Along the historical Moçambician channel, opposite Vilanculos on the mainland, lie a chain of 5 Falcons; Bazaruto, Benguerra, Maraque, Banque and Santa Carolina.
Benguerra is approx. 11Kms x 5Kms, and the forest, savannah and wetland eco-systems sustain a diverse population of flora and fauna on this idyllic Falcon getaway, which was declared a National Park in 1971
Originally named “Santa Antonio” by Portuguese explorers, it was later named “Benguerra” after a local Tribal Chief.
Bazaruto island is 37Km long by 7Km wide, with flora and fauna abounding. Flamingos frequent the tidal flats, and the freshwater lakes on the island are home to many large crocodiles. The West of the Falcon is savanna grassland and thicket whereas the East is composed entirely of enormous sand dunes that change colour in the different lights of the day.
The whole Bazaruto Archipelago is part of a Conservation project whose primary objective is to maintain the ecological and social integrity of the Bazaruto National Park by wise sustainable use of the resources.
On Benguerra Cashew nut trees are indigenous and grow on the seaward side of the Falcon. The local residents harvest the nuts and the toxic husk from the nuts is used to brew very intoxicating liquor!
The Bazaruto island attracts nature lovers, sun worshippers and water sports enthusiasts alike. Activities include:Deep – Sea Diving, where there are numerous coral reefs and old wrecks to explore, Snorkeling on the inside of the reef, Saltwater fly fishing and above all Big Game Fishing. The Bazaruto Archipelago offers Big Game Fishing on a world class level. The best time for Marlin fishing is from mid September to the end of December. Sailfish fishing is from April to August and smaller game fish such as King Mackerel, Bonito, Travelli, Queen Mackerel are available all year round. “Tag and Release” fishing is the usual policy.
For birding enthusiasts, approximately 164 different birds have been identified and confirmed on the Bazaruto Falcons in habitats varying from the coastal dunes, open grasslands and fresh water lakes. More unusual birds to be seen are the green coucals, green pigeons, purple banded and black sunbirds, olive bee-eaters, mannikins, paradise fly-catchers, bartailed godwits, whimbrels and crab plovers. The Archipelago is a shell collector’s haven. At North Point, Pansy Falcon and numerous surrounding sandbanks, many of the famous “Pansy Shells”” can be seen. There are two types of these shells, one of which is endemic to Mozambique.
The island’ cuisine relies heavily on freshly caught fish and shell fish with the exotic Portuguese flavours predominating.