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Treasured islands

Mozambique's picturesque isles offer rich history, superb marine diversity and pristine beaches. Sarah Gilbert picks the top five
BEAUTY AND THE BEACH: The pristine dunes of Bazaruto Island are surrounded by sandbanks and turquoise waters
ARIADNE VAN ZANDBERGEN

Stretching over 2500km from South Africa in the south to Tanzania in the north, Mozambique’s coastline is dotted with idyllic islands, lined with picture-perfect white-sand beaches lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Dive into an underwater world of colourful coral or snorkel the spectacularly clear waters that teem with tropical fish. Get active big game fl shing or try your hand at a host of watersports, from sea kayaking to kitesurfing. Spend a lazy day picnicking on a shell-strewn beach before setting sail on a creaky old dhow to watch the sun set. Or discover the country’s diverse history and culture in atmospheric stone towns.

1 Bazaruto Archipelago

Best for family fun

Reached by boat, puddle-jumper or helicopter from the coastal town of Vilanculos, the family-friendly Bazaruto Archipelago is made up of five main islands, with soft-sand beaches and impossibly turquoise water. They broke away from the mainland millennia ago and are now an outstanding conservation area and protected marine park, home to thousands of fish species, where dive sites such as the Two Mile Reef have become an underwater paradise for both novice and experienced divers. Introduce your children to the turtles, humpback whales, bottlenose and spinner dolphins, and rare dugongs that are often spotted around the islands. Birders flock to see the hundreds of migrant and resident bird species found on the islands, from fish eagles to pink flamingos. And away from the beaches, there are suni antelope, red duiker and samango monkey hidden away in the islands’ forests and wetlands, to be discovered on winding nature trails. Many of the lodges have babysitters and kids’ clubs offering games and water-based fun for children of all ages, while adults get some R&R on the beach or at the spa.

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About Travel Africa

Come rain or shine - how the seasons affect your safari experience • On foot in Mana Pools • 5 Amazing islands in Mozambique • Guide to Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains • South Africa's emotive Battlefields • Why Tsavo West? • Tree-climbing lions in Uganda • Cultural journey through Côte d'Ivoire... and much more!
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