Bazaruto Archipelago encompasses an extraordinary collection of terrestrial and marine habitats of unique ecological value along Mozambique’s coastline. Spanning 143,000 hectares of productive seascape and five islands, this critical sanctuary was first declared a protected area in 1971. In December of 2017, Bazaruto became the 13th park, and first marine reserve, to fall under the management of African Parks, in partnership with the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC). Our shared vision is to see this exquisite coastal ecosystem revitalised as one of Africa’s leading and most productive marine protected areas.

A chain of five picturesque islands characterizes the Archipelago. Built of coastal dunes, mangrove forests, rocky and white sandy shores lapped by gentle azure waters, the islands are surrounded by vibrant coral reefs and vast seagrass meadows. These important habitats are a critical refuge for an abundance of fish, birds, reptiles and terrestrial mammals.  They also harbour numerous species of enigmatic marine megafauna, including dolphins, whale sharks, whales, manta rays, sea turtles, sharks, and remarkably, the Western Indian Ocean’s last viable population of dugongs, the only strictly marine herbivorous mammal now listed as vulnerable to extinction. Having been hunted for centuries, and more recently- accidentally caught as bycatch, Bazaruto’s Dugong population is at a tipping point. This rich diversity makes Bazaruto an important conservation area and an exceptional international tourism destination.

However, this spectacular marine park is threatened by mounting pressure on its natural resources, which are the primary support for the livelihoods of the 5,800 permanent residents inhabiting three of its islands, and many more mainland-based fishers who harvest Bazaruto’s stocks. Through the delivery of effective management and improved law enforcement to counteract unsustainable fishing and resource-use, and conservation-led economic development, Bazaruto will be secured for the benefit of people and wildlife for generations to come.

Highlights

  • The Bazaruto Archipelago sustains the largest viable refuge population of dugongs in the Western Indian Ocean. This is the only living representative of the once diverse family Dugongidae, after its closest modern relative the Stellar’s sea cow was hunted to extinction in the 18th century.
  • The National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) which directs the management of Mozambique's National Parks and Reserves and conservation NGO African Parks signed a 25-year agreement to restore, develop and manage Bazaruto Archipelago National Park.
  • The park contains a unique collection of habitats comprising extraordinary marine and terrestrial wilderness, including productive coral reefs, seagrass meadows, mangrove forests, coastal dunes and miombo woodlands. These are refuge to a diversity of key terrestrial and marine species. 
  • Funding is being provided by several donors who are contributing start-up funds, including the Wyss Foundation who made a significant multi-year challenge grant to African Parks specifically to bring new parks under management.
  • This area holds extraordinary potential for nature-based tourism, with its white beaches, warm azure waters, vibrant reefs and remarkable marine and terrestrial wildlife viewing opportunities.

Partners

In December 2017, African Parks signed a 25-year management agreement with Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) to restore, develop and manage Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, and revitalize it to become one of the leading and most productive marine protected areas in eastern Africa.

View Partners