If you like pristine, off-the-beaten-path beaches, Mozambique is the place for you. Get lost in more than 2300 km of nearly untouched coastline that holds everything a beach lover could ever want: from the perfect point break to a lonely walk on an empty shoreline. This list of the best beaches in Southern Mozambique is guaranteed to fulfill all your sun-soaked needs.
*Don’t forget to check out the CDC’s traveler’s guide to Moz (what locals call it!) to stay safe and protect yourself before jumping in.
In English, Ponta do Ouro translates to Point of Gold, and it’s not hard to see why. Situated 15 kilometres from the South African border, Ponta is a hotspot for surfers (it has a gorgeous right point break), scuba divers (The Pinnacles is a famous dive spot for seeing sharks), and fishermen (the nearby reefs mean plenty of easy catches). Added to this, you can watch turtles lay their eggs in the summer and the humpback whale migration in the winter. The town is lively, there are plenty of bars and restaurants, and a wonderful open air market to enjoy when you need a break from the salt and sand.
If alone time is high on your list of requirements, 15 kilometers north of Ponta do Ouro you will find Ponta Mamoli, which sits on a secluded peninsula and is part of the lagoon coast. At this perfect Mozambique beach, you’ll find untouched, natural beauty. There are no bars or restaurants and no one trying to sell you anything. Just sand, solitude, and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks. At night, the lack of ambient light means that the heavens spill their glory unhindered across the night sky. The beach is part of the Lubombo Conservancy, so you can also enjoy game viewing as an added bonus.
If you find yourself in Maputo for a day or two, you could do a lot worse than taking a day trip to Inhaca Island. Coral beach is the perfect place to live like the locals do in Moz. Grab a Laurentina (the local beer) and a plate of prawns at the laidback Restaurante Lucas and watch the fishermen launch their boats from the beach. The service, much like life on the island, happens at a mellow pace, so bring a book or a friend. If you feel the need to move, you can take a boat trip to one of the deserted islands in the bay or rent a kayak and hit the waves.
This is one of the best Mozambique beaches for families and water sport enthusiasts. Situated on the Uembje Lagoon, the waters are gentle and easy to swim in—perfect for building sand castles or reading a book while your little ones paddle in the shallows. The vast size of the lagoon means that you can crank the throttle to full blast on your boat and release your inner speed demon. If this isn’t enough, you can try your hand at water skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing, and kite surfing. For a breath, steal a 360-degree view of the ocean and the town or take a stroll to Turtle Cliff at the mouth of the lagoon.
If you were to choose one beach in Mozambique to bestow legend status on, it would have to be Tofo. It really has everything going for it. The beach goes on forever, and you can always find your own spot. At the same time, it is humming with life, beach bars, backpackers, scuba diving with manta rays, snorkeling with whale sharks, and the best New Year’s party in Mozambique. Next door is Tofinho, or Little Tofo, which is widely regarded as the best surfing spot in the country. If you’ve never been to Moz before, let this be your starting point. You can fly or drive in and make sure your first stop is at Dino’s Bar and Restaurant, the legendary epicenter of Tofo beach.
Yes, literally a whole Island. Benguerra is the second largest Island in the Bazaruto Archipelago and is surrounded by the most exquisite white sand beaches. Close your eyes, walk in any direction, and you will stumble onto paradise. Benguerra will please pretty much anybody, but it’s most famous for two things: scuba diving and honeymooners. The sun shines year-round, and newlyweds can be found on every corner of the island, riding bareback on horses, canoodling in the soft sands, or getting a massage while they stare at the setting sun.
Pack a lunch, grab your snorkel, and head to Ilha de Magaruque. To get to this floating Mozambique beach, you’ll need to hire a dhow, a local fishing boat, from the mainland. Once there, you will find miles of solitary sand with only flamingos for company. The day is yours. You can walk around the island in about an hour and a half, snorkel the reef filled with jellyfish and color, eat lunch on the soft sands, and maybe, just maybe, find yourself.
If you want the hustle and bustle of a small Mozambican town, the beach at Vilankulos is the way to go. Play soccer or do martial arts with the locals on the shore. Buy fresh fish direct from the fishermen who park their boats on the beach every afternoon, then get a local to cook it for you while you enjoy a glass of white wine or a beer under a palm tree. To really relax, buy a hammock made from old fishing nets at the Machilla Magic community project. Then find two trees and…well you know what to do.