The Bazaruto Archipelago National
Park is located in Inhambane Province, between
21° 30 east and 22° 00 south of the equator.
The group of 5 islands is situated approximately
8 to 15 nautical miles east of the main land
centers of Vilanculos and Inhassoro.
The Islands are: Bazaruto (largest), Benguera,
Margaruque, Santa Carolina (also known as Paradise
Island) and Bangue (smallest).
The islands are home to approximately 3,500 people,
who rely heavily on fisheries subsistence for
their livelihood. These sand islands have spectacular
moving dunes and a diverse range of habitats for
exotic and endemic wildlife.
On the land there are fresh water lakes, home
to crocodiles, fish and migrant wading birds.
Mangroves, where one regularly sees the beautiful
“greater flamingo”. Remnant forests
along the dunes, where samango monkeys may be
viewed. Grasslands and swamps, which house a variety
of, bird life and mammals.
In the surrounding ocean, which attracts the
majority of tourists, there are near-pristine
fringing and offshore coral reefs. Sea grass
beds, upon which the nearly extinct dugong
(sea cow or mermaid) and turtle feed. Good
stocks of pelagic fishes, and long stretches
of sandy beaches, ideal for swimming, walking
or just relaxing.
Four of the islands have a total of 6 tourist
hotels (of which 4 are currently in operation),
and this offers facilities for relaxing and
exploring, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing
and other water sports.
The WWF is busy with extensive conservation
programs in this area, now declared a World