Wildlife at Benguerra
The warm Indian Ocean waters of Benguerra are host to an exotic array of colourful marine life and there are a number of pristine coral reefs within easy reach of the island.
Guests will often spot a resident pod of common or humpback dolphin, just two of the five dolphin species found in these waters. Divers may encounter devil rays or sting rays gliding along the sea bottom, while leatherback, loggerhead and green turtles are all found here. White-tip, black-tip, grey reef or giant sleeping sharks are also frequently encountered along the reefs.
The deep waters of the Mozambique Channel lie off the eastern coast of Benguerra and are a haven for game fish. Known for their speed and magnificent leaps, kingfish are found in the area throughout the year, while king and queen mackerel are frequent visitors. The torpedo-shaped bonito and the formidable giant trevally also thrive here. In some months, the waters are also home to spectacular sailfish, with their magnificent dorsal fins, as well as exceptional numbers of black, blue and striped marlin. Deep sea fishing and fly fishing activities at &Beyond Benguerra Island are on a strict catch-and-release basis in order to preserve this thriving marine habitat.
A rare marine mammal related to the manatee, the dugong is undoubtedly the most endangered animal found in the waters off Benguerra.
Hunted by humans for thousands of years, they have also become vulnerable due to habitat loss and many populations are close to extinction. Typically occurring in wide, shallow protected areas such as bays, the largest numbers of dugong in Africa are believe to live off the Bazaruto Archipelago. While the animal’s semi-nomadic nature makes it even more notoriously difficult to see, Benguerra is a haven for Africa’s only herds of this elusive animal. Often considered the inspiration for tales of mermaids spun by ancient marines, references to the mysterious dugong are found in various legends around the world.
A tiny, deserted patch of land near Benguerra, Pansy Island is the breeding ground for a beautiful and delicate species of sea urchin locally known as a pansy shell but also often referred to as a sand dollar. This beautifully patterned shell also has a link to the legend of mermaids, sometimes said to represent coins lost by these fabled inhabitants of the deep. Benguerra Island itself also boasts a variety of wildlife, from small bird species found in the indigenous forests to the flamboyant flamingos of its freshwater lakes, which are also inhabited by crocodile.
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