Now is the time to visit the amazing Quirimbas Archipelago, also called the Ilhas Quirimbas. This previously inaccessible paradise is now being discovered by adventurers, divers, fishermen and honeymoon couples.
It is not difficult to understand why: Quirimbas Archipelago the is a place of extreme beauty where only a few travelers go. It is an enchanting Mozambique holiday destination in Cabo Delgado Province in the north – where warm turquoise waters, sparkling white beaches, pristine coral reefs and fascinating cultural remnants entrance people from all around the globe.
Visitors to the region can stay on Ibo Island, one of a string of 32 islands that stretch for one hundred kilometres along the Mozambique coastline from Pemba port.
Finding a hotel in the Quirimbas is not difficult – accommodation ranges from luxury villas to exquisite Mozambique beach hotels that cater for every guest’s every need. Ibo Island Lodge consists of three historic and magnificent mansions, each over one hundred years old and lovingly restored to their former glory.
People come to see the astounding marine biodiversity: the rare dugong lives and breeds here, green and hawksbill turtles swim here and the humpback whales come in season. Get out that scuba diving kit and start to explore these reefs!
Quirimba hotels are accessed via Pemba airport from South Africa, Tanzania or Kenya. From Pemba, light aircraft or helicopters take guests to their island of their choice, and hotel of their choice.
A Mozambique holiday here is truly unique. Don’t forget to take a sunset dhow cruise with a traditional fisherman guide and to try the delectable fresh seafood with a Mozambican flair! Learn a new water sport: kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfing, snorkelling and of course diving and fishing. Enjoy a secluded honeymoon on one of the islands –beautiful and romantic!
There are some unique Quirimba Accommodation options on Ibo Island, Quilalea, Matemo Island, Medjumbe and Vamizi. Ibo Island has a wonderfully romantic, colonial atmosphere with rich cultural roots – superb white beaches are a short boat ride away and Ibo Island Lodge is a 300 year old hotel of excellence. Quilalea Island is a privately-owned, romantic and uninhabited destination and guests stay in the five star luxury villas at Azura Quilalea – the epitomy of complete solitude.
Matemo Island is an exquisite palm tree paradise offering fantastic dive sites (including a wreck), just 20 minutes by boat from Ibo. Matemo Island Lodge is affordable yet luxurious – plush chalets blend into the natural Quirimbas environment. Revamped accommodation at Medjumbe Island Resort in luxurious chalets are the ideal base from which to explore the reefs and unexplored dive sites around Medjumbe where the fishing is also spectacular. Vamizi Island is the most northerly island in the Archipelago, offering remote luxury villas, exciting dive sites (for all levels of experience) and fishing sites.
The area has some of the best soft corals in the world and the fish to match. From the elusive ribbon eels, spotted sweetlips and yellow-banded snappers to another 375 fish species. Manta rays, at least eight species of sharks, whale sharks, huge schools of feeding barracuda, many species of king fish, red snappers and pods of humpback dolphins frequent the Indian Ocean on the Mozambique coast here.
All visitors require a passport and it is advisable to get visas in advance at a Mozambican Embassy, although South Africans do not require a visa.
Check the weather and head to the islands when temperatures are stable, winds are not blowing too strongly and marine sightings are high. It is safe to book that holiday from April to October before rainy season in November.
There is malaria in Mozambique so visitors do need anti-malarial medication – use mosquito nets, mosquito repellent and wear protective clothing.
The US Dollar and South African Rand are widely accepted in Mozambique although the official currency is the Metical (Meticais plural). Most hotels and accommodation venues have credit card facilities but check first before arrival.