Oct 5, 2012 14:54 - geraldinewalks | 2,601 views
The islands of Bazaruto are largely known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. True to its moniker, the archipelago consists of multiple island beaches surrounded by crystal waters. Considered one of Africa’s most beautiful destinations, Bazaruto offers numerous attractions and activities suited for visitors aiming for a laid-back, splendid vacation.
The seaward sides of the island offer you a number of dive sites to try in. Exploring the coral reefs of the archipelago comes even more enjoyable because of its uncrowded diving spots. Since this has already been made as a conservation area and a national park, you cannot help but just appreciate the vibrant and rich marine life living under its clear waters.
Average depths of diving sites are from 12-30 meters, and within these depths you can see ridges swarming with exceptional sea creatures from green turtles to whale sharks. Manta and eagle rays, dolphins, and hump back whales can also be seen under water.
One site that is good for open divers and those who are just new in diving is Margaruque. It boasts accessibility to tourists, thus, it is often swarming with snorkelers and divers. One can view the top of the reefs just when the tide goes low in Margaruque. You will be amazed by its huge collection of fish life – large parrot fish, angel fish, trumpet fish and sea goodies, to name a few.
If you want to see something adventurous while diving, you can go for the Two Mile Reef which showcases the appearances of whale sharks and turtles as you dive. The shy dugong also occasionally patrol the area; and because of the rarity of this occurrence, you can consider yourself lucky when you see one while diving. This is a good site for divers of all levels.
A lot of us have dreamed of taking photographs underwater, and Baluba Reef may be the perfect site for it – well, if you are a lover of nudibranch (a sea slug). Redfang triggerfish may entertain you first upon diving in, but your heart will be caught by the clown triggerfish, which appears as if they were painted real time.
Linene Reef, on the other hand, is the feeding ground of reef sharks and hammerheads due to its collection both of open sea and reef fish. Although, the reef dwellers seem to out-number the outsiders for it has every type of reef fish you might find. Eastwards, you will be traveling with the manta rays; go north of the ridge and you will be met by the barracuda, kingfish, and sierra. Due to the types of fish present, this site is only recommended for advanced divers.
For advanced divers with deep diver specialty, Marine Pinnacle may be a challenging but fun site to dive in. It houses a fairly small reef, and currents in the area can be strong if weather conditions are not friendly. On most days big turtles usually swim along with the divers, as if checking them out. Game fish such as marlin and sailfish abound here, making it a favorite fishing site. Whale sharks are frequent visitors in the area, and shark sightings are numerous as well, due the presence of reef sharks. During whale season on the other hand Humpbacks can be spotted swimming about.
Aside from having exciting diving sites, the archipelago also keeps a good list of sites where game fishing can be done. Surprisingly, there are a lot of places that you can choose from—one being among the best destinations for catching Black Marlins.
The Two-Mile Reef and Kingfish Alley often attract tourists who dig snorkeling and scuba diving because of the diversity of marine life beneath its waters. However, this is also a pool of open sea fish and as well as predators. You will be glad to see the reef in this area during low tide, for in that time, it is well exposed. Its deep waters have been made known by the pelagic species that reside in it, and the northern and southern edges are also amiable to those looking for GT’s. Kingfish Alley, on the other hand, is an abundant and sustainable source of trevally species (marine sporting fish of the Indo-Pacific), and if good weather arises you can work well in here with jigs, spoons, fly’s, as well as poppers.
If you are looking for a great spot to fish Black Marlins, you should go check Sandspit and Dolphin Bay Areas. Both of these sites render a good fishing spot for large wahoo, tuna, and king mackerel. This is also the favorite site for sailfish and black marlin fishing during its late season. You can expect to be fishing in calm waters in this spot despite the presence of cold spot southerly winds.
The 25-Mile Reef also has a record of enabling good marlin catch within its outer ledges. This long reef runs four miles with its shallowest part at eight meters and houses the peak of different marine species, which are as well surrounded by fusiliers, garfish, rainbow runners, and jubes. The endless variety of species that live here also include big GTs, kingfish, big talangqueenfish, crocodile cuda, and king mackerel. If you are looking for great results, vertical jigging trips use an artificial bait that you jerk up and down through the water—it is a must-try.
Boating can be fun in many ways, but it can also be more fun if you are in a two-thousand-year-old style lateen-rigged ship—the dhow. Bazaruto, the home of the Nile crocodile and many species of water birds, is the location of fully-catered safaris.
Like in Sailaway, you can enjoy dhow safaris by either spending a day at Magaruque Island or stay overnight to explore the reefs and the safaris extensively. Accommodations in the area are great and the food is delicious since you can feast on scrumptious seafood, which is the area’s specialty. Vegans need not to worry for there are specialized diets catered to their needs. Complete snorkeling gear is usually supplied, and the staff can arrange a professional diver for you if you want to scuba dive.
Aside from basking the rare and yet beautiful scenery of the area, much prettier sights await for you under water since dugongs are residents of Mozambican waters. Being one of the most endangered animals of the African continent, you cannot help but appreciate its beauty in the ocean.
About 70 kilometers away from the Vilanculos, you will find Manyikeni which houses the Vilanculos ruins. The main attraction in this area is the central stoned spot that is 20 meters in diameter and about 50 centimeters in height. These ruins are believed to be the trading point between the Great Zimbabwe (which ruins are found 350 kilometers away from this site) and the coastal town of Chibuene.
Manyikeni believes that it was once part of the Great Zimbabwe Empire, for its stone walls are built in a similar fashion. However, the most convincing part is the same kind of grass (Cenchrus, ciliaris) that is found both in Manyikeni and Zimbabwe. This is believed to have been brought by the natives from Zimbabwe to give rise to bovine farming.
Other artifacts that can be found around this historical site are the iron gong (also similar to the ones found in the Great Zimbabwe Empire), and unearthed glass beads and seashells that further confirms Manyikeni’s being a “trading site”.
Africa has been consistently famous for its wildlife safari, but is also offers more laid back horse safaris. As a tourist, you can experience this once-in-a-lifetime adventure starting in Vilanculos or in Benguerra. Vilanculos has tens of kilometers of white sandy beaches where you can trot with the horses. Benguerra, the second largest island in Bazaruto, will let you indulge yourself in an engaging experience of horseback riding while touring the island at the same time. Not only does it showcase its white beaches and exceptional dive sites, but it also lets you enjoy its riding realms. Horseback riding will give you a different twist in exploring the Bazaruto archipelago.
Geraldine Mills is an enthusiast of African safaris. She is also a Community Outreach Coordinator for www.andbeyondafrica.com. Follow her on Twitter @geraldinewalks.
» Filed Under DestinationsComments