Call an Expert on +44 (0) 1722 445 925
Quirimbas Archipelago

Quirimbas Archipelago

Imagine remote and unspoiled islands, deserted white sand beaches, sparkling turquoise seas, long hot sunny days and star studded nights – this is the Quirimbas Archipelago.

The Quirimbas Archipelago is a string of more than 30 coral islands stretching from Pemba up to the Tanzanian border.  Part of the archipelago falls within the Quirimbas National Park which is the largest marine protected area in Africa.  So coral reefs, 5 species of turtle, calving humpback whales and grazing dugongs are all protected.

Luxury Indian Ocean retreats are dotted along the coastline where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, be pampered and get back to nature.  The Azura at Quilalea would be a perfect location for a honeymoon or special celebration.

Lovers of marine life will be able to experience some of the most spectacular snorkelling and diving in the world.  Then there is the big game fishing, sunset dhow cruises, island picnics, bird watching, whale and dolphin watching, as well as cultural experiences on Ibo Island.

 

at a glance

Feeling inspired?
get the big 5 experience
Call 01722 445925
or Enquire Now

Introduction

Regarded as one of the most remote and unearthly beautiful destinations in Africa, the Quirimbas Archipelago is home to some of the richest coral reefs on the continent, providing an abundance of marine life. Situated deep in the northern reaches of Mozambique and stretching 200km, this fringing reef of 12 major islands remains a largely unexplored, underdeveloped holiday paradise with superb snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities. Nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the islands are part of a marine national park. Dark green mangroves line the narrow channels while small wooded islets fringed by white beaches are lined with rows of coconut palms, seamlessly merging with the bright azure shallows of the warm Indian Ocean.

This rich ecosystem supports a wealth of wildlife, notably an extensive breeding colony of sooty terns. Intertidal pools host octopus, lobster, sea cucumber and shrimp while the beaches are breeding grounds for the hawksbill, green and olive Ridgley turtles. The bottlenose dolphin, grey-nurse, great white and whale sharks are best observed on whale-watching and boat excursions. With 52 species of coral, 275 species of exotic fish, rare marine species of dugongs, sea turtles and humpback whales, the archipelago is a diver’s paradise. The mainland sector of the national park protects 5,984km² of miombo woodland, home to significant numbers of lion, leopard, spotted hyena, buffalo, zebra, antelope and 2,000 elephants. 60 individuals of the endangered African wild dog reside and can be observed during guided walks or on game drives.

A highlight day trip is to Ibo Island; a combination of beautiful beaches and warm azure waters with a rich history and culture. What was once the administrative capital of the Portuguese colony and a vital East African trading port for over 500 years, Ibo Town has since fallen into disrepair. Wander surreally amongst the main streets dotted with imposing and crumbling ruins of villas, forts and mansions representing colonial architecture or visit the silversmiths making jewellery from old coins. Explore the town with a guided tour or take a trip around the island on a traditional sailing dhow.

This secluded getaway location is more off the beaten track than Bazaruto, with tourists few and far between, but as development is in its infancy, don’t expect first class service. Regardless, the islands offer a rich selection of activities for adventurous souls and budding divers. From fishing, whale watching and water sports to diving, snorkelling and sunset cruises, visitors are guaranteed an exciting holiday in a truly idyllic setting.

When To Visit

The Quirimbas Archipelago offers a warm, tropical climate with average temperatures of 30°C. Regardless of when you travel, sunshine is guaranteed, however it is recommended to visit in the winter months of May to September when rainfall and temperatures are at their lowest. The wettest moths are January and February with brief intense showers, but monsoons only tend to affect southern regions of Mozambique, not the Quirimbas.  Game fishing and scuba diving are offered all year.

January to April – January is the peak of the rainy season as temperatures reach an uncomfortable 32°C and humidity is very high, so is not considered a good time to visit the archipelago. This is not considered the best time to visit, although some lodges may be open. Fishing is prolific in March and April. Visibility for scuba diving is restricted during these summer months so is not the best time for this activity. Towards the end of April, temperatures begin to reduce, and lower humidity levels make this a better time to visit the islands.

