Mozambique offers a wide variety of experiences for its visitors, including the incredible island getaways possible at the Quirimbas Archipelago. These remote and beautiful islands are unspoilt by modern life, and provide the ultimate escape for anyone who enjoys endless, undisturbed space and tranquillity.
The Quirimbas Archipelago is found in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique and consists of about 12 fairly large islands and about a further 20 islands that are much smaller, coralline outcrops in the sea. Cabo Delgado is Mozambique’s northernmost province and the islands are scattered along about 200 kilometres of the coast. The importance of these islands and their coral reefs have been recognised, and they might soon become noted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The islands to the south are already protected, as they are included in the area of land covered by the Quirimbas National Park.
The best reasons to visit the Quirimbas Archipelago
- An endless number of remote, beautiful and pristine white beaches.
- Clear blue oceans ideal for swimming, boating and other water activities.
- The reefs provide some of the best sites for diving in the world.
- There is no better place in Mozambique to snorkel.
- To see marine life in all its glory, including larger mammals like dolphins, whales and dugong.
- Visitors will enjoy a unique cultural experience and learn about the history of the islands.
- To spend time in a virtually undiscovered and uncrowded paradise.
- The atmosphere is incredibly private and romantic, ideal for honeymooners and couples.
- Lovely lodges and resorts that offer easy access to the beach and ocean.
Browse our recommended places of accommodation that will put you in close proximity to the islands (or on the islands), or contact us for further information. We would be delighted to help you have an amazing holiday in the Quirimbas Archipelago.
Quirimbas Archipelago Islands
Reaching the islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago is quite easy as they are located nearby Pemba, the capital city of the Cabo Delgado province. Pemba has an international airport, bus terminals and an established port in its huge bay. The most exciting thing is that you can actually stay on some of the larger islands, as they have lodges that provide accommodation. Not many, and usually only one lodge per island, but that just adds to the remote and private atmosphere that is so enjoyable. This means that your holiday won’t be spent journeying between the mainland and the islands, but on the stunning islands themselves, with all the time in the world to soak up their beauty and to enjoy their natural attractions.
A couple of the larger islands of the archipelago include Matemo, Vamizi, Quilálea, Ibo and Medjumbe. Vamizi Island features two long, sandy beaches with wonderful diving sites that are close to the shore. It is an island with a long, thin shape and many stunning views. Medjumbe is a private island that is really quite tiny, but this greatly adds to its feel of exclusivity. Its powdery white beaches and clear waters are absolutely beautiful. Matemo is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, and has a village on the one side of it. Its lovely golden beach is a great spot for many kinds of activities.
Our favourite of the Quirimbas islands has to be Ibo Island, with the terrific Ibo Island Lodge. Not only is the island beautiful, but it has great cultural and historical attractions. Ibo was once one of the centres of trade for ivory and slaves and has one of the most ancient settlements of the country. Many old forts and remains of buildings can be explored on the intriguing historical tours available. The tours show ancient colonial homes, some with extraordinary architecture, and participants will hear some fascinating stories of pirates, treasures, trade and prisoners.
The guided ‘Ibo of Today Experience’ is another fantastic tour that allows visitors to meet the local people, learn about their culture and even see a real witch doctor. You will discover how the people of the island live, perhaps play some games with them if it grabs your fancy and get an ‘Ibo face-mask’!
The best things to do in the Quirimbas Archipelago
- Scuba diving.
- Picnicking and sunbathing.
- Sailing on a dhow.
- Dolphin and island-hopping safaris.
- Birding and nature walks.
- Historical and cultural tours.
The Marine Life of the Quirimbas Archipelago
Surrounding the islands are some magnificent dive sites, each with their own spectacular array of tropical fish and attractions, some with vertical drop-offs as deep as 400 metres and others with exciting natural caves to explore. The great thing about diving here is that you can choose a dive site that suits your level of experience. For example, Rolas is an easy dive in shallow waters, well known for its gorgeous turtles and various types of triggerfish. It’s also perfect for anyone who wants some beautiful pictures. On average, the dive sites take you to about 16 metres under the ocean surface, and show off a great number of tropical reef fish, rays, crabs, shrimp, starfish and eel. Some of the dive sites are ideal for seeing large schools of barracuda, kingfish and other pelagic game fish.
The area is also famous for its larger mammals, especially the dugong. Dugongs are nicknamed as ‘sea cows’ because of their strictly herbivorous natures and their love of sea-grass. If you are lucky enough to see one of these highly endangered creatures, it will surely be the highlight of your trip. Dolphins and whales are also in the area, and whale watching from various spots is a popular activity.
The mesmerising beauty of the life under the seas of the Quirimbas Archipelago will definitely steal your heart and soul! Expert diving and snorkelling instructors will see to your safety and make sure that you find many of the lovely sea creatures that live here. If it will be your first time under the surface, you are going to be amazed with this awesome experience.
When in Mozambique, the Quirimbas Archipelago is not to be missed. You will find the tranquil atmosphere of the islands ideal for your holiday, and when you’re not busy swimming with the marine creatures, your lodge will provide all the entertainment you need, from delicious meals to relaxation in or alongside their beautiful pools that overlook the ocean.