropical island is warm and sunny all year, but dry and cooler between April and September. It’s hottest and most humid from October until March. The mainland is much rainier, but expect showers in January and February. Cyclone season in the Indian Ocean is January to March; Mozambique isn’t in the belt, but they do occasionally hit.
- Planes The main gateway is Johannesburg in South Africa; from here, it’s a two-hour flight to Vilanculos on the mainland and then a swift transfer over to the Bazaruto Archipelago. LAM (www.lam.co.mz) and Federal Air (www.fedair.com) have Vilanculos-bound flights, some of which stop – generally on Tuesdays and Fridays – to pick up passengers from the Kruger Mpumalanga International airport in Nelspruit. LAM also has flights from Maputo to Vilanculos.
- Automobiles There’s no way of getting a car onto the island, but most of the hotels have a selection of 4x4s for safari purposes.
- Taxis You’re more likely to see a rank of dugongs lining up to give you a ride than a black cab around here; all travel is arranged through your resort, most of which have their own fleet of wooden dhonis, speedboats and 4x4s.