From Pemba you can catch a boat to the Quirimbas Archipelago, a set of 50 small islands that stretches out north towards the Ruvuma river's delta, near the border with Tanzania. Visitors can enjoy watching the animal and plant life of the Quirimbas Nature Park, or go scuba diving in the islands’ coral reefs and discover hidden underwater wonders.
Further south, in the Nampula province, one must again look towards the sea to find the Island of Mozambique, one of the country’s landmarks. With a local population mostly belonging to the Makua ethnic group (which is predominant in northern Mozambique), the island was occupied by the Arabs in the 9th century, while the arrival of sailor Vasco da Gama in 1498 marked the beginning of Portuguese colonial rule.
Over the next few centuries, this place was one of the Indian Ocean’s main sea trade posts where the cultures of Africa, Europe, Arabia and the East Indies met and mixed. This fact is reflected on the landscape: in the northern part of the island we find the Saint Sebastian Fort and Portuguese churches dated from the 16th and 17th Centuries, while the southern area is covered with traditional macuti houses. The Island of Mozambique is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Southern Coast
Southern Mozambique is more urbanised and densely populated, and that difference is also felt on the coastline.
From Quissico to the province of Sofala there are many fine sand beaches, dunes, fresh lagoons, palm tree forests and a deep blue ocean. This is the Inhambane province, one of the country’s main tourist attractions. Around here, you can climb aboard a dhow — a traditional Arabic sailboat, very common in Africa’s east coast — and go on a trip through the beautiful islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago, one of the region’s natural wonders.