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Exploring the Wonders of Mozambique: A Diving Paradise

Explore Mozambique, a coastal paradise located on the southeastern edge of Africa. Discover the rugged beauty of Nuarro Lodge, the luxurious retreats of Azura Quilalea and &Beyond Benguerra, and the vibrant marine life of Tofo. Join us on an adventure as we unveil the captivating story of diving, exploration, and the wonder of Mozambique’s aquatic world that lies beneath the waves.

Nuarro: eco & wild

We took a short flight from Lilongwe (Malawi) to Nampula in northern Mozambique, which lasted just over an hour. The landscape vastly differed from what we were used to seeing, with green mountains towering over us as we approached our destination. It was like something out of “The Lord of the Rings”. This area was rougher and more feral than the southern part of Mozambique that we had visited before. 

After another 3.5 hours, we finally arrived at Nuarro Lodge on the stunning Nanatha beach on the Baixo Peninsula. We were impressed that the local community built the lodge entirely using natural materials and that all energy was sourced from the sun and wind, earning it the eco-label. The chalets were rustic yet cosy, and we enjoyed breathtaking views at both sunrise and sunset. The beach was even more spectacular than we had imagined, and we spent our time snorkelling and diving. 

 As avid divers, we were thrilled with the beauty of the underwater world here, and there was never a dull moment. Although our trip was short, we kept busy with various activities, including whale watching, Dhow sailing, and even trying some yoga poses on SUP boards. The Nuarro Lodge was a perfect destination for those who love active vacations and appreciate eco-friendly, “barefoot luxury” without any fuss. We wish we could stay longer and relax on the beach, but we will be back.

Nuarro sunset

Luxury Islands

Mozambique has an abundance of beautiful lodges and hotels, both on the mainland and on private islands. Among the luxurious island lodges, Azura Benguerra and &Beyond Benguerra are amongst our favourites. This part of Mozambique is so breathtaking that we wouldn’t mind staying an extra day. As nature enthusiasts, we enjoy exploring the underwater world by diving, and my husband, Mike, also likes to indulge in fishing. Both rooms provide direct beach access so we can go for a dip in the ocean whenever we feel like it, making this an ideal honeymoon destination.

The lodges are only a short scenic flight away from Vilanculos, making the journey convenient and hassle-free. Benguerra is known for the ‘dugongs’, or Indian manatees, which still occur here, but – to be honest – are not often seen. When we go out early one morning to dive, we spot a dugong. He stays very relaxed near the boat so that Mike can take pictures. What a moment of happiness! The image of a nursing dugong with swollen breasts once led to the mermaid myth. Fun fact!

Dugong swimming in Mozambique

Crystal clear water and fresh sashimi

We drove from the bustling town of Vilanculos, with its many accommodation options, through mangroves and dunes to reach Rio Azul. If you have a reliable 4WD, you can even drive along the beach to the lodge during low tide. The lodge is on a peninsula with the stunning Indian Ocean on one side and a tidal lagoon on the other, offering breathtaking sunsets over the water – a rare sight in Mozambique. The blue waters are home to various birds and fish; we were lucky enough to spot flamingos during our boat ride at sunset with our friends from Malawi. We stayed in the villa, which boasted a private swimming pool and beach, and was beautifully decorated and spacious, making it perfect for groups of friends or families.

In the morning, I woke up and walked directly from my bed to the beach. I swam with small fish that darted in every direction. Meanwhile, Mike had gone fishing at 4 am, so I did some yoga on the deck, followed by birdwatching with my binoculars. When Mike returned later that day, he had a massive smile and exclaimed, “I caught enough sashimi for dinner!” That night, we enjoyed the most delicious sashimi I have ever tasted while chatting under the starry African sky.

The next day, Mike told me to bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses on a boat trip to Bartholomeu Dias Island. The island only appears during low tide and disappears entirely when the water returns. The beach was so stunning that it almost didn’t feel real. We swam in the warm water and dove deeper, where small reef sharks swam around us. Afterwards, we returned to Rio Azul to relax at the villa and ended our stay with a delicious crab curry.

Rio Azul island

Diving paradise Tofo

As enthusiastic divers, we visited Tofo and booked multiple dives at a local diving school for the upcoming days. Tofo is a popular destination with various lodges catering to different preferences. Besides diving, Tofo is renowned for its rich marine life, including dolphins and whale sharks. Although the coastline can be rugged and untamed, it is beautiful. We were delighted to witness multiple whale sightings in the bay, and the experience left us stunned.

Mike and I are seasoned divers who have high standards when it comes to safaris and diving. As we back-roll off the boat and prepare to descend, our dive instructor suddenly makes a loud noise that grabs our attention. We are delighted to see three playful dolphins swimming before us. We quickly ready our underwater cameras to capture all the underwater action. Once we reach the depth, a stunning array of colourful fish, two massive manta rays, moray eels, and even four sea turtles greet us. We are also impressed by the striking rock formations and the beautiful coral we encounter. We make it a point to dive as often as possible while we are in Tofo!

Whales swimming in Tofo

Want to discover untamed Mozambique?

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About the author

Originally from The Netherlands, Lotte has always been deeply connected with Africa. With over two decades of experience as a luxury travel consultant, she established a successful travel agency, 'Safari Design.' Africa soon became her second home, and in March 2020, she followed her heart to beautiful Malawi and married Crafted Africa founder Mike Varndell. Lotte specialises in luxury safaris and dive adventures. She has also explored many of South Africa's Winelands and Cape Town's vineyards, allowing her to create personalised wine and dining experiences for her clients.

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