Quirimbas Archipelago

The Quirimbas Archipelago lies off the coast of northern Mozambique, close to the city of Pemba, which is the capital city of the province of Cabo Delgado. The archipelago consists of about 32 islands which run roughly parallel with the northern Mozambique coastline. Originally the islands were home to fishing settlements, which grew around Arab trading posts, when the islands were known as Ilhas de Sao Lazaro (Islands of St. Lazarus). The Quirimbas National Park, which spans an area of 7,500km², includes the 11 most southerly islands, which are partly surrounded by mangroves. Today many of the islands are still uninhabited, while some of the islands host beautiful island resorts.

 

Where to Stay

Azura at Quilalea

Azura at Quilalea offers the ultimate in seclusion and privacy, with the only residents being the resort staff and guests. The resort offers 9 luxurious island villas in Azura’s trademark African-chic style. The villas are constructed entirely with local materials and timber, and feature private verandas which boast panoramic sea views. Azura at Quilalea is an eco-boutique retreat, and they incorporate energy saving techniques wherever possible in order to minimize and preserve the pristine natural environment.

More about Azura at Quilalea here.

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Matemo Island

Matemo offers guests the classic tropical island experience, with beautiful white beaches and palm trees. Each of the 24 palm-thatched chalets opens onto the beach and is just a few steps away from the ocean. The chalets have been built to ensure that they blend into the natural island surroundings, with local Mokuti palm roofs offset by glamorous touches such as white marble and ornate carved doors. The communal areas are gently elevated above the sea, with a lively bar, dining area and swimming pool.

More about Matemo Island here.

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Medjumbe Private Island

Medjumbe is a small private island only 1km long and 500 metre wide. Medjumbe is the smaller and slightly more exclusive sister island of Matemo Island, and is roughly 40km north of Matemo.  There are 13 chalets which are spread along the beach, with wooden slatted walls and palm-thatched roofs. Each chalet features a private plunge pool with magnificent ocean views. The fact that Medjumbe is so small will give guests a true feeling of exclusivity, as the island only hosts the resort.

More about Medjumbe Private Island here.

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For a full list of accommodation options in the Quirimbas Archipelago area, check our accommodation index.

 

Things to Do

For the Honeymoon Dreamers

The Quirimbas Archipelago is remote and many of the island resorts are small and exclusive, making them less suitable for family holidays, and ideal for romantic getaways and honeymoons. The number of islands and the variety of resorts available means that couples can find exactly what they desire in a romantic location, from beautiful beach villas to thatched bungalows or chalets on a private and secluded beach, surrounded by turquoise ocean.

 

For the Colourful Mixtures

The islands provide the perfect setting for many activities. Most of the resorts offer scuba diving and snorkelling activities on the magnificent coral reefs. The gentle ocean also provides the perfect opportunity to take a paddle on a kayak, or enjoy an afternoon of sailing on a traditional dhow sailboat. Game fishing in the northern part of Mozambique is world-class, and charters are easily arranged. For those interested in learning about local culture, history and traditions, there are also cultural tours on many of the islands.

 

Did you know?

Historically, the Quirimbas Archipelago marks an important chapter in Portugal’s centuries of empire building. Ibo Island, in particular, was, together with Mombasa (Kenya), a key staging post for the East Indian, Arabic and European trade routes. Conquered by the Arabs as early as 600AD, it shipped slaves, ivory and gold north, and many of the settlements, sites and buildings retain in their shapes and structure strains of their Arabic origins.