Widely recognised for outstanding diving and fishing, the Quirimbas Archipelago has many treasures and an "undiscovered" appeal. St Lazarus Banks offers a renowned game fishing destination close to Pemba. The undersea mountain creates a unique marine environment. Charters are available in this area. Only some of the beautiful islands are populated or have resorts.
The Quirimbas National Park just north of Pemba includes 11 of these islands. They form part of the National Park on mainland Mozambique which was formed by the local communities to protect this unique environment. The tourism mandate for this area is of selected high quality, low impact resorts to work together with the communities to create benefits for all involved.
The result of this groundbreaking collaboration is a delightful eco-holiday destination with warm azure waters, untouched coral reefs, white sandy beaches, wildlife and historical significance. Here, visitors can enjoy heartwarming cultural interaction, find beautifully crafted and original silverware and explore ancient settlements and buildings. The mainland section of the park is only just being revealed to the world.
The Quirimbas National Park is an area of great importance with an abundance of exotic fish and rare marine species such as the dugongs, sea turtles and humpback whales. Snorkeling and diving in the Quirimbas Archipelago is one of the most rewarding experiences in Mozambique.
The average temperature in the dry season is 27 degrees Centigrade (80 degrees Fahrenheit) from April to September. During the hot rainy season from October to March, the temperature increases about 3 degrees on the coast, with cooler temperatures and humidity inland.
To get the Quirimbas Archipelagos mainland airport, you can easily fly in from Pemba. Flights from South Africa depart from Johannesburg as well as Dar es Salaam in Tanzania or Nairobi in Kenya. If you’re up for an extended adventure, these connections make for incredible Kruger or East African safari and beach combinations.
Some of the islands can be reached by boat, but in general you’ll transfer via a short flight from Pemba to the individual islands. Ibo is closest being a mere 15 minutes from Pemba. Vamizi on the other hand, is the farthest away--roughly a 50 minute flight from Pemba.
Flights into Pemba land around lunchtime, which leaves more than enough time to catch a light aircraft or helicopter directly to the Quirimbas Island of your choice. When it comes to traversing these islands, most are small enough to explore on foot.
The best time to visit the Quirimbas Archipelago is during the winter months from May to September. This is when rainfall is minimal and temperatures are low.
The wet months run from January to February with brief but intense showers caused by the weak cyclones of Mauritius. However, these usually tend to affect the more southerly regions of Mozambique, and not the Quirimbas Archipelago.
This outcrop of islands truly is one of Africa’s undiscovered gems when it comes to diving and fishing. The reefs that surround this scattering of islands are some of the most rich and beautiful in the world and provide endless underwater exploring.
As for snorkelling, head to one of the smallest and most romantic of the islands-- Medjumbe, a privately owned island lodge with exceptional reefs. The offshore reefs surrounding the Quirimbas National Park supports an incredible wealth of marine wildlife, including 52 coral and 375 fish species.
The best time to go if you are an avid diver is from late April - September during the dry season when the visibility is at its best. Boat rides are a real treat, as dolphins can also be commonly seen on dives all year round. There are various species of shark found within in the region, including the whale shark.
Sailfish season runs from July to December in the Quirimbas, but other game fish include yellowfin tuna, dorado and kingfish which can be caught all year round. Humpback whales also pass through the Quirimbas between August and October.
For more information visit our Quirimbas Diving Guide
If you just so happen to be in the Quirimbas during February, you can witness baby turtles hatch from their eggs and make their first beach journey towards the ocean.
It is one of nature’s true wonders as sea turtles arrive every year to nest. Seeing these little turtles make their way to the ocean is one of those unique experiences that remains with you long after you leave this beach paradise.
There are a few different lodges nestled within the Quirimbas Archipelago. Whilst certain lodges are perfect for for intimate and romantic Mozambique beach getaways, others provide a well-rounded haven that are simply ideal for the whole family.
If you’re just about sold on the idea of spending your next holiday on one of the Quirimbas islands, click through to Quirimbas Archipelago accommodation to simply pick out something you like, and let us do the rest.
Medjumbe Island in Mozambique offers intimacy and the ultimate Mozambique romantic escape, a little-known gem with an exclusive resort and dive centre. The reefs and unexplored dive sites around Medjumbe are pristine and really a best-kept secret - the fishing is also spectacular.
The island is a 45-minute charter flight from Pemba. Feel soft powdery sands sifting through your toes as you stroll along a pristine beach lapped by the turquoise Indian Ocean during your stay at the exclusive Anantara Medjumbe Private Island Resort.
Ibo Island in Mozambique is the most well-known island in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Ibo Island has been occupied for hundreds of years, as far back as the 1500s, with signs of earlier Arab influences. The architecture and history follow closely that of Ilha de Mozambique (Mozambique Island).
There are 3 forts and a lovely, old Catholic church to explore amongst a variety of other historic buildings. At the main fort, renowned traditional silversmiths create original jewellery. While not a traditional beach destination, Ibo has a wonderfully romantic, colonial atmosphere with rich cultural roots - superb white beaches are a short boat ride away.
The island is a 30-minute air charter transfer from Pemba. Stay at Ibo Island Lodge on this remote Mozambican island lost in time.