Bazaruto Archipelago, Vilankulo

Magic, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Magic, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

The Bazaruto Archipelago contains out off 5 main islands. All islands form a huge Maritime and National Park since 1971. I find that extremely encouraging for Mozambique’s future. About 10000 Years ago, these islands were connected to the São Sebastiáo Peninsula further south. 

Tropical island life, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Tropical island life, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

There are luxuries expensive lodges on the islands, most people opt for day trips. Needless to say that the Bazaruto Archipelago is a popular tourist destination, as these sandy islands couldn’t get any more idyllic.

Dhow safaris to drift away in any direction, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Dhow safaris to drift away in any direction, Vilankulo, Mozambique

There are plenty of tour operators here ranging from cruisy dhow sails to faster speedboat options.

Mito giving the thumbs up, ready to go, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Mito giving the thumbs up, ready to go, Vilankulo, Mozambique

To sail to Bazaruto takes about 3 hours one way. The faster speedboat includes snorkeling along the eastern shores of the islands, over the reef. Impossible to manage on a dhow filled with tourists.

Happy islanders, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Happy islanders, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Svenja and Finja found a local tour guide by the name of Mino for a tour over to Bazaruto island. I met them briefly whilst staying in Tofo and we bumped into each other again at ‘Baobab Beach Backpackers’. Two young German girls bussing up Mozambique’s east coast.

Early morning rush hour tropical style, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Early morning rush hour tropical style, Vilankulo, Mozambique

I was up early again, capturing another stunning sunrise.

Another stunning sunrise, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Another stunning sunrise, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Capturing the palms, dhows, and the people.

Chit chat, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Chit chat, Vilankulo, Mozambique

The sun reflections on calm waters are just mind-blowing.

Dhow on dhow, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Dhow on dhow, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Early dhow fishermen sailing of already, whilst others still preparing.

Ready? Steady? Dhow...! Vilankulo, Mozambique

Ready? Steady? Dhow…! Vilankulo, Mozambique

Besides, I will be cruising inland from here and won’t be seeing any saltwater beaches until I reach Namibia on the west coast.

Dhow Harbour, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Dhow Harbour, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Mito arrived on time and after a short briefing and snorkel and fin check, we were on our way. I sat in front of the speedboat, enjoying the view through clear shallow waters. Dolphins, turtles, and dugongs call these waters home, but I didn’t see any.

Sandtracks up the dunes, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Sandtracks up the dunes, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

A good hour later, we shipped into a calm bay overlooking gigantic sand dunes in crystal clear waters. The message from the Park warden was clear! Take photos only, leave only footprints behind.

Eco toilet, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Eco toilet, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Even an eco-toilet had been built to reduce impact. We had about an hour to climb up these impressive sand dunes, to enjoy the view over islands and ocean.

Jumping for joy, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Jumping for joy, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Clear blue skies gave the perfect opportunity for close up photos.

Sand fun, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Sand fun, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Jumping of sand dunes, or just digging into the sand. It felt like walking in the Sahara desert.

Overlooking the ‘washing machine’, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Overlooking the ‘washing machine’, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

The view over the ocean was just as stunning. Sandbars were clearly visible through the island channel, the large reef a bit further east. Tricky boating conditions.

Group photo, Svenja, myself and Finja, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Group photo, Svenja, myself and Finja, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

The perfect backdrop for group photos.

Seat with a view, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Seat with a view, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

We chilled a while on the edge of the sand dunes.

Hanging in there, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Hanging in there, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Whilst watching other tourists arriving.

Great sandy strait, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Great sandy strait, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Returning a different way one could see the size off the never-ending sand island. Clear blue skies on turquoise waters.

Lunch preparations, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Lunch preparations, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Mito and the rest of the crew were busy preparing lunch to enjoy after our snorkel adventure. And that it was. This channel is nicknamed ‘the washing machine’, for good reasons. We were soaked before we reached the more swell protecting reef. But even snorkeling had his challenges. Sadly, a lot of coral had been destroyed over the years. We spent a good hour snorkeling these waters. I was hoping to see a shark, or turtle, or maybe a larger pelagic swimming by. None of the above.

The outstanding crew, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

The outstanding crew, Bazaruto Island, Vilankulo

Lunch was ready by the time we returned to Bazaruto island, we all were hungry. A freshly cooked rice dish with a tomato base, grilled Spanish Mackerel, and chicken, fruits for dessert. Yumm. 

Glas clear waters, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Glas clear waters, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

After a lengthy siesta break, we moved on to Benguerra Island. A few resorts line the shores, on this popular sandy island. The calm waters attracted other tourists, which dhow fishermen know. 

Fresh catch, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Fresh catch, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

One boat caught plenty of garfish, as well a fair number of ‘Bonito Tuna’.

Fresh catch, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Island dreaming black and white, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Soft sand and crystal clear, calm waters opted for a perfect photo.

Happy days, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Happy days, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Most people just relaxed and enjoyed the view of dhows passing in the distance,

Sunny glare, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Sunny glare, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

through sun glared waters.

Dhows in the distance, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Dhows in the distance, Benguerra Island, Vilankulo

Returning back to Vilankulo, a game of football was held in between dhows. Perfect pitch, perfect time, perfect surroundings.

Football in between dhows and palm trees, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Football in between dhows and palm trees, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Svenja, Finja and I joined Mito and his crew for a few farewell beers and a game of pool with local friends. It was an amusing affair with loud Reggae and … been played. Players danced around the tables, others chatting, a really cool vibe. I wasn’t going to have a late, drunk night, but Mito kept twisting my arm and the beers coming. We went over to ‘Mambo Jambo’s’ by the beach were more local folk enjoyed the Friday night.

A brilliant solo guitarist played great songs of the local genre. I met more and more friendly locals, chatting away about anything. One invited me for a bbq on Saturday, but I will be leaving early morning. I farewelled Mito and wished him all the best for future outings. With his positive attitude and friendly nature, no doubt he will be ok.

Nice to Mito, Vilankulo, Mozambique

Nice to Mito, Vilankulo, Mozambique

For me, it was time for bed. A perfect ending for a perfect day with Mito Obrigado.

For a great day around the islands, get in touch with Mito

 

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