The Bazaruto National Park was created in 1971 but it was only after 1989 that an administration was put in place, nominated by DNFFB, at that time the authority for parks in Mozambique. The area of the Park only included the Islands of Benguerra, Magaruque and Bangue plus five nautical miles surrounding them (c. 600km2).
The largest Island of Bazaruto and the much smaller Santa Carolina were classified as "areas of vigilance". The principal objective of this Park was to protect the endangered dugong and marine turtles.
From 1994-1998 the Park received project funding from the European Union through WWF International and WWF SARPO. This was a very ambitious project with several objectives and represented the first large funding
support to Bazaruto. One of the most important out-puts of the project was the intended approval of the then drafted Management Plan and the extension of the Park to reflect a more coherent ecosystem approach. This was
never implemented by the Government of the day and thus the EU support was not renewed.
In 1998 WWF Switzerland initiated support to the Park, through funding the Multiple Resource Use Project (MRUP).
In 2001, WWF Switzerland extended their support to the Park under a second phase of the Multiple Resource Use Project designed for 2001-2005. Several other significant developments also occurred. The Park was finally extended to include all five islands in the Archipelago and surrounding waters now called the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, and covering an area of 1,430 km2.
The five islands are Bazaruto, Benguerra, Santa Carolina, Margaruque also called Paradise Island and Banque. At the moment Bazaruto and Benguerra are the only islands offering accommodation. Paradise Island was famous during the 1960's and 70s as a Honeymoon destination - but the old hotel has now fallen into decay. Plans are afoot to build a luxury hotel on Margaruque.
The area surrounding is ranked as the best Black Marlin destination in the Eastern Indian Ocean. The season runs from early October through to end of January each year. The Marlin come close in to the shallow waters around the Islands and can often be found feeding around the shoals of various species of tuna that frequent our waters during this time of the year. The Bazaruto Archipelago area also offers salt water fly fishing for the sought-after bonefish
Accommodation on the islands is expensive! Gabriel's campsite on Benguerra was closed and has now re-opened as Azura Retreat at Gabriel's - a stunningly beautiful but expensive luxury resort. Visitors on a budget can visit the islands on day trips out of mainland Vilanculos