Last updated on October 9th, 2023 at 04:46 am
Mozambique is home to some of the most incredible and unforgettable beaches in the world! These beaches are on the scale of the Maldives, but without the high price tag.
Imagine crystal clear turquoise water set on swathes of sandy white beach without a soul around. These are the incredible Mozambique beaches that we fell in love with.
From the laid back beaches of Vilanculos to the insanely private and stunning Bazaruto Archipelago to the party scene on Tofo. There is a beach for every taste and budget.
Getting To Mozambique
The Mozambique Airline LAM as well as the South African Airlink fly daily between the capital of the country – Maputo and the Vilanculos Airport (VNX). In addition, these same airlines also fly daily from Johannesburg to Vilanculos.
What is great, is that these flights are under an hour and offer spectacular views of the Bazaruto Archipelago as you fly in.
Best Time to Go
Our recommendation for best time to go is based on many factors, including driest warm weather, cheapest accommodations and least amount of tourism.
Therefore the best time to go to these amazing beaches is September and October. Due to climate change, the rain is starting to come to the Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago area earlier and earlier. Therefore the most expensive month – December, usually sees quite a bit of rain.
Connectivity – SIM Cards
This is another country where we tried to make eSIM cards work and the two that we tried, just didn’t.
In Maputo, we did purchase a Vodacom SIM card with 6 gb of data for $7.50 USD from a Vodacom shop. It will be more expensive through a third party seller like your hotel or in a shop near the beaches. Therefore, if you can, purchase it in Maputo from the source.
Other plans are: Movitel and Tmcel by Moçambique Telecom. However, they can be more expensive.
Safety & Money
Yes, most countries list Mozambique as an “Exercise a High Degree of Caution” Country. And yes, there are areas in the country where one is not advised to go – especially some parts of Maputo. However even in Maputo we felt completely safe walking around on our own and with our guide.
Furthermore, the Inhanbane Province, where Vilanculos Beach, Bazaruto Archipelago and Tofo Beach are located is considered very safe.
The currency used in the country is called the Mozambican Metical and at time of writing it was $1 USD to 64 Meticals. Most places in the area took Visa and Master Card credit cards. However, we do recommend to take out a bit of money for the street vendors and for tipping (if you so choose).
PRO TIP: If you enjoy souvenir shopping, the beach vendors offered some pretty unique handmade things including: jewelry, bags and carved items for a very low price.
Mozambique is home to some of the most incredible and unforgettable beaches in the world. Our favorites are found in the Province of Inhanbane. Take a look at which of these beaches are best suited for your beach travel style and budget.
Vilanculos is a crescent-shaped beach located on the coast of Mozambique, in the Vilanculos district of Inhambane Province. It is known for its white sand, clear blue waters, and lush vegetation. The beach is quite wide and runs for many kilometers. There are a number of hotels, restaurants, and bars dotted along the shore line.
Accommodations Vilanculos Beach
Vilanculos has a wide variety of lodging options. We stayed at the Casa Cabana Beach Hotel and absolutely loved our stay.
Casa Cabana Beach Hotel is a group of different style accommodations on Vilanculos Beach. Our large room was in a 4 plex building with a lovely terrace overlooking the tiny pool. The air conditioning unit worked well, the bed was very comfortable and the shower had hot water. All at a price of $85 USD per night with breakfast.
There were also 1 bedroom units with a kitchenette as well as beach bungalows. In addition, the hotel has the famous Casbah Restaurant where you can sit right on the beach.
Vilanculos Beach Lodge is a 4 star option which is much more luxurious than our Casa Cabana. However the price triples to quadruples here. There is a gorgeous pool overlooking the beach, a large green space and lovely rooms.
Baobab Beach Lodge and Backpackers is a budget friendly hostel/hotel which is very popular with the backpacker crowd. At the time that we visited one could get a private room/shared bathroom for 2 people for $40 USD. The place is located right on the beach and just a kilometer from the Vilankulos city center.
They also have dorm options as well as huts on the beach.
Restaurants Vilanculos Beach
There are a number of restaurants on the Vilanculos strip. However, the only one that is located right on the beach is the Casbah Restaurant located at the Casa Cabana Beach Hotel.
Casbah Bar & Restaurant: This place is the quintessential beach shack, where the sand meets the sea and the locals meet the tourists. At high tide, you’ll sit with your feet in the sand and the waves will be lapping less than a meter away. If the Indian Ocean breezes are too strong, head inside under the thatched roof.
Fresh seafood is abundant here as are some good wines and beers. They even made me quite a few delicious vegan dishes. Matapa, was my favorite dish here. It is typically vegan. However, make sure that shrimp or other seafood is not added to it.