May to September – Regarded as the best time to visit the archipelago, these cooler, less humid winter months average 29°C during the day and 20°C at night. June is one of the best months to see and potentially swim with bottlenose dolphins. Migrating humpback whales can be spotted from August to October. The sailfish season begins in July and runs until December. Scuba diving is best during this dry season as visibility is at an optimum.

October to December – With temperatures averaging 32°C during the day and 23°C at night, the onset of the rainy season brings relatively heavy rainfall in December and very high humidity which can feel uncomfortable.

Temperature & Rainfall

Climate Chart – Quirimbas

Quirimbas Highlights

Dhow Safari

Dhow Safari

Dhow Safari

Ibo Island Lodge offers fully guided tailor-made mobile island hopping dhow safaris led by a pro ...

read more
Dhow Safari

Dhow Safari

Ibo Island Lodge offers fully guided tailor-made mobile island hopping dhow safaris led by a pro experienced guide and full crew and chef. In true Robinson Crusoe fashion, you will sleep under the stars on jewel-like tropical islands.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Deep Sea Fishing

Deep Sea Fishing

Deep Sea Fishing

Picture yourself on a splendid Mozambique yacht charter, ready to fish for days deep in the heart ...

read more
Deep Sea Fishing

Deep Sea Fishing

Picture yourself on a splendid Mozambique yacht charter, ready to fish for days deep in the heart of the breathtaking Quirimbas Archipelago. Day trips also available!

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Barefoot Paradise

Barefoot Paradise

Barefoot Paradise

Stay at bare-foot eco paradise retreats firmly supporting the local communities with their ...

read more
Barefoot Paradise

Barefoot Paradise

Stay at bare-foot eco paradise retreats firmly supporting the local communities with their outstanding ethos of social eco tourism.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

A guided sea kayak excursion - navigate the winding, peaceful channels in one of the largest ...

read more
Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

A guided sea kayak excursion – navigate the winding, peaceful channels in one of the largest mangrove forests in Africa. This guided excursion takes you deep into lush, fertile mangrove channels to find a wide array of bird and marine life.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Marine Life

Marine Life

Marine Life

Plan your trip between July to November and you might be lucky enough to see migrating humpback ...

read more
Marine Life

Marine Life

Plan your trip between July to November and you might be lucky enough to see migrating humpback whales. Dolphin pods can be seen year round.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Scuba School

Scuba School

Scuba School

With such a plethora of fish species - Napoleon wrasse, morays, puffer fish, nudibranchs and ...

read more
Scuba School

Scuba School

With such a plethora of fish species – Napoleon wrasse, morays, puffer fish, nudibranchs and bumphead parrotfish no wonder the Quirimbas is one of the world’s best diving destinations. PADI dive centres are located at some of our selected lodges.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now

camps & lodges

&Beyond Vamizi Island

&Beyond Vamizi Island

&Beyond Vamizi is an idyllic coral island set among the Quirimbas Archipelago, in a marine conservation area off the coast of Northern ... Read More

Azura Quilalea

Azura Quilalea

Quilalea Island is one of the Southernmost islands in the pristine Quirimbas Archipelago, 30 nautical miles North of Pemba. It has one of only a few ... Read More

Ibo Island Lodge

Ibo Island Lodge

Ibo Island lies in the Quirimbas Archipelago of northern Mozambique. Nominated for World Heritage status Ibo has been described as one of the most ... Read More

Medjumbe Island Resort

Medjumbe Island Resort

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort is located on a remote private island, one of the many islands making up the Quirimbas Archipelago in northern ... Read More

Nuarro Lodge

Nuarro Lodge

Nuarro is an unspoiled and breathtakingly beautiful place located in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean in Northern Mozambique. A unique beach and ... Read More

Pemba Beach Hotel and Spa

Pemba Beach Hotel and Spa

Pemba Beach Hotel and Spa is the gateway to the romantic Quirimbas Archipelago on the northern coastline of Mozambique and the Niassa National ... Read More