Historical Sites of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park!

Ponta Dom Carlos

The Bazaruto lighthouse is set on the top of a hill, about a mile south of Bazaruto cable (Latitude: 21 ° 32 'S, Longitude: 35 ° 29'E).

On 30th June 1893, by n. 19 Seafarers Notice, was announced the construction of a lighthouse at the top of Cape Bazaruto, which was lit in 1894, and then worked until 1896. On 11th September 1897 it was announced that it was turned off because it was not useful for Navigation, because of its low intensity On 17 July 1910 the construction of a new, far-reaching lighthouse began and began to operate in 1913. In 1936 it was described as follows: The Bazaruto lighthouse at the northern end of the island is a splendid And useful construction, erected in 1913.

At the base are the dwellings of the staff and various dependencies, forming a quadrangular patio. In one of the angles of the patio rises the lighthouse, whose height is 18 meters. Excellent accommodation, cisterns with rainwater, workshops, radiotelegraph station and electric lighting.. 26 m (85 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a complex of 1- and 2-story keeper's houses. All buildings painted white; lantern dome painted red. In August 2007 the lighthouse was severely damaged by Tropical Cyclone Favio In February of that year, and Jeremy Fawcett has posted a photo showing the damage to the light station. F.H. Mira's August 2008 photo at right shows that no repairs had been made. A Google satellite view is also available.

The lighthouse formerly had a hyperradiant Fresnel lens, one of the largest lighthouse lenses ever built. This priceless lens was not removed from the tower, and by now it is completely gone, the prisms stolen or smashed by vandals.

Bazaruto is the largest of a group of islands strung out along the coast north of Vilankulo. The lighthouse was last "rehabilitated" in 1996. The lighthouse is located on the central ridge about 2 km (1.2 mi) south of the north end of the island; accessible by 4WD or a hiking trail from the area of Pestana Bazaruto Lodge. Site open, tower closed. On November 8, 1922, it started to function with Glowing light.
In 1930 its light was white, with groups of 3 flashes every 30 seconds, with a range of 34 miles.
In 1985 it was already turned off. It is currently in operation, with a PRB-46 MKII flashlight, with a bright range of 23 miles. It has a white light with 3 lightning in 15 seconds.

Ponta Dundo
Ponta Dundo is one of the most important place to study the history of Bazaruto Archipelago. Because the earliest occupation of the Bazaruto Archipelago has its signs there, It can be traced back to the beginning of the Iron Age (about 200-300 AD), with relics of settlements evident in Ponta Dundo, south-west of Bazaruto Island and at other settlements sites along the coastal dunes of the island.

According to ANON (1980) in Oceanography Research Institute - ORI (2008), From a regional archaeological point of view, Bazaruto can be regarded as a very special case as it appears to have the only archaeological sites known for this period in all the islands of the South East African Coast.
The materials and artefacts found at these sites, suggest a connection of the Bazaruto sites with other coastal communities that at the same period were settled in between Vilanculos Bay, for example, the trading site of Chibuene developed in the later part of the first millennium AD.
The recovery of Persian porcelain at Dundo, along with other pot shards found at various other archaeological sites in Bazaruto, suggest connections with a wider Indian Ocean commercial trading network. These artefacts are very similar to those found at Chibuene and other settlements around the Save River mouth, indicating the importance of the Save as a trading route. It is probable that the Bazaruto Archipelago was a part of one of the two oldest/first South East African Coast commercial centres (ORI, 2008).

The first was the Mambone-Vilanculos Bay - Bazaruto complex around the mouth of the Save River and the second centre was located further north around Sofala Bay itself connecting the maritime trade routes of the Indian Ocean with the inland trade routes towards the interior African kingdoms.

