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Vamizi Island

Vamizi Island

Vamizi Island rises out of the warm tropical waters of the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Mozambique. It is gem, combining pristine white beaches, impossibly azure seas, and virgin bush. Vamizi is about 8 miles long and a half a mile wide. With no fresh water of its own, a dhow brings water to the island from the mainland twice a day.

The island is home and community for more than 1,500 people who live in three villages on the eastern tip of the island. Many of the residents came to the island during the Mozambique civil war. They are supported by the Vamizi Island Project that aims to improve daily living, develop decent medical and school facilities, create new options for youth, and conserve this island and its bountiful ocean riches . . . all for the good of the community, their children, and their children's children.

Vamizi Island is home to a large number of land-based species of flora and fauna, with the bush hiding some of the island’s greatest treasures including giant coconut crabs, Samango monkeys, and, astoundingly, more than one hundred bird species. In addition, approximately one hundred turtles nest on Vamizi's gentle shores each year.

An Indian Ocean island can expect to have waters teeming with fish, and Vamizi Island is no exception. Under the seas is an outstanding reef-scape with mountains, valleys, plateaus, and cliffs. The reef teems with a bewildering amount of sea life, from whale, dolphin, turtle, and reef shark to Gregorian coral and giant clam. Vamizi Island lies at the point where the south equatorial current splits, and the emergent cool and warm currents sustain unusually large amounts of microscopic plankton and krill, a major food source supporting a vast array of species.

A glance at a marine map reveals another Vamizi secret: a sheer walled canyon dives half a mile down. The fissure meanders along the island’s eastern edge, providing dive sites beyond compare and coral habitats deemed among the healthiest in the world. Vamizi Island is a fish Eden, with more than fifty game and reef species, including a huge variety of big game fish such as tuna, barracuda, Wahoo, greater Trevally, sailfish, and marlin. There are also frequent sightings of grey reef shark, turtle, and giant groupers.

Vamizi Island is a diver’s dream because of the amazing seascape and diversity. But at one particular site, Neptune’s Arm, coral gardens tumble down a cliff. This part of the reef is so crowded with fish you can hardly see, and it was named as one of the top ten scuba sites on the planet! There are however less challenging dives and milder snorkeling spots for the less advanced diver, and they are no less stunning and lively.

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