The Bazaruto Archipelago consists of five idyllic islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina and Bangue. The Archipelago is truly one of the most beautiful destinations on the African continent. The area is now protected as a conservation area and national park, including the coral reefs surrounding the islands, making it the only official marine reserve in the country. The park is one of the largest in the Indian Ocean and a crucial achievement in global marine conservation. A nearly untouched paradise on earth, the archipelago has earned its reputation as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean'.
Benguerra is the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago, which broke away from the mainland thousands of years ago. The island is approximately 55 square kilometers (11km long x 5.5 km wide), and lies 14km offshore. It is famous for its unspoiled white beaches, remarkable dive sites and excellent fishing (subject to a strict “catch & release” policy).
Some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world is available off Benguerra’s shores with the surrounding coral reefs rich in sea life. The archipelago is one of the last remaining habitats of the endangered Dugong. A pale, voluptuous sea mammal fabled to have made bygone mariners believe in mermaids.
Inland, Benguerra Island comprises forest, savannah, freshwater lakes and wetland eco-systems that sustain a diverse population of fauna and flora. Fresh water crocodiles can be found in the three lakes, bearing testimony to the island’s mainland past. The island, which is home to approximately 140 bird species, was declared a National Park in 1971.
Benguerra Lodge and the Bazaruto National Park strive, in conjunction with the community and other related parties, to maintain the diverse and pristine environment for the enjoyment of future generations. Since the inception of the Lodge in 1988, its owners, management and staff have been intricately involved in the ecological preservation and conservation of the island’s heritage. The co-operation of the island’s local community and the adoption of eco-tourism and modern conservation practices have already demonstrated numerous benefits. Click here to find out more about the community projects.