Before hopping across to the Bazaruto Islands, you could spend a night or two on the Mozambique mainland, in the sleepy seaside town of Vilanculos. But for most visitors where to go in Bazaruto is the sandy shores of Bazaruto or Benguerra Island: both are known for their beautiful beaches, warm sea, coral reefs and handful of luxury lodges.
Vilanculos: Mozambique Mainland
This large coastal town on Mozambique's mainland is becoming increasingly popular with travellers, not only because it's the main gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, but also because there are beautiful beaches, a lively night life and excellent lodges and hotels which offer good value.
There are some excellent restaurants in town, ranging from cheerful Bohemian-style cafés to superb eating houses with finely carved furniture and a rich Moorish feel, offering great seafood at very reasonable prices.
Bazaruto Island: Bazaruto Archipelago
Bazaruto is the largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago, with towering dunes and large inland lakes frequented by many water birds and even crocodiles. But the island's best feature is its soft sandy beaches, fringed by thick forests of casuarinas, coconut palms and cashew trees and gently sloping down towards the tropical ocean.
There are various reefs along the coast, where you can see clouds of colourful fish, and have a good chance of swimming with turtles or even dolphin. If you're after something even more remote; take a boat trip to the nearby Paradise Island (Santa Carolina) for a day of sun, snorkelling and a picnic on a deserted beach.
Benguerra Island: Bazaruto Archipelago
Benguerra, the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago, is less than a kilometre south of Bazaruto Island. Like its neighbour, it also has high dunes, inland lakes and long wide beaches - perfect for a Mozambique beach holiday.
There are no big resorts on the island, instead there are luxurious lodges and Mozambique villas which open onto the soft sand and turquoise sea.