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Mozambique: Bazaruto Island sand dunes

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Bazaruto Island sand dunes | Mozambique | Africa

[Visited: October 2015]

It had been a very long overland trip from Ibo island: more than 50 hours to reach Vilankulo by boat, chapa, and bus. Our entry into town did not go unnoticed: a little quarrel with the chapa guy was ended when the police intervened. The change from the quiet north is directly noticeable to us: Vilankulo is bigger, has the feel of a busy town, and sees many more foreigners. We get ourselves organized before exploring this charming town where, outside the main streets, people continue living in straw adobe huts. One of the first things to notice when you walk the beach: the islands just off the coast, and we have set our mind on visiting Bazaruto. Normally a destination for very luxurious resorts, the dive and snorkel operator offers a visit to the sand dunes of Bazaruto in between exploring the underwater world.

Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): View from the top of one of the highest sand dunes on Bazaruto Island

We sail off in a nice group, and even with the powerful engines of our speedboat, the ride to Benguerra Island takes some 45 minutes. One of the crew spot a dugong, and even though we see it up close, when we try to snorkel to it, it turns out to be much faster than we expected, resulting in a good morning workout. When we get to Benguerra Island, we get a briefing about the first dive, and this is also where we get our first glimpse of the sand dunes just across the channel between Benguerra and Bazaruto islands. After a good dive during which we see quite a few fish and coral near Two Mile Reef - but not the spectacular ones we secretly hoped for, we head to the southern tip of Bazaruto. A tent is quickly erected, but before we dig into our lunch, we head up the sand dunes that rise directly from the sea. Always trying to climb on the hardest patches of sand, the climb is a matter of ten minutes, and the reward is great.

Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): Sand dunes rising sharply from the sea

To our north, the island of Bazaruto stretches ahead of us. Palm trees, more dunes, and not a single house make the scenery look pristine. Off the coast, we see several sandbanks; with the rising tide, they are fast disappearing under a temporary layer of seawater. The colours of the Indian Ocean are light green and light blue with patches of white shining through. There is a temptation to just walk all the way to the north of the island, but our island time is limited to one hour, so after soaking in the views, we head down the sand towards the tent, grab a sandwich, and head out to Two Mile Reef again for another dive in the ocean we have just admired from above. When we leave the island, we see images sculpted out of the sand on the steep wall rising up from the beach. After our second dive, we have another short stop at Bazaruto; now, a dolphin and a dugong have been added to the sculpted figures. After a great day, sailing back to the mainland is a good way to unwind and get ready for a tasty dinner.

Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): Sandbank seen from a sand dune on Bazaruto Island
Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): View from one of the tallest sand dunes at the southern tip of Bazaruto Island
Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): View at the southern tip of Bazaruto Island
Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): View towards the east with sandbank and sand dune at Bazaruto Island
Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): Rising straight out of the sea: sand dunes at the southern tip of Bazaruto Island
Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): View from the top of a sand dune over Bazaruto Island
Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): The beach and base of the sand dunes at the southern tip of Bazaruto Island
Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): View from a sand dune at the southern tip of Bazaruto Island
Picture of Bazaruto Island sand dunes (Mozambique): Desert feel on a major sand dune at the southern tip of Bazaruto Island

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