The proposed site covers an area about 5236.358Km2 encompassing the Bazaruto Archipelago and the San Sebastian Peninsula, located in Inhambane Province, between the districts of Vilankulo and Inhassoro, Southern Mozambique. Five islands make up the Bazaruto Archipelago. The largest is Bazaruto (12 000 ha), Benguérua (2 500 ha); Magaruque (600 ha); Santa Carolina (500 ha) and the minuscule island of Bangué at about 5 ha. The Bazaruto Archipelago first benefited from some legal protection in 1971, designated as the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (PNAB), was the first marine National Park in the country, and extended to its current area (1430 km2) in 2001 (Correia et al., 2002 cited by Videira, 2011; Everett et al., 2008). The PNAB is known for its diverse marine habitats including mangrove forests, coastal sand dunes, rocky shores, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, lagoons and white sand beaches. The fauna is rich in biodiversity with 2000 species of fish, 100 species of scleractinian corals, abundant invertebrates, and more than 40 reptile taxa (Langer et al., 2013), several species of whales and dolphins, and the largest population of dugongs in the western Indian Ocean (Guissamulo, 2004; Pereira & Videira, 2009). Five species of sea turtles also occur in the archipelago, of which four are confirmed to nest on their beaches (Pereira & Videira, 2009). The Bazaruto archipelago was formed from the San Sebastian Peninsula about 7 000 years ago (Everett et al., 2008). The San Sebastian Peninsula lies south-east of the town of Vilankulo, forming the mainland extension of the Bazaruto Archipelago (Jacobsen et al., 2010). The Peninsula consists of undulating sandy dunes rising from sea level to 96 m a.s.l (Tinley 1985). The freshwater bodies all lie at sea level or close to it but vary in size and permanence, the largest being up to 1000 ha in extent (van der Walt, pers. comm. cited by Jacobsen et al., 2010). The regional climate is referable to Koppen’s type (Aw) or equatorial dry season type (Tinley 1985). The area is warm and humid with rainfall ranges from 600-800 mm per annum (Jacobsen et al., 2010). The average temperatures in the summer of 30º C and in Winter of 18º C, with an average annual temperature of 24º C (Everett et al., 2008). The San Sebastian Peninsula forms the major portion of the Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary (VCWS), which lies along the peninsula between 22.0833 and 22.3500° S, and 35.4005° and 35.5505° E, comprising a land surface area of approximately 22 000 ha (King 1967 cited by Jacobsen et al., 2010). The peninsula is dominated by miombo Woodland interspersed with a diversity of habitats that include wetlands, freshwater lakes, tidal mudflats, salt marshes and mangrove swamps. The marine area includes estuaries, a sand peninsula barrier along the seaward boundary of the Inhambane Estuary, islands, and coral reefs (Lambrechts 2001 cited by Peel, 2002).
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Greater Bazaruto. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/01/2022.