This place tends to get busy as many expats and tourists come from all over Vilanculos to enjoy the fun beachy vibe and excellent food.
The coastal town of Vilanculos is the gateway to Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago – a chain of four large islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Santa Isobel and Santa Carolina (formerly known as Paradise Island). There are 2 additional islands further south called Shell and Nyati.
Strung out in the Indian Ocean, the two smaller islands are uninhabited, while the others have a few tiny villages scattered among wild orange and cashew nut trees. These are places to relax, to escape and to explore. A marine national park covers most of the archipelago, protecting the exquisite marine life in these turquoise seas.
In addition to dolphins and whales, this area is home to the very rare and the critically endangered dugong. This unique gentle giant feeds on the mega fauna endemic to the warm Indian Ocean islands where their delicious sea grasses grow. The Bazaruto Archipelago has the last viable dugong population. The large population of dugong which used to be in the waters off China has already been wiped out.
The sea cow (dugong) is so threatened and so valuable that the Bazaruto Archipelago Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA), was established in honor of these magical creatures.
If you are lucky enough you too may catch a glimpse of the dugong during your snorkel or through the crystal clear water off the boat during your trip to Bazaruto.
Best Excursions to Bazaruto Archipelago
There are a number of tour operators on the beach advertising excursions. However there are only 2 that are recommended as they are reputable organizations that keep safety top of mind.
Hotels are happy to make the arrangements with these two organizations for you as they fear their clients being lured by the slightly cheaper prices of the beach “operators” who have been known to leave their clients stranded on the beaches of the Bazaruto Archipelago (due to poor boats and equipment).
Here are the 2 recommended operators:
Sunset Dhow Safari: We took a tour with this company which included Bazaruto Island, snorkeling Two Miles Reef, a delicious lunch on Bazaruto and Isla de Benguerra. They also offer other routes. Ours was $100 USD per person and it was amazing!
Marina (Bazaruto Incoming Agency): This is the #1 rated tour operator in the Bazaruto Archipelago area.
Accommodations Bazaruto Archipelago
Most people who want to visit the Archipelago stay on the mainland in one of the hotels in Vilanculos and take an excursion to visit. This is due to the high cost of staying on the islands. However, if you want to splurge, there are a few options:
Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort: This 5 star resort is located in the middle of Bazaruto Island and is the definition of luxury. So, if money is no object (rates start at $3K/night).
Pestana Bazaruto Lodge: This ecolodge is located on the northern most tip of the breathtaking Bazaruto Island and prices start at $300/night.
Tofo is a small beach town on the southeastern coast of Mozambique, known for its vibrant barefoot vibe, numerous backpacker spots, affordable restaurants, and plenty of beach bars.
It’s easy to get to Tofo, with regular flights from Johannesburg, South Africa, and Maputo, Mozambique, to Inhambane Airport, which is just 22 kilometers away. For the adventurous traveler, there’s also a 30-kilometer road trip from Inhambane Airport, or the more scenic 7-hour drive from Maputo.
Tofo is much cheaper than some of the islands in Mozambique, making it a great introduction to the country’s marine life without the hefty price tag.
Tofo Beach Activities
Tofo is known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and abundant marine life, making it a popular destination for snorkelling, diving, and fishing. Most of the better dive sites require you to have deep dive certification which you can complete there, but getting to and from the dive sites can be a little rough which makes it better suited for someone looking for adventure rather than peace and quiet.
The town also offers a range of other activities, such as surfing, kiteboarding, horse riding, and beach volleyball. In addition, visitors can explore the nearby Inhambane city and its historic architecture, markets, and museums.
Accommodations Tofo Beach
Tofo Beach has a variety of accommodations with most of them leaning towards the budget traveler.
Kumba Lodge: This is a true eco retreat set right on the beach. Yoga and good food are a staple here. However, the wifi was not very good, so if you want to be connected, get some data in advance. Prices start at $100 USD per night.
Kitesurf Tofo House: This is a great option for the backpacker budget. Just a few minutes from the beach, this cost conscious option starts at $13 USD per dorm bed.
Restaurants Tofo Beach
There are many options for good food in Tofo. Here are a few of the best options there:
Sumi Bar and Kitchen: Good fresh Japanese inspired food and fresh seafood right on the beach.
Tofo Tofo: This restaurant serves traditional Mozambican food as well as Brazilian BBQ. There is live music and the vibe is super lively.
The beauty of the nature and the people of Mozambique truly blew us away. The crystal clear water and the white sandy beaches of Vilanculos, Bazaruto Archipelago and Tofo Beach were Maldives quality at a fraction of the price.
This is a country that we will definitely come back to! It is that impressive and we felt very safe here. Have you been to this area? What did you think? Please let us know in the comments.