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Mermaids of the Sea | Mozambique

April 2021
Santorini, Mozambique

The incredibly rare dugong can be found in the protected waters of the Bazaruto Archipelago, with local communities ensuring their protection and that of their habitat. 

A day out on the water exploring the islands of Archipelago is a dream in itself but to encounter a dugong along the way is a dream you never want to end. The magic of seeing or simply hearing from our guests their stories of this special sighting never fades, no matter how many times you hear it, as we know only too well that to see this elusive and endangered species is not a sight for everyone.

The Bazaruto Archipelago holds the last viable population of Dugong in the Indian Ocean.

Dugong’s are a mammal similar to a manatee but has a tail that looks more like a whale or dolphin. It is thought they were the inspiration of the stories of mermaids.

They are herbivorous mammals and their main diet consists of seagrass. Unlike other marine mammals they cannot hold their breath under water for very long – only between 30 seconds and a few minutes.

During the Mozambican Civil War there was a rapid decline in numbers of Dugong due to hunting. Although they are now a protected species they are still under threat due to the destruction of their natural habitat.

We are at a critical time where, globally, we are waking up to the frightening impact of plastic on our oceans ecology. Vilanculos is no exception and as a community we have come together in efforts to turn the tide.

Santorini Mozambique proudly supports the Vilanculos Beach Clean Up Team. The team consists of a group of young individuals who are personally motivated by the cause, as they are fishermen and handcraft sellers. They know that plastics are bad for their environment, the oceans and their businesses.

In recent years there has been an increased awareness in the plight of the dugong and Africa Parks had made focus on the protection of the Dugong.

You may be lucky enough to see this very special and elusive creature during your boat activity at Santorini.

Courtesy of Santorini