The exclusivity of private islands is often the “go-to” when selling a beach destination holiday, and many guests travelling to Mozambique will arrive at Vilanculos Airport, and immediately board a helicopter over to Benguerra Island to start their beach holiday in the middle of the Bazaruto Archipelago, rather than considering any time on the mainland.

It is overlooked as an opportunity to experience the diverse and rich cultures of Mozambique, and although not as exclusive, taking a few days to immerse into the community that surrounds you brings a new perspective and appreciation for the new destination you are exploring for the first time.

Tarryn and I spent a week visiting the mainland properties around Vilanculos, from as far south as Massinga, all the way up to Inhassoro, and the thing that stood out for us was not only are the accommodation options more cost effective, but the activities that one can enjoy on the islands in the archipelago are also available to guests staying on the mainland, with the added benefit of having the opportunity to interact with the local community in a safe and respectful way, and not in a scheduled tour. This was definitely a highlight for both of us, as we visited a school, the local goods market, and were warmly welcomed into a family’s home, who although couldn’t speak our language, shared their meal with us, showed us their personal quarters, and we could share a laugh together through the translation of our local guide.

Understanding the challenges and joys of living in a community alongside one of the most celebrated coastlines had quite an impact on both of us, and we would really like to recommend this to visitors to Mozambique – Combine an island experience with a few days on the mainland if you can!