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The Remote Places Photography – Bazaruto Archipelago Expedition

    Join us in the Bazaruto Archipelago!

    Next Expedition: 25 October – 03 November 2018

    Come play on the islands with dhows, dolphins and dugongs!


    Tour Highlights


    • Island Hopping by traditional Dhow
    • Photograph the ghost island of Santa Carolina
    • Govuro Canoe Trail: explore the wetlands and river system of inland Vilanculos
    • Improve your photographic skills in workshops hosted by Dieter Setz.

    About the Bazaruto Archipelago


    The Bazaruto National Park is a protected area in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique on the Bazaruto Archipelago and covers a large expanse of ocean and six islands. The Bazaruto Archipelago is a group of six islands in Mozambique, near the mainland city of Vilanculos. It comprises the islands of Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Banque, Santa Carolina (also known as Paradise Island) and Shell. Nyati Island is further South. The islands were originally formed from sand deposited by the Save River, which has since shifted its course.

    People of the Bazaruto Archipelago

    The first inhabitants of what is now Mozambique were the San hunters and gatherers who were the ancestors of the Khoisan peoples. Between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, waves of Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from the north through the Zambezi River valley and then gradually into the plateau and coastal areas.


    Over time, Arab traders, largely Muslim, began to live in settlements along the coast and outlying islands, and the coast was controlled by a string of sultans. Most of the local people of the area also became Muslims. The Archipelago lay at the bottom of a traditional trading world route which encompassed the Red Sea, the Hadhramaut coast of Arabi and the Indian coast. Then Vasco da Gama, exploring on behalf of Portugal, reached the coast in 1498.


    Today, many of the island residents are relatively recent arrivals who sought haven during the war years, but some are descendants of the people who dove for and traded the famous pearls and ambergris of the islands, and some the descendants of a thriving coastal dhow trade. All the islands except Bangué are inhabited.

    Weather Overview

    The climate of the Bazaruto archipelago, located in the south-central part of Mozambique, is tropical, with a hot and rainy season from November to March, and a dry season from April to mid-November, with a cooler period from mid-May to mid-September. In the coolest months, June and July, the average daily temperature drops to around 20 °C (68 °F). In October the temperatures range from 20°C (68°F) at night to 28°C (82°F) at midday.


    Annual rainfall is approximately millimetres (34 inches), but there is more from December to February when it rains more than 100 mm (4 in) per month. From November to May, there are occasional cyclones, but they are far more likely from January to March.  There is sunshine all year round, even in the wetter months and the sea temperatures reache 28 °C (82 °F) from January to March, and do not go lower than 24 °C (75 °F) from July to October.

    Travel Information

    Cards vs Cash

    Credit cards are usually accepted at more upmarket hotels, but apart from this your credit card will be of little use. MasterCard and Visa are the only accepted methods of credit card payments at most large resorts and lodges in Mozambique.  Most smaller lodges do not have credit card facilities and prefer cash payment. Rural areas and the islands typically accept cash only.


    Credit cards can be used in ATMs displaying the appropriate sign or to obtain cash advances over the counter in many banks; Visa and MasterCard are the most widely recognised. While ATM’s are spreading across the popular locations they are not usually available in the rural areas.


    Mozambique uses the Metical (MZN or MT) which is divided into 100 centavos. While US$ and British Sterling and South African Rands are widely accepted, you will need Metical when travelling the islands. Travellers cheques are often very hard to exchange.

    Banks and foreign exchange bureaus in Mozambique will change all major currencies into Metical the local currency, South African Rand and US dollar are also widely accepted.

    Banking Hours

    Local banks have branches in most cities which are open from Monday to Friday from 07:45 to 11:00 or 12:00.

    The main banks include Banco Commercial de Mozambique (BCM) and Banco Popular de Desenvolvimento (BPD), which have branches throughout the country, as well as Banco Standard Totta.

    Few have branches in remote areas, so it is wise to have cash on hand for these regions.

    Travellers Cheques

    Banks can exchange travellers’ cheques, but this will attract commission. Few establishments accept traveller’s cheque, so its best to cash some travellers’ cheques whenever you find a bank. Rates are not usually favourable for travellers’ cheques.


    Tipping is welcomed everywhere, but is expected only in upmarket tourist restaurants, where it’s normal to leave a tip of 10% of the bill. Tipping is not compulsory but is highly appreciated in the more remote rural areas, such as the islands, where it is best to tip in local currency.


    Mozambique has made it possible for all international travellers to obtain a dual-entry visa on arrival in Vilanculos. The visa costs $50 (U.S.) and is valid for 30 days.  Not all visitors to Mozambique require a tourist visa.  To find out whether you will need a tourist visa you can visit here and select your country of origin.


    Outside the capital of Maputo, there is extremely limited WiFi.  Some lodges offer limited range WiFi at relatively low speeds, but this is not guaranteed.

    Local SIM cards can be bought for data use or voice or both. Remote Places Photography will provide you with your own Mozambican SIM card upon arrival.

    However, in many areas, especially many of the remoter places we will be travelling, there are no, or very unreliable connections and connectivity cannot be guaranteed.

    Things that bite

    RPP expeditioners are advised to consult their own medical advisors prior to departure.

    The most dangerous possible infection is Malaria, which occurs throughout Mozambique all year round. It is spread when you are bitten by an infected mosquito, so your first line of defence is to avoid being bitten at all. Insect repellent spray or cream is very useful. So too are clothes that cover your body, especially in the early mornings and evenings. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Remember that malaria can sometimes show up years after you have been bitten.

