Ponta Dundo, and its equally radiant neighbour Pansy Island, are probably the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Baking-soda-white sands, set in radiating swirls of vivid blue of the Indian Ocean. Low-hanging blue skies and a sun that you can almost touch. It’s breathtaking! But there’s more to it that meets the eye. Aside from being an exquisite location for a romantic day at the beach, or even a wedding, it is steeped in history dating back to the Iron Age.
The Bazaruto Archipelago was once part of a peninsula connected to the mainland. At low tide, the retreating waters expose millions of sand spits and tiny isles. One of the most beautiful of these ephemeral isles is Pansy Island – named after the sea-urchin skeletons with distinctive flower-shaped imprints found there. It lies hugging the southern shores of Bazaruto Island, opposite the rolling dunes of Punto Dundo. Rumour has it that during the Portuguese era, convicts would be shackled together and left here to drown with the rising tide. Nowadays, this serves a much more pleasant purpose – a unique destination for desert-island picnic, swimming and general frolicking in the sand for guests of nearby Anantara Bazaruto and AndBeyound Benguerra lodges.
From here, against screen-saver blue skies, there are views of the imposing procession of dunes that have for epochs protected Bazaruto Archipelago from being wiped out by the might of the Indian Ocean. These 30km of deserted white beach, is what is called Punto Dundo – one of the most important historical places in the area.
Historical Ponta Dundo
From a regional archaeological point of view, Ponta Dundo is regarded as a very special place. The earliest occupation of the Bazaruto Archipelago has its signs here, and traces back to 200-300 AD. It appears that these are the only archaeological sites of this period in all the islands along the coast of South East Africa.
The materials and artifacts that have been found here, suggest a connection of the Bazaruto islands with other coastal communities that were settled in Vilanculos Bay during this period. The discovery of Persian porcelain at Ponta Dundo, suggest a connection with the wider Indian Ocean commercial trading network. It is probable that the Bazaruto Archipelago was one of the oldest South East African Coast commercial centres!
Map of Bazaruto Archipellago
Walking at the top of Ponta Dundo
The valley of Ponta Dundo
Admire the views from the top of Ponta Dundo in Virtual Reality!
After admiring the breath-taking views from the top of Ponta Dundo, we came back to the shores and made our way to Pansy Island. We were given the opportunity to have the whole island to ourselves. Not another footprint in the sight, we felt like castaways in paradise. I won’t lie when I say it was incredible, but I was happy that our skipper was just a wave away!
Pansy Island Beach
Not another soul in sight
Travel to Pansy Island in Virtual Reality!
Visit Ponta Dundo when you book your stay in Bazaruto Archipelago!
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