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Quirimbas Archipelago

Quirimbas Archipelago

Mozambique's Quirimbas Archipelago is made up of 32 coral islands, stretching sixty miles along its Indian Ocean coast from Pemba to the Rovuma River. These tropical islands are blessed with some of the richest coral reefs in the world and provide habitat for an abundant diversity of marine life. The islands were originally home to fishing settlements, and villages initially grew from Arab trading posts. The islands thrived under Portuguese rule when they were known as Ilhas de Sao Lazaro (Islands of St. Lazarus).

The area is still fairly remote and, to a large extent, remains an unexplored tourist paradise. The country of Mozambique is for the intrepid traveller but is extremely rewarding! Those who to explore areas off the beaten track and put up with a modicum of discomfort will enjoy Mozambique.

The town of Pemba is the access point for the Quirimbas Archipelago and has a small international airport offering flights to and from Johannesburg, Maputo, and Dar es Salaam. The Quirimbas are perhaps less well known than the Bazaruto Islands to the south, but they offer snorkeling, diving, and fishing of similar quality.

There is a selection of accommodation in the Quirimbas Archipelago as well as on the mainland. You can easily combine more than one Quirimbas lodge with adventurous island hopping by dhow or kayak.

Many of the Quirimbas islands fall into Quirimbas National Park. The park was established in 2002 and encompasses around 3,000 square miles of coastal forest, mangroves, and reefs, thus protecting a fascinating and diverse eco-system. These habitats are home to good populations of turtle, dugong, dolphin, shark, whale, and numerous species of fish.

The Quirimbas Archipelago is blessed with phenomenal under sea drop-offs of up to 1,300 feet. The seascape abounds with coral covered caves. Tropical fish ranging from gobies to mammoth Napoleon Wrasse and game fish including Kingfish and Spanish mackerel make these seas their home.

The Archipelago has become known as the “African Caribbean” because of its breathtaking diving, snorkeling, and fishing as well as the region’s history of slavery and pirates! The Quirimbas Islands have enormous cultural and historical value with a combination of Arabian, Portuguese, and African influences.

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