The Quirimbas Archipelago consists of about two dozen islands and islets strewn along the 400km stretch of coastline between Pemba and the Rovuma River. Some are waterless and uninhabited, while others have histories as long as the archipelago itself.
Throughout, the archipelagoâs natural beauty is astounding, with searingly white patches of soft sand surrounded by brilliant turquoise and azure waters alternating with greener, vegetated islands and extensive stands of mangroves. Dense mangrove forests also link some of the islands with each other and with the coast, with only skilled dhow captains able to navigate among the intricate channels that were cut during colonial times.
Today, many of the southern islands, including Ibo, Quirimba and Matemo, are part of the Quirimbas National Park, which also includes large inland areas on the fringing coastline. The one-time entry fee is collected by hotels within the park area. There are also various other park fees, including Mtc100 per person per day for camping, but their enforcement status is still in flux.
In addition to its pristine natural beauty, the archipelago is known for diving â which is considered to be especially good around Quilaluia, Vamizi and Rongui â and for birding.