    There are snakes, scorpions and spiders in the Archipelago, but they prefer to stay far away from you. If you should experience a bite, find one of the Remote Places organisers and we will attend to it quickly. If you can, try to take a photo or remember size and colour of the offending creature. Stinging jellyfish are sometime swept in by large storms out at sea. Again, find your RPP guide who will treat the sting.

    Drinking water

    Drink bottled water. While the water is perfectly safe to drink in some places, in others it is not recommended. Listen to your guide who knows the local conditions and who will advise you.

    RPP will provide bottled water when it is needed.


    The sun is extremely strong, even in winter when there may be cloud cover. The sun is probably the most dangerous feature of your Mozambican experience. Heat-stroke, heat exhaustion and sunburn are often problems for travellers to Mozambique. However, they are easy to prevent.

    • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
    • Wear thin, light clothing that covers your skin and is not too tight.
    • Cover your head with a hat that also shades and protects your neck, preventing sunburn.

    Use high factor sunscreen, especially when sunbathing. It is advisable to apply sunblock daily, even when catching a tan, as the sun is very strong.


    It is generally advised that you are up-to-date with diphtheria, hepatitis A and tetanus.


    Other vaccines to consider are:

    • cholera
    • hepatitis B
    • rabies
    • typhoid


    A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from countries where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission.

    Medical Emergency

    Maputo has private and public medical facilities, but apart from the major centres of Beira and Maputo, medical facilities and care are either non-existent or very basic.
    In the more rural areas medical practitioners and staff often do not speak fluent English. The availability of medicines and drugs is a problem, they often are not available, and supply is erratic. Please bring a good supply of any medications you need or use on a chronic basis. Comprehensive medical insurance is essential, and it is recommended that you carry personal medical supplies and sterile syringes with you.

    Carry a signed, dated letter from your doctor, describing all medical conditions and listing all medications, including generic names. If you carry syringes or needles, make sure that you carry the above doctors letter confirming their necessity. Pack all medications in hand luggage. Carry a duplicate supply in your packed luggage. If you wear glasses or contacts, bring an extra pair. If you have significant allergies or chronic medical problems, wear a medical alert bracelet.

    All medical facilities and centres outside Maputo require payment at the time of service and may even ask for payment up front. Very few medical institutions accept credit cards cash payments will be required if you need medical help.

    Remote Places Photography brings a substantial first aid kit and basic emergency medications on all expeditions and all the lodges and the RPP team members have good first aid experience. In the event you need a doctor, you will be brought to the nearest available medical centre, by air or by road, depending on availability and speed. Most lodges have at least one person trained to deal with minor local injuries/ illnesses or conditions. In the event you need urgent medical treatment, you will be evacuated immediately to a major private hospital in Maputo, or if necessary, in Johannesburg in South Africa.


    It is critical your medical insurance covers costs of air evacuation and private hospital treatment while in Mozambique and preferably South Africa as well.





    Most of the lodges and larger hotels in Mozambique can cater to some extent for vegetarians but cannot typically cater for religious diet requirements such as Halaal or Kosher. Some possibilities do exist to cater for allergies, if they are known well in advance. If you make a request, we will attempt to assist. Mozambique is famous for its fresh seafood which is served everywhere. RPP strongly advises that you let us know if you suffer from a seafood and/or a fish allergy. Peanuts are also extensively use, please advise us if you suffer from a peanut allergy.

    Safety First

    Like all cities, the main cities of Maputo and Beira experience some crime, although it is limited. Vilanculos is safer than most but if you want to explore after dark, please ask RPP for advice on safety.

    In the remote areas, leaving the lodge or camp and venturing out alone can be dangerous due to the terrain and wild animal life. Please consult your RPP guide if you want a night time wander and we will advise you on any risks that you may encounter.

    Safety at sea is paramount. Your Dhow captain and crew are highly experienced and will advise you on safety matters. Qualified and experienced snorkellers will advise on safe snorkelling when you are in the water. RPP cannot be held responsible if you ignore safety regulations on board or in the sea, and the Dhow captains and snorkel experts reserve the right to offload anyone who ignores safety regulations.

    Bazaruto Checklist

    • Camera, tripod
    • Accessories: Lenses (50mm, telephoto 300 or 400mm, Macro) Binoculars, Filters (ND filter, Polarising filter) remote release or cable release, external flash or speed light, memory cards
    • Carry Bag for equipment, protection for equipment (sun, water and sand)
    • Underwater camera, or camera cover
    • Underwater strobes, strobe extensions
    • Power Packs, external hard drive for storage, battery charger
    • Laptop and photo editing suite
    • Cash (Metical, US$ or Sterling)
    • Cards (Visa and Mastercard most widely used)
    • Chronic Medication, allergy information and medication<
    • Comfortable clothing, walking shoes and socks
    • Equipment insurance
    • Hat
    • Identification documents/Visa/Vaccination certificates/International Driver’s License (optional)
    • Insect repellent
    • Medical Insurance including evacuation
    • Mobile phone (optional)
    • Pith Helmet (optional)
    • Power and USB cables, adaptors
    • Solar power packs, external hard drives
    • Sun Glasses (good quality)
    • Sun Block and after sun repair lotion
    • Your own goggles if prescription goggles are needed