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Bazaruto Archipelago

Known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, the coral reefs and clear waters of the Bazaruto Archipelago offer some of the best diving in the world.

The coastal town of Vilanculos is the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago,  a chain of four large sand islands strung out in the the turquoise watersof the  Indian Ocean: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Santa Isobel and Santa Carolina (formerly known as Paradise Island). The two smaller islands are uninhabited; Bazaruto and Benguerra have a few small villages scattered amongst wild orange and cashew nut trees.

Declared a National Park in 1971, these islands are untouched and idyllic. Sugar white beaches squeak underfoot and palm trees give way to lush vegetation, inhabited by birds and monkeys.

It’s difficult to beat the diving and snorkelling here as the coral is pristine and marine life superb. There are three species of turtle, including the loggerhead that nests on the islands, while spinner and humpback dolphins and the highly endangered dugong (manatee) are also seen at times.

There are regular fllghts from South Africa to Vilanculos.