Hundreds of thousands of years ago, mass sand deposits from the Limpopo river formed the Bazaruto Archipelago, which comprises four main islands - Magaruque, Bazaruto, Santa Carolina and Benguerua.
Originally named "Sao Antonio" by Portuguese explorers, Benguerua Island was later renamed after a local tribal chief and declared part of a National Park in 1971.
The island, which lies 14 km offshore from the Mozambican mainland town of Vilanculos. extends approximately 11 km in length and 5,5 km in width. From its sand dunes, savannah, freshwater lakes and wetland eco-systems, acacia woodlands and forests, Benguerua Island is a diverse ecological gem.
With over 2000 fish species and over a hundred coral species, a kaleidoscope of colour awaits you below the surface of crystal clear waters, while approximately 140 bird species steal the show on land. Indigenous cashew nut trees, casuarina trees that prevent erosion and wild orange trees, the fruit of which contains natural strychnine poison when green and can only be eaten when ripe, are just some of the trees on the island. Mlala palms are in abundance and the leaves are used for weaving mats, baskets and hats, while coconut palms are harvested for their fruit. Sisal plants are plentiful and used by the industrious locals, among other things to repair their fishing nets.
Getting There: Flying by scheduled flight from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa. Flights depart daily. Self-drive to Vilanculos, which is approximately 810 km north of Maputo. Followed by a boat charter transfer from Vilanculos Harbour to the island. Travel time is 20 - 30 minutes, depending on weather conditions.