Benguerra is the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago, a chain of six isles strung across the Mozambique Channel. The turquoise waters surrounding the archipelago make up an expansive marine reserve—Bazaruto National Park—which was established to provide a sanctuary for sea turtles and the vulnerable dugong. At low tide, swirling sands emerge from the sea, creating winding paths that lead to Benguerra’s idyllic, palm-fringed beaches and coastal dunes.
Benguerra’s lush forests and inland lakes offer sanctuary to nearly 150 bird species, including rare beauties like the olive bee-eater, green pigeon, and narina trogon. Just offshore, the sunken coral gardens of Two Mile Reef sustain more than 2,000 types of fish, as well as several species of rays, sea turtles and reef sharks. Gentle giants like whale sharks and humpbacks swim in the deep, along with playful pods of dolphins and Africa’s last sustainable population of dugongs.
For centuries, the indigenous peoples of the Bazaruto Archipelago have been sailing the Mozambique Channel in traditional dhow boats, living off the abundant fish found in the waters below. Throughout their history, the islands have also hosted visitors ranging from Swahili and Arab spice traders to marauding buccaneers, and most significantly the Portuguese, who left a lasting cultural imprint after a nearly 500-year-long colonial occupation.
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