Diving Medjumbe Island | the Quirimbas Archipelago | Mozambique
North from Pemba town, and running parallel to the Mozambique coast, are the 32 tiny coral islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago, a newly explored and incredibly remote scuba diving destination.
Medjumbe Island sits near the bottom of the Quirimbas chain as it stretches up towards the Rovuma River, which creates the border with Tanzania. Along with a vast area of mainland forest, the southernmost of these coral islands form the Quirimbas National Park. Flying overhead in a small aircraft reveals that there is virtually no human habitation. The tiny islands are breathtakingly beautiful – Medjumbe is a classic picture-postcard image of white sand beaches edged by a turquoise lagoon.
Scuba diving is definitely a new and growing sport right across the Quirimbas. To the east is the deep-water Mozambique channel that feeds these reefs. Hard corals are the main feature and they are pristine. Deeper wall dives are exciting with recessed caverns that shelter schools of pelagic fish, turtles and the giant Goliath grouper.
via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam with Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique
by light aircraft, arranged by the resort
Dive operators and accommodation
just the one, see Opinion, left.
PROS and CONS
Only national carrier, LAM Mozambique Airlines flies to north Mozambique. There are flights from South Africa and Europe that then connect to Pemba and other regional cities once or twice a week. The country has a minimal tourist infrastructure, but what is there is good quality and good value and the sense of visiting somewhere still completely unexplored is very strong.
Dive conditions are generally easy with minimal currents and good visibility but this is dependent on the tides. The broad, shallow lagoon encapsulating Medjumbe extends quite some way from the beach restricting the movement of boats. Because of this, many of the reefs have never been seen by divers and at certain times of day, you literally have to wait for the sea to return so you can travel to the fringing reef. However, that's no great hardship as you are forced to sit and admire the idyllic view and watch the seabirds.
Northern Mozambique has yet to make it's mark on the diver radar but that seems like a big positive to us – no crowds, no boats, almost no divers! Medjumbe Private Island also has to be one of the most romantic and delightful resort islands we have seen in a very long time, a rare mix of rustic charm and subtle luxury. The surrounding reefs are highly under-dived and our only real disappointment was not being able to see all the available dives. The resort is owned by Rani Resorts who also own the top-notch Pemba Beach Hotel.