Bazaruto happened as an accident. On the way from Madagascar to South Africa, we sought shelter as the weather turned bad. Sailing into the bay we saw the dunes and went wow…
Luckily French friends of ours had just arrived in the bay a few days before us and had, as they knew someone from a lodge, all the local knowledge on clearing into Mozambique. We didn’t hesitate and went clearing in as soon as we knew how to.
We went to 2-mile anchorage and hiking. Target: three lakes and the dune on the other side.
We asked for our way to the other side of the island. First, a friendly fisherman drew a map into the sand, “walk along the runway of the airport (big word for a flat piece of sand) and then turn left and up the hill. Don’t swim in the lakes, there are crocodiles..”
Next, sometime later, we got lost in someone’s field and asked again. This time we were drawing crocs so the women working in the field understood what we were after. Lots of giggles.
Then we walked into a compound of about 5 round huts and a young boy started screaming when he saw Mike. Definitively he had not met a lot of tourists before.
A while later we found the first lake, but it was already too hot for crocs to show themselves.
After about two hours we were on the dune. Amazing views from the top.
The way back felt as if it went on forever. It was sunny, low tide, and we followed the coastline to avoid getting lost again.
There is not a lot of interactions between the upmarket lodges and the local population. The lodges are all-inclusive and customers get flown in with a helicopter.
The island is quite densely populated, housing is in round grass huts in compounds of 4-6 huts with a well and a bathroom shelter.
Fishing boats are rowed, some have engines and dhow boats are quite common.
Whilst Vilanculos is a small modern city, the island communities live a traditional life based on fishing and natural resources of the island.
Some people speak Portuguese, a few English. Asking what the language is we were told Bantu.