Quirimbas Archipelago

A world of pristine private islands and some of the most awe-inspiring coral reefs on the planet are what you will encounter on a beach vacation to Quirimbas. The islands occur on the northern coast of Mozambique.

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The archipelago is a breathtaking marine sanctuary consisting of around 32 islands of the coast of northern Mozambique.

The Southern islands form part of the Quirimbas National Park, which protects 750,639 hectares of coastal forest, mangroves, and coral reefs. This near-virginal slice of the Indian Ocean provides a remarkable setting.

Park Size
750 639 hectares
Park Established
bird species

Beach Vacation Packages that visit Quirimbas

15 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Top-End Code: H02

The Luxury Exotic Island and Safari Honeymoon is the ultimate romantic indulgence in Southern Africa. An experience never to be forgotten.

10 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Luxury Code: S44

Spend ten days relaxing in the sun and enjoying marine activities in the Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos.

10 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Luxury Code: S45

A week and a half vacation in the Quirimbas Archipelago - Africa's ultimate tropical paradise.

Recommended Beach Lodges

We recommend these small intimate retreats for an unforgettable beach vacation in the Quirimbas.

Anantara Medjumbe Island

Medjumbe is amongst the finest properties in Mozambique. It is on a private island where twelve luxury rooms provide accommodation.

Azura Quilalea

This first-class resort offers luxury accommodations and a wealth of marine activities on a private uninhabited island.

Reasons to Visit


Off the Grid

It is as remote and off-the-grid as you can get in terms of a tropical private island experience. Disconnect from the technological bindings of the 21st century and immerse yourself in a "barefoot luxury" adventure that will quieten and excite your soul and rejuvenate the most world-weary spirit.


Diving for days

The diving opportunities in the Quirimbas National Park are the stuff of legend. These amazing reefs are vigilantly protected and offer an authentic experience that has become rare in the Indian Ocean today. The offshore reefs support an incredible wealth of marine wildlife, including 52 coral and 375 fish species.


Bountiful Birding

Birding within the Quirimbas National Park is surprisingly prolific, particularly on Vamizi Island, which has recorded 132 species of bird. The island's evergreen coastal forest hosts the mangrove kingfisher, with its brilliant turquoise and blue plumage, and the golden-yellow, dark-backed weaver, to name but a few. Guided nature walks are very popular.

Experiences to Savor

The experiences available to visitors are sought-after for their characteristically uncrowded and pristine nature. It is all about indulging in the essence of exclusivity, which will enhance your African beach vacation in Mozambique.

Your (semi-) own private island

Almost all the lodges of the Quirimbas enjoy the exclusivity of being set on private islands. It means you will only ever share 'your' island with a handful of other guests. The luxurious island dwellings are all fit for royalty, and you'll undoubtedly relish the royal treatment bestowed upon you.

Turtle Utopia

Visiting in the summer months may be uncomfortably hot and humid. Still, suppose you are in the Quirimbas during February. In that case, you may experience the rare joy of observing turtle hatchlings journey from the nesting beaches into the temperate waters of the Indian Ocean. Such experiences are strictly regulated.

Reel it in

Game fishing in the Quirimbas is gratifying. More than 50 sport fishing varieties are present, and while some species are migratory, most do not have to venture far to feed and are present in large numbers year-round. Embark on a thrilling deep-sea fishing excursion, an ethically run blue water spearfishing trip, or a catch-and-release fly-fishing adventure.


Which island is the largest?
Ibo Island is the largest island in the archipelago and the only island that acts as a tourism center, with a small town, historical intrigue, a few lodges, and various tour operators.
Which islands does the national park protect?
The Southernmost 11 islands in the chain, including Quipaco, Megunvo, Qurimba, Ibo, Quilalea, and Matemo, are protected within the Quirimbas National Park. In contrast, the northern islands, though not formally protected, still function as something close to a private sanctuary.
Which island has the finest reef?
The reefs surrounding Vamizi Island and Quilalea Island are highly lauded.
Are more mid-level accommodation options available?
Ibo Island offers more affordable accommodation and variety as well. It is also the most accessible island to reach. However, due to its thick copse of mangroves, it lacks a natural swimming beach.
What kind of animals would I encounter on the islands?
While the islands do not host much beyond birds, you may encounter samango monkeys, giant coconut crabs, and turtles like Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, and green sea turtles.
Are there non-beach-related activities available?
Yes. Travelers frequently take cultural trips to Ibo Island, where you can learn more about the local community and the island's fascinating history, of which there are many remnants.
Who manages the conservation of the Quirimbas National Park?
The Mozambican Department of the Environment and the Mozambican Department of Fisheries, but the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is also heavily involved.

