Southern Mozambique offers stunning coast that is an easy flight from South Africa (on the map below from the Bazaruto Archipelago south to the border with South Africa). If you are considering adding a few days on the beach to your Southern Africa safari this area is a great choice. Here is a bit more information about the best time of year to go and what there is to see and do.
The broadest answer is that between May and November each year is the best time to go to Southern Mozambique but here's a bit more detail:
December to February:
- Weather: At this time of year is very hot and humid punctuated by brief but heavy rain storms (hottest and wettest in February) and highs in the 90s. The area can be effected by cyclone activity although the cyclones are usually further north. The water is warm with temperatures between 80 and 85 degrees.
- Animals: Turtles are nesting on the beach and you can take guided night walks to watch them laying their eggs (peak season runs between November to early February).
- Activities: Good diving especially in the deeper waters with good shark sightings: Hammerheads, Zambezi (bull) sharks, Tiger sharks, Dusky sharks, White and Black Tip Reef sharks, Grey Reef sharks, occasional sightings of Manta-rays and whale sharks.
March to May:
- Weather: Milder weather conditions; hot but comfortable days with very comfortable evenings and little to no rain. Temperatures around 80 degrees (growing cooler by May). The water is still warm but starting to cool with temperatures in the high 70's.
- Animals: Turtle nesting can still be seen in March but is less frequent and sharks will be seen less frequently on dives. At this time there can be good marine activity with dolphins, sharks and game fish feeding on bait balls (tightly packed nurseries of young fish which attract predators)
- Activities: These ‘autumn’ months are great for salt water fly-fishing and deep sea fishing for game and sail fish.
June to August:
- Weather: Temperate days and cooler evenings, but still very comfortable. Little to no rain. Average temperature is 75 degrees. July and August are the coolest months of the year (days are in the 70s and while at night it can be as cool as the high 50's ). Cooler waters with temperatures between 73 and 75 degrees.
- Animals: In July the humpback whales start arriving! Their migration just starting so they tend to be off shore and relatively few in numbers. This continues to be a good time to catch sail fish.
- Activities: In July the winds start to pick up which can affect dolphin sightings and snorkeling trips which can be limited due to rough seas. Even if snorkeling is limited due to the seas, scuba diving is still possible. Underwater visibility average of 15m generally low from May to September). With the cooler waters this is the best time to see nudibranchs (colorful marine slugs).
September to November
- Weather: From September the days start to warm up again and the winds reduce. Temperatures in the mid-80s by the end of November. The evenings are warmer but not hot. The waters are warming up with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s and there is still little to no rain.
- Animals: Good sightings of humpbacks as they come in closer to the shore. You might even be able to hear their songs while scuba-diving! Whale sharks are also in the area from September until early December.
- Activities: Calmer winds ensure calmer seas and good conditions for all water based activities with good visibility for scuba diving with good marine life. September up through January is a great time for marlin fishing.
Where to Stay:
Here are a few of our favorite places to stay in this area, they would all be great for a 3-4 night add-on to a Southern Africa itinerary.
Benguerra Lodge sits on Benguerra Island, part of the Bazaruto Archipelago is an unspoiled paradise and is perfect for those seeking relaxation and spectacular surroundings. Imagine deserted white sand beaches, sparkling turquoise seas crisscrossed by fisherman plying their trade on local dhows, swaying palms, sunny days and starry nights. During the day, take advantage of the many activities available. Scale the dunes during a round-the-island tour, or enjoy a catered picnic on a deserted isle. Slip across translucent shallows on a sailboard, or fly a haul on one of Benguerra’s catamarans. Explore deserted islands in a kayak or on a motorized yacht. The snorkeling and scuba diving are phenomenal in this marine reserve. Venture further afield for some of the most exciting deep-sea fishing you will ever experience or in search of the whale shark. At the end of the day watch the sun set over the ocean on a sundowner cruise in a traditional wooden dhow. These activities are easily organized through the activity center, a 5-minute walk up the beach from the lodge. While at Benguerra Lodge you will stay in a romantic cabana on the edge of the beach. Each cabana has a rich East African–Arabic feel, an outdoor shower, private deck and plunge pool. Benguerra also offers massages and a range of treatments, which can be carried out in the spa or in the comfort of your own room.
Overnights at BENGUERRA LODGE. Includes: All meals, welcome cocktail, sea kayaking, sunset dhow cruise, land rover safari picnics with village visits, cultural event (beach barbeque & tribal dances), nightlife experience, daily laundry service.
Marlin Lodge is another great property on Benguerra Island in the Bazaruto Archipelago and offers many of the same activities at Benguerra Lodge. Each of Marlin's Luxury Beach Chalets has a king size four-poster bed, air-conditioning, indoor and outdoor shower, private patio with a hammock, sitting area, and private walkway to the beach. All the rooms face west to take advantage of the magnificent sunset views.
Overnights at MARLIN LODGE.Includes: Use of Marlin Lodge welcome lounge at Vilanculos Airport, return transfer between Vilanculos & Marlin Lodge, all meals, teas, coffee, windsurfing, ocean ski paddling, power kite flying and catamaran sailing.
White Pearl Resort
White Pearl Resorts further south than Bazaruto, south of the capital Maputo and close to the border with South Africa. White Pearl Resorts comprises 22 individual suites each with their own private pool and stunning ocean views together with a main area offering a chic restaurant, lounge, bar and large rim-flow swimming pool. You are sure to enjoy the tranquil and relaxing atmosphere, which is quite unlike any other in all of Mozambique. The resort is surrounded by natural beauty, from the Indian Ocean to the east and the Maputo Elephant Reserve to the west. Offering exceptional accommodation, service and cuisine along with some of the finest diving in Mozambique, White Pearl is sure to be a fabulous addition to Mozambique’s coastline.
Overnights at WHITE PEARL. Includes: Breakfast.
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