In photos: the abandoned island of Santa Carolina, Mozambique

Posted on 13 November 2013

Santa Carolina, or Paradise Island as it is locally known, is an isolated island with an abandoned resort situated between Bazaruto Island (one of the top 10 island breaks in Africa) and the Mozambique main land. In September of 2012 Alasdair McCulloch was invited to photograph a luxury yacht, the Quo Vadis, at the end of its maiden voyage from Cape Town to Bazaruto.

Santa Carolina in photos

By Alasdair McCulloch

After leaving a rainy Cape Town behind us, it took us a mere three hours (courtesy of a privately owned Pilatus PC-12) before we were on the balmy coastal town of Vilankulo, Mozambique. The town, situated in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique, is the first stop for most visitors to the Bazaruto Archipelago. After a cold 2M, I was well settled in my living quarters upon the 75 foot Quo Vadis: a luxury motoryacht that had just anchored after completing its voyage from Cape Town, where it was built. Immediately I was in awe of the beauty of my surroundings, the clear turquoise water, the blue skies, the golden sands of the islands. The best part was, I was there to capture it all with my camera.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, boat, sail boat, Alasdair McCulloch

Sail boats, or dhows, are a common site around the Bazaruto Archipelago.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, hotel, abandoned space, Bob Dylan, Alasdair McCulloch

The main hotel building. Supposedly Bob Dylan conceptualised his song 'Mozambique' at the hotel's piano.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, conservation officers, officials, Alasdair McCulloch

Nature conservation officers, permits are needed to land on the island.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, abandoned space, beach, Alasdair McCulloch

Still standing: this building has been abandoned since 1973.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, beach, rocky beach, Alasdair McCulloch

After decades of war, only recently has the island been accessible to the public.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, abandoned space, Alasdair McCulloch

Like much of Mozambique's architecture, there is a distinct art-deco influence.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, flora, shells, beach, Alasdair McCulloch

As the island is mostly deserted, the flora flourishes.

Sinking boat, Vilankulos Harbour, Mozambique, Alasdair McCulloch

Vilankulos harbour is in disrepair. The only pier has collapsed making it impossible to dock. This ship is no different.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, beach, Alasdair McCulloch

The north view from the smaller chalets.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, beach, panorama, Alasdair McCulloch

Panoramas of the beaches and the hotel's chapel.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, yacht, Quo Vadis, Alasdair McCulloch

Sunset behind the Quo Vadis off the shore of Santa Carolina.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, sunset, Alasdair McCulloch

Sunset over the Mozambique mainland.

Santa Carolina, Mozambique, sunset, Alasdair McCulloch

An African sunset


Inspired? Check out these all-inclusive Mozambique travel packages or find affordable accommodation in Bazaruto here.


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