SAILING BY DHOW TO MOZAMBIQUE’S MAGARUQUE ISLAND WITH CASA CHIBUBUBO
It is no secret that Mozambique is home to some of Africa’s most stunning beaches, but the most beautiful of them all require a bit of adventure in order to find them.
During our recent stay in Vilanculos, Mozambique, my partner Zander and I decided to go out in search of such beaches, and this is what we found…
With photography by Zander Beetge.
The beaches featured in this video belong to Magaruque Island, one of the six dune islands that make up the Bazaruto Archipelago. The others are Bazaruto, Benguerra, Banque, Santa Carolina and Shell.
Proclaimed as a national park in 1971, the waters in and around the Bazaruto Archipelago are home to a ton of marine life, including East Africa’s last viable population of dugong (a medium-sized marine mammal that looks and acts a lot like its manatee cousins with the main difference being its fluked tail like that of a whale’s).
Despite my high hopes and crossed fingers, I didn’t spot any dugongs during my Mozambican island hopping adventure (bummed face). But I appreciated knowing they were out there thriving somewhere and that organizations like The Dugong & Seagrass Conservation Project are working with the local community to help keep it that way.
Accessing the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago from Vilankulos is a breeze… and the best way to do it is via a classic-style dhow boat.
For centuries, these wooden vessels have been sailing the Indian Ocean, playing a significant role in maritime culture and economy. The dhow ‘s design is of Arabic-origin and has been utilized by a variety of people – including sailors, settlers, merchants, and conquerors – for everything from trading goods to the transportation of slaves and religious refugees.
Today, the use of dhows has shifted a bit and are now used by locals primarily for fishing and — as this post has already given away –taking tourists on idyllic island-hopping adventures.
During our time in Vilankulos, Zander and I stayed at Casa Chibububo Lodge which, conveniently, has direct access to the perfect dhow launching spot.
The owner of the lodge, Melissa, organized for us to take out Casa Chibububo signature dhow named Lisa. Equipped with a local crew and a cooler-box full of goodies, we set off for Magaruque Island… Mozambiquan-style.
After about 50 minutes of gliding across the crystal blue waters we had arrived at Magaruque Island.
Of the 6 islands that make up the Bazaruto Archipelago, Magaruque is the third ‘largest’, at just under a mile and a half in length from its northern end to its southern end.
After dropping anchor on Magaruque’s west beach we immediately headed out to explore the island. A 30-minute walk to the opposite side of the island had us at the foot of a sand dune, which we, of course, had to climb.
The effort paid off and we were rewarded with this view from the top:
Upon returning to Lisa, we were greeted with a freshly prepared lunch and a chilled bottle of wine by the crew.
After the appropriate ’30 minutes before swimming’ had passed, we went on to enjoy an afternoon snorkeling session then a long walk through the crystal clear waters of the Magaruque’s low tide.
After a full day under the Mozambican sun, we headed back to Vilankulos… Just in time for the perfect sunset sail.