If Mozambique isn’t paradise, the dictionary needs a rewrite. It’s a word thrown around a lot in the travel market, but with 1,500 miles of coastline and an abundance of archipelagos, we think ‘paradise’ is the only fitting way to describe the beaches in Mozambique. Quieter than its African neighbours, Mozambique exudes a rustic way of life that’s apparent the moment you cross the border. The roads become sandy and pot-holed – lined with vendors offering the local beer, 'Laurentina', for a dollar — and the entire coast is littered with relics from the country’s past Portuguese rule, whether that’s peri-peri chicken being dished out in beachside restaurants or colonial architectural treasures. Here, the best of both worlds collide with tourist beaches thronging with surfers and sunbathers and secluded bays that make you wonder if you’re the last person on earth (and with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, you probably wouldn’t mind being). And that’s before we’ve even mentioned the wildlife… Let us walk you through the best beaches in Mozambique.
- Ponta do Ouro
- Ponta Mamoli
- Inhaca Island
- Tofo Beach
- Magaruque Island
- Benguerra Island
- Wimbe Beach
- Quilalea Island
There are gold-sand beaches and then there’s Ponta do Ouro. The town’s name literally translates to ‘tip of gold’, telling you everything you need to know about this stretch of coast. It’s a popular destination with divers and home to thriving reefs, including the Pinnacles – ranked in the top ten shark diving spots in the world. It’s impossible to get bored of the turquoise shores, but if by some miracle you do, the town’s bazaar is worth exploring where you can browse stalls of traditional woodwork and capulanas (a type of sarong worn primary in Mozambique). If you’re craving a party, the beachside shacks deliver. Head to Love Cafe and soothe your soul with a vivacious blend of live dance rhythms and Portuguese folk.
The introverted cousin to Ponta do Ouro, Ponta Mamoli is just 11 miles up the coast but feels like it’s a world away. This secluded peninsula is totally unspoilt by light or noise pollution and is the ideal spot for some serious solo R&R. That doesn’t mean that all there is to do is flop down with a book; take advantage of the quiet and head into the water to snorkel over the undisturbed reefs. Back on shore, you can dip your toes in the Indian Ocean, or take in the panorama with a horse ride along the coast.
If you want your beach break broken up with a dash of nature spotting, head to Inhaca Island. Home to the Marine Biology Station reserve, Inhaca is a haven for marine life, earning it a firm spot on the list of best beaches in Mozambique. Spend a while exploring the coral reefs or see how many of the 300 species of birds that call the island home you can differentiate. The island has several beaches, but we recommend setting up camp at the bay directly in front of Inhaca village, so you can watch locals peacefully go about daily life while you take in the postcard-perfect panorama of golden sands backed by forest and mangrove thickets.
Find your tropical mindset in Tofo. One of the best beaches in Mozambique, Tofo is a popular hangout for backpackers, so expect good surf, cheap beer and a vibrant nightlife scene. It’s also a hot spot for divers and people travel from around the world for their chance to meet the manta rays, whale sharks and humpbacks that call this stretch of coastline home. Soak up the sun on the golden sand, rent a board and head to Tofinho Point – a surfer’s dream – and finish the day sipping a Laurentina beer as the sun sinks into the ocean.
Part of the Bazaruto Archipelago, this private island is ideal for those who love exclusivity. Book a stay at one of the few luxury lodges and enjoy the peace that falls over the island once the final boat of the day has departed. Given the title of national park in 1971, Magaruque is a haven for wildlife lovers so make sure to schedule in excursions to spot whale sharks, manta rays or the island’s 2,000 species of fish. If you’re lucky, you might just see a dugong, too — the island is a sanctuary for these threatened little creatures.
Another exclusive island in the Bazaruto Archipelago, Benguerra is home to picturesque white sand beaches and two miles of coral reefs, making it the perfect destination for snorkelers and divers. With swirls of turquoise blue water dancing with golden strips of sand, these shores are sure to secure a spot on your island paradise list (and grace your Instagram feed). Take a break from the soft sands to watch crocodiles and flamingos in the island’s freshwater lakes. Then, come back to the shore and head out onto the water to watch the sun set in a traditional dhow.
In the port city of Pemba, Wimbe is one of the most vibrant beaches in Mozambique and is a popular spot among tourists and locals alike. Watch fishermen offload their daily catch from colourful wooden dhows or catch a wave in the choppy waters. The beach has a bustling vibe so expect to be approached by a vendor or two, but you may be rewarded with the option to join a game of volleyball with some locals. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, fresh seafood and spicy peri-peri chicken are served up in the restaurants that line the sands.
If you want your very own slice of tropical paradise, head to exclusive Quilalea. The only way to access this private island, part of the Quirimbas Archipelago, is as a guest of the Azura Quilalea lodge.[EM4] With four secluded beaches, this retreat offers up a laidback pace of life and a taste of (almost) Robinson Crusoe-style remote living. The untamed strip of sand and sea is edged in by thick forest, so there’s opportunity for kayaking through the mangroves, hiking through baobab trees or simply staring out to sea on the white sands. Paradise? You’ve arrived.