Mozambique – North or South for the Ultimate Beach Holidays?

With 2,500kms of coastline, from the remote beaches in the far north to the diving Mecca in the south – travellers need to make some difficult choices about where to go in Mozambique. The southern part of Mozambique is more popular, but rumour has it the north is where you actually want to be to get away from it all.

Mozambique’s islands are the perfect antidote to city stress. But where to go: north or south?

Firstly: for the best beach holiday in Mozambique you want to head to the pristine islands off the coast.

Secondly: there are two primary archipelagos off the coast of Mozambique – Bazaruto (south) and Quirimbus (north). These are basically the two island destinations that you will be choosing between.

Thirdly: both of these archipelagos are exclusive and luxurious travel destinations, as most travellers stay on the mainland to keep within low budgets.

Northern or Southern Mozambique – which is best for a beach getaway?

Mozambique’s alluring beaches stretch along the eastern coast of Africa, lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. In a country nearly four times the size of the United Kingdom – it is best to choose either the south or the north for your beach holiday.

The short answer is: 

  • If you are travelling as a family – the Bazaruto Islands in the south are better suited for you.
  • If you are looking for a romantic getaway – Quirimbas Islands in the north are the better option.
  • If you’re travelling in the heart of winter (around July) and want warmer weather then Quirimbas is the place for you.

Bazaruto is the more expensive of the two options in terms of accommodation on the islands, but Quirimbas comes with the expenses of getting there and then moving from one island to another.

Anantara Medjumbe Island ResortAnantara Medjumbe lodge in the Quirimbas, off the coast of northern Mozambique.

Bazaruto mainly consists of long stretches of wide, white-sand beaches and dunes with inland lakes, whereas the Quirimbas generally features lush forests and rough coral outcrops interspersed with smaller coves of sandy beaches. These two famous archipelagos both offer pristine marine ecosystems, superb diving/snorkelling and stunning scenery.

Travel South – Bazaruto Archipelago

Flying over Benguerra Island in Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago.

The south is both more accessible and more geared towards tourists in general, making it an easier destination to navigate. This is especially helpful if you are travelling independently, but less of an issue if you’re on a tailor-made or pre-packaged safari.

Highlights of Southern Mozambique’s Beaches:

  • Bazaruto Islands – superb diving/snorkelling and beautiful beaches in Africa’s largest marine park, the Bazaruto Marine Reserve
  • see Humback Whales swimming along the coast with their new calves, between September and mid-November.
  • Manta Reef on the Barra Peninsula (near Inhambane) offers some of the best manta ray sightings in the world.
  • world-famous region for swimming with whale sharks, especially at Ponta Do Ouro, Tofo and the Bazaruto Islands.
  • known as a world-class game fishing (deep sea and salt water fly fishing) destination.

Scuba diving in the Bazartuo ArchipelagoScuba diving coral reefs in southern Mozambique – photo Azura Benguerra Island.

Perks of Travelling in the South of Mozambique:

  • it’s the most developed part of Mozambique, with more roads and transport for getting around (to and between islands).
  • the tourism industry is more robust in the south, offering more activities and more operators.
  • there are a plethora of accommodation options to choose from.
  • the scuba diving and snorkelling are world-class in southern Mozambique.
  • stunning white sand beaches which have become renowned for good reason.

Travel North – Quirimbas Archipelago

So many beautiful shades of blue! A beach chalet in the Quirimbas Archipelago.

The north of Mozambique is a wild, secluded and scenic land of diverse landscapes and historical towns. Travel in the northern region of Cabo Delgado is a very different experience from visiting the south, almost as if it were in another country. The north and south coast of Mozambique do however have countless unspoiled beaches and idyllic tropical islands in common.

Northern Mozambique is a more remote and untamed destination than southern Mozambique, offering an off-the-beaten-track adventure. The Quirimbas Archipelago is quite new on the tourist map, retaining an unexplored charm and real island vibe.

Highlights of Northern Mozambique’s Beaches:

  • abundant marine life including turtles, tropical fish and whales.
  • diving and snorkelling with plentiful sea life in clear, warm waters.
  • islands boasting high biodiversity with lush vegetation.
  • birdwatching, especially African fish eagles in the mangrove swamps.
  • historic and beautiful Ibo Island with its picturesque beaches.

Barefoot luxury at Azura Quilalea Private Island. 

Perks of Travelling in the North of Mozambique:

  • the north provides a more secluded holiday destination, shared with fewer tourists.
  • the islands are virtually uninhabited, many hosting only one luxury lodge.
  • guests enjoy exclusive and private getaways second to none in Africa.
  • completely untouched and deserted beaches and unspoilt coral reefs.
  • ideal beach locations tucked away for the ultimate romantic escapes.

Travel File:

If all you want is lazy days on deserted idyllic beaches, splashing in tropical waters and diving untouched coral reefs – then the more private and romantic Experience Magical Mozambique luxury safari will be ideal for you. This luxurious seven day beach getaway visits two of the Quirimbas Islands exclusively.

For the ultimate bush and beach combination safari, the Bush, Beach & City Lights Safari combines Big Five game viewing in the prestigious Sabi Sand Game Reserve with relaxing on Indigo Bay Island in the Bazaruto Archipelago and then exploring the beautiful city of Cape Town of South Africa.

Experience this for yourself with Giltedge Africa. Chat to us if you’d like to explore the Mozambique islands.