The Bazaruto Archipelago National Park is the first marine reserve to fall under African Parks’ management. In 2017, the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) invited African Parks to manage its oldest national marine park, giving us the opportunity to protect this gem in the Indian Ocean. Declared a protected area in 1971, Bazaruto is made up of five islands, three of which are inhabited by over 6,500 people. The archipelago boasts iconic megafauna, including whales, sharks, sailfish, manta rays, dolphins, marlin and nesting marine turtles, as well as the region’s last viable population of dugong. The sheer beauty of this seascape, along with the diversity of wildlife, has made Bazaruto a globally sought-after tourism destination.

Historically, overuse of natural resources, illegal fishing practices and poorly regulated tourism activities have negatively impacted the area’s biodiversity and the livelihoods of those who live here. But over the last five years, the results of effective management have begun to crystallise and relationships with communities, tourism operators and government partners are helping to secure a more sustainable future for people and wildlife. The park’s management team has grown, infrastructure has improved, protection measures have been enhanced and illegal activities curtailed. A conservation-led economy is being bolstered through tourism, creating jobs and skills development.

Bazaruto is truly an emerging gem of the Indian Ocean and testimony to how an effective co-management agreement has lasting results for both people and the marine ecosystems on which they depend.

Bazaruto Highlights

  • Bazaruto Archipelago National Park is home to the largest dugong population on the eastern coast of Africa. Thanks to work of African Parks researchers and others, the dugong was relisted from ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List to ‘Critically Endangered’ in 2022 giving the species the highest level of global protection.
  • With regular patrolling, improved capacity and collaboration with the Maritime Authority and the local police, Bazaruto rangers have helped curb illegal activities in the park. As a result, dugong deaths caused by fishing nets have almost completely stopped.
  • In just five years, park-related jobs and socio-economic initiatives are improving the livelihoods of thousands of people and nurturing a growing constituency for conservation as communities realise the benefits of protecting biodiversity.
  • Over 360 schoolchildren were provided school learning materials and uniforms in 2022.
  • A detailed code of conduct has been developed for wildlife viewing, snorkelling and scuba-diving and approximately 100 boat skippers from the tourism sector have been trained on various aspects of best practices to limit negative effects on the environment.


In December 2017, African Parks signed a 25-year management agreement with ANAC to restore, develop and manage Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, and revitalise it to become one of the leading and most productive marine protected areas in eastern Africa.

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