Eyes of SWILD

 
 
 
Benguerra Island, Mozambique

Dhow ferry to Benguerra Island

Mozambique has a wealth of beautiful beaches and islands, and the friendliest people of Africa. A dhow can be taken form Vilankulos to Benguerra Island.

We've arrived!

After just two hours of incredible sailing by dhow past the sandbars of Bazaruto, we arrive in aquamarine waters off Benguerra island. The SWILD adventure commences.

Crystal clear beaches

This 10km long island with sand paths has three lodges for travelers. The beaches are pristine and uncrowded as there may be only 50 travelers on the entire island at any given time.

Not a soul in sight

The sand is fine and white. The shimmer of the crystal clear water is just amazing. The breeze is just right for the palm trees along the beach.

Local fishing dhow

The island is dotted with local fishing villages. The sights and sounds are quite unique to this part of Africa.

Island fisherman

Many of the children work on the fishing boats stringing their nets during the day across the low tide channels. As the tide has a 25ft variation, the miles of low tide pools are amazing.

We caught some fish

The daily fish catch is dumped on the beach to be sorted by the older men. Some fish and squid is kept and exported to the mainland.

Sharing the day's catch

The remaining fish is divided in centuries old tradition, into equal piles that number the families in the village. The catch, good or bad, is shared equally by all.

Local village hut

The fishing villages are simple yet elegant. Bamboo huts are arranged in a U shape facing the beach. There are many children with the population of the island estimated to be just over 1,000.

Hammock with a view

Gabriel's Lodge is run by local Mozambicans. At $20/night for a bamboo chalet along the beach, it's great value. Fresh crab dinners run around $1. And hammocks are free for the taking.


Fishermen's nets

The colors on the island are very vivid. Perhaps that's part of the magic of Africa. No matter where you stroll on the island, there's something to watch or do.

Every day, each village also uses nets to catch fish at low tide. There must be over 300 or so small fish per net with many different species.

Selling the day's catch

This youngster is trying his best to sell Paul some fresh fish. I let the lodge buy the fish for me daily for lunch and dinner.

Local guide

There are many local kids hoping to offer their services as guides. Hilario (with the author's clothes that he swapped) offers tours of the fresh water island crocodiles.


Blowfish from the nets

Little blowfish are caught in the nets opposite Benguerra Lodge, a U$300/night Zimbabwean luxury accommodation. Helicopter transfers are offered at U$250 return to the mainland but I prefer the $6 dhow sailing transfer instead.

Hammerhead remains

Hammerhead sharks can be found off the island. This head was left over from the fishing village's daily catch.

The Crew - Gabriel's Lodege

Here's the last crew from Gabriel's Lodge, August. l to r: Jon, Ryan, Aaron, Paul and Giles.

Vincente

Vincente Jorge Vilanculos
Community Development Officer

Benguerra Island, Vilanculos, Mozambique

Vincente, who lives on Benguerra Island, is responsible for raising funds to build the island's second, single class room school and medical clinic.

Vincente was the first school teacher on the island and was instrumental in providing education to the 400+ under=16 year olds of Benguerra.