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Magaruque Island, Mozambique
Fast Facts
Points of Interest Nearby

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A day trip to Magaruque Island is a must for families wishing to snorkel or scuba dive in solitude. And it is one of the few places in the Bazaruto Archipelago where it is possible to swim to the reef from shore. Yet you need not be an underwater aficionado to enjoy a trip to Magaruque Island. Hike to the ruins of a 19th century fort. Take a stroll around the island in less than an afternoon. And engage the kids in a search for Pansy shells. At low tide, hundreds of these once fury sea urchins grace the island's shore ensuring many joyful cries of "Hey mom, I found another."
Pansy Shells
A child with two pansy shells

A child with two pansy shells

Alfredo De Simone

There are lots of fun facts about Pansy Shells. Did you know that:
  • Pansy shells aren't shells at all. They are the skeletons of a marine animal with the same name.
  • The Pansy shell is a member of the Echinoid family just like its cousin the sea urchin and half-sister the sand dollar.
  • The Pansy shell has two diagonal slots and a petal-like pattern in the center of its flat, white skeleton.
  • When alive, the Pansy is covered with short, fur-like spines that are purplish blue.
  • The Pansy shell uses its spines to burrow and creep through the sand and it uses its podia or tube-like feet to move food into its mouth.
  • Like a tree, the age of the Pansy can be calculated by counting the rings on its underside.
  • Pansy shells are found in only two countries in the world, Mozambique and South Africa.
  • The Pansy shell is a protected species.
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Travel Trivia
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