Dhows have been the main form of sea vessel in Mozambique for hundreds of years. Following construction processes originally perfected by the Arab shipwrights of years gone by, dhows can be found all along the coast of Mozambique. Used daily by local fishermen, they are also used to connect islands with the main land, transferring goods and people.
Enjoying an cruise in a traditional dhow is an iconic Mozambique activity. One of the most popular options is an island safari by dhow from Vilanculos to the nearby Bazaruto Archipelago islands. It is a great option for visitors that are staying on the mainland but would also like to experience the islands for a day. The dhow departs early morning (around 08:00) and generally returns to Vilanculos at 14:00 in the afternoon. Enjoy a day of snorkeling and swimming whilst your crew prepare a delicious rustic seafood lunch on the beach.
The safari also includes snacks on route, refreshments and snorkeling equipment. Please take note that for 2017, park entry fees are excluded, these need to be paid directly by clients in Meticais.
Note this is a rustic, adventurous activity. The dhows are all built following traditional methods passed down over the years. The vessels tend to be multi colored with sails sewn together from many different materials. It is not uncommon to find some water in the bottom of a dhow.
Important Notes by the Operator:
- Please bear in mind that our safaris are for the adventurous spirit. Rest assured that we will try to make your safari as comfortable as possible.
- The islands are a malarial area, so take precautions. Bring a basic first aid kit with you. If prone to seasickness, bring medication with you. If you have any food allergies please tell us beforehand, as the islands are a long way from a hospital.
- There are some rules of the sea: No excessive consumption of alcohol whilst under sail, and do not jump off the dhow without permission from the crew, as there are often strong currents. We provide snorkeling equipment, but if you need corrective lenses, please bring your own mask. Wear a t-shirt whilst snorkelling in summer.
- Listen to the advice from the tour translator. The Sailaway crew are very experienced, and the captain’s decision on the safari route is final. If the weather takes a turn for the worse during your safari, and you need to return to Vilanculos urgently, speedboats can be hired for approximately US$200 from various operators in the area. Sailaway will not bear this cost.
- Weather and wind conditions affect the trip itinerary. The dhow is an open boat however, so if it rains – you will get wet. On safari, the captain will invariably need to make use of the auxiliary motor to ensure arrival in good time at various destinations on route. This is due to a lack of wind, often in the early morning, or wind blowing in the wrong direction. Sailaway cannot guarantee arrival at all of the islands or reefs, however every attempt will be made to ensure the trip is as inclusive as possible.