With a coastline stretching more than 2500 kilometres and dozens of islands, Mozambique has some of the best beaches and islands. From popular beach resorts full of families and watersports and deserted beaches you can have all to yourself, to tiny islands with only one place to stay, Mozambique has something to offer everyone.
While you can fly directly from South Africa to Maputo, Vilanculos (gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago) and Pemba (gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago), the best way to explore Mozambique is by road, stopping off at hidden beach spots along the way. Here’s our pick of Mozambique’s best beaches and islands to fulfill all of your tropical escape fantasies.
If you want to explore this beautiful southern African country overland, check out range of budget overlanding safaris to Mozambique here.
It’s easy to see why Tofo is a firm favourite for holidaymakers in Mozambique. There’s a gently curving long stretch of golden sand and great waves – it’s one of the country’s best surf spots, both for beginners and more experienced surfers. The village next to the beach is laid-back and low-key, with lots of backpackers and budget accommodation to choose from, as well as some fantastic restaurants serving up traditional Mozambican dishes and fresh seafood and lively bars. There’s loads to do in Tofo when you’ve had enough of lazing on the beach and swimming in the warm sea: take surfing and yoga lessons, go for a horse ride, learn how to kite surf, explore the coastline by kayak, go scuba diving with manta rays or snorkelling with whale sharks.
The Bazaruto Archipelago, made up of five islands 30 kilometres offshore from Vilanculos, is where you can live out your tropical island fantasies. Benguerra Island in particular is the kind of paradise you’d never want to leave: powder white beaches, impossibly clear turquoise waters full of fish, gently swaying palm trees and perfect sunsets.
On the shores of the calm, turquoise Uembje Lagoon, Bilene offers white-sand beaches, great accommodation options and lots of family-friendly activities, from kayaking and canoeing to windsurfing and kite surfing, as well as scuba diving. It’s only a day’s drive away from Johannesburg in South Africa, making it an easy first stop on a beach hopping road trip through Mozambique.
It’s hard to choose the best island out of the 30 picture-perfect atolls that make up the Quirimbas Archipelago in northern Mozambique, but Vamizi is truly idyllic. Picture azure calm waters, white beaches, traditional dhows sailing past on the horizon and rustling palm trees, and you have some idea of the tropical scene that awaits you. The scuba diving and snorkelling here is excellent, and there are loads of other water-based activities to fill up your days, from sailing on a dhow to game fishing.
If deserted is your thing, then you’ll love Chidenguele – a long stretch of totally unspoilt beach just over an hour north of Xai-Xai, a popular beach resort. You’ll need a 4×4 to reach the beach, but the trek is worth it: you’ll be rewarded with sand dunes, a huge golden beach and the sea all to yourself.
While it doesn’t have beautiful beaches like many other islands, Mozambique Island is worth visiting because of its history and architecture. Once a Portuguese trading post on the route to India, the island is home to a 16th century fortified city that’s been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its architectural importance. Wander through quiet cobbled streets to take in the centuries-old buildings and historic atmosphere, visit the old forts and a church thought to be the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere, and eat fresh Mozambican seafood in romantic restaurants.
Getting a case of African beach wanderlust? Check out our list of Africa’s best beaches for even more sand, sun and sea inspiration.