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The Three Islands of Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
Picture the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique - one of three islands that stretch out to sea like stepping stones from the African mainland. The reefs and underwater paradise that encircles these islands is what makes this the centre of Scuba Mozambique heaven!
The first island is called Magaruque, a shrub-covered sandbar surrounded by shallows; the second is Benguerua, large enough to have freshwater lakes and crocodiles, yet small enough to walk right round in a full day; the third is Bazaruto, by far the biggest island, and the one which gives its name to the Archipelago of azure seas and coral forest off Mozambique.
The islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago are not for those whose idea of a holiday is shopping; there are no shops on Benguerua, no roads, no vehicles, just crystal white beaches which squeak beneath your feet and convince you every time that yours are the first footprints they have ever experienced.
Just offshore, in warm, waist-deep waters, is where Scuba Mozambique takes place. Float amidst the coral gardens of infinite beauty and colour, with shoals of fish that move amongst the corals like clouds of living jewels.
For some years now, a small lodge and crocodile farm has existed on the north-western side of Benguerua; now a second operation, Marlin Lodge is operational on the protected inland side of the island, at Flamingo Bay.
Although protected by the five kilometre width of the island, Marlin Lodge is ideally situated for access to the open ocean via either the gap between Benguerua and Magaruque to the south, just a few minutes from the Lodge by ski-boat, or the similar gap to the north between Benguerua and the southern tip of the Bazaruto Archipelago.
Through these deep channels one has quick access to the continental drop-offs which are the haunts of marlin, sailfish and other deep-sea gamefish. But these kilometre-wide gaps where the sea surges in at high tide to cover the sandflats between the islands and mainland, are also prime angling areas in themselves, rich in kingfish, queenfish, 'courta, barracuda and other predators which congregate here to feed on the passing trade. Fly fishing is also popular on the island