Cruising the Bazaruto region of Mozambique over Christmas
Most cruisers pass by Mozambique and head for Richards Bay South Africa, mainly because Mozambique has a history of complexity in terms of formal arrivals. Having lived here in Maputo for the past 16 years, it is easier for me to deal with these complexities as I am generally not seen as a passing tourist.
The sailing waters of Mozambique are truly amazing. Full of fish life, generally good warm waters, traditional trade winds and lots of islands in the north make it a sailor’s dream.
Published 7 years ago, updated 5 years ago
Based in Maputo, Mozambique.
Destination: Bazaruto region Mozambique for Christmas
18 December 2016: Left Maputo – Arrived Bazaruto
23 December 2016: Arrived Bazaruto early morning
28 December 2016: Left Bazaruto
31 December 2016: Arrived Inhaca Island then Santa Maria early morning
3 January 2017: Returned to Maputo
We were a group of 6, with 2 couples and one 20-year-old boy (my son) and the second couple’s daughter, who was 13. We left from Maputo on the afternoon of the 18 December to overnight at Inhaca island and then left at 8 am in the morning after visiting the “maritime offices” at Inhaca. The plan was to spend 16 days at sea, so we were loaded with food, drinks and fuel.
The wind was non-existent at the start, so we motored until late in the afternoon when the winds kicked in and we raised the sails and shut down the engines. Unfortunately, the wind was not in our favour for downwind sailing and we had to beat into the wind for the next 4 days up the coast to Bazaruto.
The sea was alive and every day we put out the rods and caught yellowfin tuna which seemed to be everywhere. As the freezer and fridges were full we only kept one fish for the pot and released the rest.
I have been to the point jutting out in the sea near Inhambane called “Cabo Das Correntos”, but from land, this was just another nice spot. However, I truly got the meaning of this Cape whilst trying to sail north past this area. The current going south was significant and with both engines on maximum and the sails up, we were moving forward between 2 to 3.8 knots. So “Point of Currents” is a fact!
Whilst we were struggling north, the MSC Sinfonia came blasting past us at 14.2 knots with all the lights on etc. – which was a sight to see at 04h30 am.
We arrived at the northern tip of Bazaruto Island early on the morning of the 23 December at about 3 am and once we were in protected shallow water dropped the hook and went to sleep. At about 10 am following breakfast, we made our way to Santa Carolina Island (Paradise Island) and anchored on the Western side. The crew were happy to board the dinghy and head to shore. There was another Leopard 48 (new boat) in the vicinity of us.
Once on shore, the WWF staff came to collect their dues. PLEASE NOTE these fees are due to the whole region being declared a marine reserve and there are Dugones in the area as well.
COSTS: 1000mt (meticais) for a foreign boat – 500 mt for a local boat, plus 400mt for each passenger.
Please note this is for one entry. So if you leave the park and go to the mainland (Vilanculos, Inhassorro etc.) and return, you will be required to pay again.
Please note, this is not part of the formal entry into the country and IF your boat has not entered into the country as yet, you are required to go to Vilanculos to visit the immigration offices (a Visa is required for all
non SADC countries, but can be bought at the immigration offices) and then the Maritime offices (where you will pay navigation fees and be issued a licence to be in the country for 30 days with your boat). These fees are Tonnage related and my Leopard 40 cost 1600mt.
Also note that Mozambique is NOT a Yellow fever country, so if you come from a destination which is
considered to be a yellow fever country, you are required to have had your vaccinations.
This essentially means that it is better for foreign boats to go to Vilanculos before the park region, to avoid paying twice which can cause irritations!
Personally, I loved anchoring at Santa Carolina and NOT Bazaruto Island as there is nobody living on Santa Carolina island (only the WWF guy). The snorkelling and diving on the southern section of the island are really nice with large plate corals in good condition. What is also nice to see is the large Sea Cucumbers are still around and not being fished out like in the north of the country and dried and sold to the Chinese by the local
fisherman. The water as I mentioned before was alive and full of plankton. At night the phosphorescence was amazing to see.
We had really hot days and only on the one night did we have rain and a southerly, making us have to move from our anchorage on the northern tip back to the west of the island.
We did some droning over the island as well and have some great 4k footage of the island and the reefs etc.
Soon it was time to go as we wanted to be on the southern tip of Inhaca Island for a new year, so we left the protected waters of Bazaruto on the morning of the 28 December and stopped off at 2 mils reef near the southern tip for a scuba dive. We had 6 divers so we dived in 2 groups to take care of the boat and not anchor on the reef. Whilst the current was strong, the size of the plate corals which were unspoilt is really nice to see. The water was 30 degrees C, so I dived with a lycra suit.
Once the diving was done, we started our journey south and raised the spinnaker for a nice downwind sail with the current in our favour, arriving in the Inhambane area by morning. Sadly then the wind turned to a southerly and we had to beat into the wind and waves all the way back to Inhaca Island, arriving in the early hours of the morning of the 31st. We had to rush to beat the tide dropping, so we motored all the way to Santa Maria on the inside tip of Inhaca island to see the New Year in.
Trip distance – 996nm
Lows of the trip
Some of the crew being sick for the first 4 days in a lumpy sea.
Just too little time spent in this amazing paradise. Next time at least 14 days in the reserve.
Too much usage of the engine going north.
Truly unspoilt beaches, sea and fish life
Great sunrises and sunsets
Wonderful clean, clear, blue, warm water
S/V Cerianne V
Links to Drone footage by SV Cerianne V
Santa Carolina – https://youtu.be/a7ObvkXYRiI
Dugong Lodge – Inhassoro – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bjuwkHd4k8
Diving 2-mile reef – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN_IQ5760XY