Life defined by tides

The movement of the ocean defines life here in the Quirimbas. Tides determine when you can leave the mainland, travel between islands, and what activities you can do in a day.

By abandoning yourself to the rhythm of nature, and allowing it to guide you, as the people of the Quirimbas have done for centuries, you are sure to enjoy your visit.  One thing is for sure – be prepared to get your feet wet!


How tides work

Two high tides and two low tides occur during every 24-hour period. Over a month, the type of tide changes from a spring tide, to a neap tide, and back again twice in a month..

A spring tide—popularly known as a “King Tide”—refers to the ‘springing forth’ of the tide during new and full moon. The difference between low and high tides during this period can be up to 4.5 metres.

A neap tide—which comes seven days after a spring tide—refers to a period of moderate tides when the sun and moon are at right angles to each other, and the difference between low and high tide is minimal.

Life defined by tides

The tides have a huge influence on life in the Quirimbas. You might see women collecting mussels, snails and other small crustaceans from tidal pools or the sea bed when the tide is out, which they sell or make local dishes from.

Also at low tide, you’ll see people walking to and from the mangroves, collecting essential firewood from managed areas, or even walking between islands to visit family and friends.

When the tide is higher, fishermen can be seen out in their small dug out canoes, bringing in their daily catch for sale to local restaurants or to eat themselves.

An understanding of the tides here is intrinsic to the people of the Quirimbas, but visitors might want to download this app to help! GooglePlay and AppStore

Travel and tides

It’s important to check the tides before you leave the mainland, as the journey can only be made by boat when both Tandanhangue and Ibo have high tides. If the tide is out, you may have a long wait for the next boat…

Activities on the islands are also dependent on the tide. For example, some destinations are only accessible during low tide, some boat trips can only be made at high tide, and in certain situations when the tide is very low, you may have to disembark your boat and walk a little to reach your destination, so good shoes suitable for walking on coral are essential.  You can find out more on the Tours and Activities page, and if in doubt, check locally.