Still little known and away from the main tourist circuits, Mozambique is nevertheless one of the most beautiful snorkeling destinations in Africa. The mainland coast and the country's islands are full snorkeling spots, many off the beaten track. Whether you dream of swimming alongside a whale shark, spotting seahorses in a lagoon, or snorkeling above a vibrant coral reef, Mozambique is a great place to live some stunning underwater experiences.
Mozambique has nearly 1400 miles of coastline and many islands that are bathed in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Coral reefs border some parts of the coasts, particularly in the Bazaruto Archipelago, in the Nacala region, and in the Quirimbas Archipelago.
Lagoons, mangroves, and rocky coastlines can also be snorkeled in some areas. Large parts of the coastline, especially around sandy estuaries, have poor underwater visibility and can’t be snorkeled.
While some snorkeling spots in Mozambique are easily accessible, some others are located in very remote areas, several hours drive from the main roads.
Inhanca Island, about 18 miles off Maputo, is home to the closest snorkeling spots to the capital city. Its west coast is bordered by a coral reef, which can be explored during boat trips or, for very good swimmers, from Praia do Coral. The distance between the reef and the beach is about 500m.
Between Maputo and the border with South Africa, the coast is lined with large sandy beaches, but is not very suitable for snorkeling. Decent snorkeling is found in Ponta do Ouro, where you can snorkel on the rocky areas facing the beach, and also on offshore boat trips.
110 miles north of Maputo, Bilene Lake is renowned for sighting seahorses, and you will find several guides to take you to the best places to see them. Seahorses are also one of the attractions of the Tofo region (180 miles further north), where they are easy to spot in the Barra Estuary.
If you are in Tofo between September and February, you can also snorkel in hopes of encountering the whale sharks that congregate offshore during this period. Boat tours in Tofo also are an opportunity to see manta rays, dolphins, and marlins.
The Bazaruto Archipelago, which faces Vilankulo, is one of Mozambique’s most visited snorkeling area. The favorite local spot is Two Mile Reef, a beautiful coral reef that emerges between the islands of Bazaruto and Benguerra.
There are other good spots, particularly around Santa Carolina Island, Benguerra Island and Margaruque Island. The Bazaruto Archipelago is home to the last populations of dugongs along the African coast, and whale sharks are present around the islands from October to April.
Mozambique’s northernmost 300mi of coastline are home to the country’s most beautiful coral reefs. There are some nice coral spots around the Island of Mozambique, which gave the country its name. Linked to the mainland by road, the neighboring Island of Goa can also be reached by boat from the Island of Mozambique.
The reef-fringed Nacala region offers great snorkeling, even though much of the coast is remote and hard to access.
If you are looking for a resort with a great house reef, Nuarro Lodge, in Nanatha Bay, is one of the best options in the area and, as a matter of fact, the whole country. Allow around 2.5 hours by car from Nacala airport to reach this location.
110 miles as the crow flies north of Nacala, the Pemba Peninsula is also fringed by coral reefs, some accessible from the beach. North of Pemba begins the Quirimbas archipelago, a string of 32 islands that line the coast to the border with Tanzania.
The Quirimbas, protected by a National Park, is home to fantastic coral reefs, turquoise lagoons, and sand tongues, some almost unexplored. You can visit the archipelago from the towns on the coast, from the inhabited islands (mainly from the island of Ibo). You can also stay in the luxury hotels located on more remote islands and islets, such as andBeyond Vamizi Island, the Azura Quilalea Private Island and the Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort.
Mozambique is a popular destination for snorkeling with megafauna. Whale sharks and humpback whales frequent the Mozambique Channel in large numbers. To swim with whale sharks, head to Tofo between September and February or go to Bazaruto from October to April.
While snorkeling on the country’s coral reefs, you may spot any number of the 350 species of reef fish, including angelfish. This includes the regal angelfish, the semicircle angelfish, the goldtail angelfish, butterflyfish, several species of sweetlips, surgeonfish, and the twobar anemonefish.
While the coastal lagoons are less colorful, they are inhabited by seahorses, urchins, and blennies. On the seagrass beds, you’re sure to find some superb red-knobbed starfish. In Mozambique, sightings of green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, or rays remain sporadic at shallow depths.
You can snorkel all year round in Mozambique, which has a pleasant tropical climate. With more than 1400 miles of coastline, temperature variations are significant between the north and south of the country. The further north you go, and closer to the equator, the hotter it gets.
The dry season, May through November, is often considered the best time to snorkel or dive in Mozambique, although it can get chilly on some days. During the rainy season, it is warmer (80 to 88°F/27 to 31°C on average during the day), but showers are frequent on the coast.
The water temperature ranges from 72°F/22°C during the coldest months (July and August) to 77°F/25°C on average in summer.
450+ spots have been featured on Snorkeling Report with the help of people like you. Share your favorite snorkeling spot and help us cover the world map. Your contribution will help the snorkeling community find sites and enjoy the underwater world!
Found on reef spots, particularly at Nanatha Bay
Common on all reef spots
Found on reef spots. Pretty common in Nanatha Bay
Common on coastal shallow flats and seagrass beds
Common on al reef spots
On reef spots; more common in protected areas
On all spots, sometimes very close to the beaches
House reef with a great diversity of tropical fish
Free shore access
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Mayotte is the hidden gem of Southwestern Indian Ocean. This small French island is surrounded by a 1,500 square kilometers lagoon, the largest in Indian Ocean. Home to dolphins, whales, manta rays and dugong, it is considered one of the most beautiful snorkeling destination in southwestern Indian O (...)
White sand, turquoise blue water, and swaying coconut trees: Zanzibar archipelago, just off the African coast, is a tropical paradise. Its coastline, although overcrowded in some areas, offers good snorkeling, both from the beach and on the surrounding islets. Multicolored starfish, clownfish, butte (...)
Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is located off the southeast coast of Africa, in the western Indian Ocean. The coral reef stretching over 450km along its southwestern coast (the fifth largest reef in the world), but also the numerous islands and islets scattered along Madagascar (...)
With approximately 1700 miles of coastline opening on to two oceans (the Atlantic and the Indian) and its different climate areas, South Africa offers a wide range of underwater environments. Of course, the South African coastline has no shallow coral reef, but it has instead seagrass meadows, rocky (...)
With its seagrass meadows and coral reefs protected by several parks and marine reserves, Kenya is one of the best destinations in mainland Africa for snorkeling. At many shallow water spots, snorkelers can encounter sea turtles, colourful starfish, clownfish in their anemones, angelfish, and dozens (...)
It is true that Réunion Island, a volcanic and mountainous French island located in southwestern Indian Ocean, may not compete with other tropical destinations in terms of idyllic picture-postcard beaches. Even so, 15 miles of the island’s western and southern coastline are fringed by lagoons shelte (...)
Casuarina-fringed beaches, gin-clear sea and blue sky... welcome to Mauritius! Blessed with an extensive lagoon, abundant marine life, and dramatic topography, Mauritius is a good destination for snorkelers of all experience levels. Despite important signs of declining reef health, the island's shor (...)
Thanks to the island’s well-preserved, pristine bays and lagoons, the coastline of Seychelles islands offers wonderful conditions to go snorkeling. With amazing sights to be seen, including tropical fish, loads of hawksbill sea turtles and eagle rays, as well as occasional mantas and sharks, there i (...)