Material evidence suggests that the communities that were settled in Bazaruto not only consumed, but also used for commercial purpose, the local natural resources (marine or others) and the Save River was the main “road” to reach the inland “gold” of African kingdoms (Beach 1980). Seed pearls, amber, tortoise shell, turtle carapaces and “female fish” (dugong) teeth became important goods for trade while the coastal areas in front of the islands, namely the so-called Vahoca Coast were searched either for wood and resins or used for boat building and repair (Castro & Couto 1996; Neweitt 1997) in (ORI, 2008).

The link between this area and the Muslim cities of the northern coast like Kilwa, Mombasa or Malindi became progressively stronger (Barbosa 1516) and the first written sources describe the archipelago as a wealthy and prosperous area with important trade settlements of “black moors” strongly related either with the communities settled in the coastal area frontier to the archipelago, or with those of Sofala Bay. At that time the Bazaruto Archipelago was called Húcicas Grandes to distinguish it from the Hucicas Pequenas, the small and rich alluvial islands existing then in the delta of the Save River, also inhabited by communities of local “black moors”. People living in the Húcicas Grandes were mainly merchants while those of the Hucicas Pequenas were both farmers (agriculture and cattle) and traders.
The former were probably the most important trade mediators in the area Later on, at the end of the 16th Century, these communities came under the control of mulatto families from Sofala with the family of António Rodrigues being one of the most important. In 1589 he lived either on the islands of Bazaruto or in the lands edging the Monemone River near the coast. Since he owned both, he controlled all the distribution of goods and circulation of people in the area, as well as the boat building business. He was known as the only man that could provide food, boats and guides in this region and soon Bazaruto, though previously never a formal port of call, was frequented as a place where people (sailors, castaways, fishermen) could find supplies and support (da Silveira)

Meanwhile, crop and cattle stock farming also developed in the archipelago, mainly on Bazaruto and Benguérua, as both islands had important sweet water or very low salinity lagoons (Morais 1985). In the second half of the 17th Century, Bazaruto Island was known as the “island of Luís Pereira”, another mulatto from Sofala, also in control of Quiloane Island, and rather well known in the area for helping Portuguese castaways trying to reach Sofala or Mozambique Island (Brito 1735) in (ORI, 2008).

At the end of the century these families were also in control of the exploitation and trade of pearls and seed pearls in the region. These goods were traditionally traded in the Indian Ocean but were never intensively exploited by either the local communities or by the Portuguese once they had settled on the coast.

Only in the second half of the 17th Century did the Portuguese authorities start to show an interest in pearls and investigated these as possible trade items (de Martinho 1697; Newitt 1973). However, pearls and seed pearls were not seen as a priority for trade by the local people. According to their need for food and period of the year, people collected the oysters (Mapalo) to eat.
The local people did not dive for oysters and did not open them in a manner conducive to collecting the pearls – the most convenient way was to put them in the fire, which cooked and opened the shells but damaged the pearls and lowered the value that could be obtained when trading them. However, according to Ivens Ferraz, in special situations, like the famine of 1888, there could be a great increase in any of the fisheries for commercial purposes (Diaz 2001).

No matter the incredible descriptions of the skill of the “pearl fishermen” and the danger each collecting expedition involved, the results never provided the expected profits antos 1999; Ahu).

Santa Carolina Island
Santa Carolina is the most atracting islands of Bazaruto Archipelago, it has an old hotel and other infrastrures that tell the story of Bazaruto and its people. Located in the north west of the park, you can visit there Santa Carolina temple, and the Santa Carolina jailhouse. In 1855, when the Portuguese authorities decided to put a jailhouse,Santa Carolina and the archipelago was almost uninhabited.

An official report of 1886 mentions that the population of Santa Carolina Island was reduced to two merchants – a Brazilian and a Bathiá – living within a few “moradores” and 3 dozen prisoners guarded by a group of 12 soldiers and a commander while Bazaruto Island was completely uninhabited and Benguérua had a garrison formed by 6 soldiers and was visited only sporadically by occasional fishermen (Ferrari 1886)... Read More