Useful Travel Info

Getting There

By Air

Travel to Quirimbas via the port city of Pemba. It is the capital of the province of Cabo Delgado and lies on a peninsula in Pemba Bay. In the center of Pemba, there is an authentic local market or Souk, where you can buy arts and crafts and traditional silverware. Pemba is also renowned as a prime destination for water sports and diving enthusiasts, as a coral reef lies close to the shore. Pemba has increasingly become a tourist destination, particularly for upper-middle-class Mozambicans and South Africans. There is now a weekly flight from Johannesburg to Pemba, a hotel, the Pemba Beach Hotel, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment.

Weather & Best Time To Visit

Mozambique has a tropical climate with average temperatures of around 30°C (86°F), so you can be assured of some sunshine whenever you travel. The best time to visit the Quirimbas Archipelago is in the winter (between May and September) when rainfall and temperatures are at their lowest. Many people take a Quirimbas holiday during Mozambique's hotter and humid summer. The rainiest months are January and February, with brief but intense showers caused by weak cyclones off Mauritius, after which the sun comes out again. Monsoons only tend to affect the southern regions of Mozambique, not the Quirimbas.


Originally home to fishing settlements, the islands' population grew around Arab trading posts and thrived under the Portuguese trading routes when it was known as the Ilhas de São Lázaro (Islands of St. Lazarus) during the 16th century. When the Portuguese started occupying cities like Ibo, the Arab merchants fled to other parts of the island. The Arab merchants refused to trade with the Portuguese, which created an attack resulting in 60 Muslim merchants' casualties and their property burnt to the ground. The Portuguese controlled the island until Mozambique gained independence in 1975. Before independence, only people inhabited only four of the 32 islands.


Azura Quilalea is the most established luxury island lodge in the Quirimbas Archipelago and has set the pace in terms of quality. Quilalea is a coral island with several small, secluded, sandy beach coves. The lodge has nine en suite villas. Quilalea is within the national park, and its surrounding reefs are superb for snorkeling and diving.

In the far north of the Quirimbas Archipelago, Vamizi Island is the most stunning island. It is long, thin, and lined by two lovely golden beaches, with fantastic snorkeling and diving close to the shore. It has one of the archipelago's most remote island lodges, and with just 12 vast, luxury beach villas – it aims to be Mozambique's best beach lodge.

Medjumbe is one of the smallest islands in use in the Quirimbas Archipelago: it is just 800m long by 350m wide and is little more than a large sand bar surrounded by a beach. The intimate beach lodge has just 13 thatched chalets.

Diving Sites

Diving sites are abundant on the islands near their luxurious lodges. At Azura Quilalea, divers and snorkelers revel in the offshore reefs, some of the most untouched in Africa, with their fantastic coral gardens and marine life.

Off Medjumbe Island, there is a breathtaking display of Moray Eels, Stingrays, Barracudas, Kingfish, and other large game fish in the warm tropical waters. There are 12 dives off this tiny island where sloping reef walls harbor amazing fish like Angelfish, Triggerfish, Sweet lips, and Pufferfish.

Then there are the healthy coral reefs off Vamizi Island, a world-class diving holiday destination. These reefs contain about 46 different types of coral and more than 400 species of fish. One of these sites, Neptune's Arm, has been named one of the top ten dive sites on the planet, and the fascinating Metundo Canyon is a world-class reef system that rises about 100 meters from the water where much spearfishing is done.

St. Lazarus Bank is one of the few places worldwide where Marlin is known to breed, rises from a depth of 2400m to 20m, and is covered with coral within the Mozambique Channel. St Lazarus Bank is a shallow seamount (approximately 30km long and 20km wide) covering almost 200 square kilometers. Due to its unique physical and biological characteristics, it is a biodiversity hotspot for yellowfin tuna, dogtooth tuna, and marlin. When it is Mantis Shrimp season from August to December, look for plentiful fish and birds feasting on billions of these crustaceans that rise to the surface to mate yearly.

Other Activities

The Quirimbas Archipelago, like many tropical year-round wonderlands, offers a great deal more to do than many other coastal places. One of the key attractions here is the fantastic beaches, and many activities focus on this. Beach sports and water activities fall in this category and include several adventures that embrace the relaxed atmosphere of such a place, adding entertainment value. Such activities range from paddleboarding and kayaking to windsurfing.

If this is not for you, the calm and rewarding experiences deeper in the brilliant blue of the Indian Ocean may interest you more. Traveling between islands using kayaks or traditional boats is an experience. Typically, under the watchful eye of a staff member from your lodge, it is fun nonetheless. Deep sea fishing is conducted too far away from the shore to glimpse the beach. A variety of different aqueous beasts wait in these waters for guests who enjoy this exciting experience.

Lastly, you may explore the indoor or poolside wonders of your lodge. Spa treatments are sublime, but even more so in a tropical place like this, where the moist air and sunshine are part of the package. The luxury of any pool is also open to all guests throughout the day. You can enjoy the odd cocktail while taking in the beach scenery and all the amazing sea creatures that may be visible on the horizon. If this is not enough for you, there is always dolphin or whale watching, which both add substantially to the experience of an island.