We moved off the islands to the mainland, and had a night to check out the beautiful boutique retreat called Santorini, 12 kilometres from Vilanculos. With just five suites in the main villa and lots of lounges and salas to chill in, it is a great place for couples to relax and unwind after a safari. There are also 2 private 2-bedroom villas available, Villa da Praia and The Chapel.
The villas sit on a hilltop, looking out over Kingfisher Bay, deserted beach as far as you can see, the island of Benguerra on the horizon, a few dhows sailing across the bay.
Activities include SUP, kayak, sun downer cruises, snorkelling and visiting the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago, catamaran cruises, and fishing. Scuba diving can be arranged, Fat tire bikes will be available soon. Or you can just relax with a book and let your butler bring you a glass of wine.
&BEYOND, BENGUERRA ISLAND, MOZAMBIQUE
&Beyond Benguerra Island is a mix of classic chic in the spacious and beautifully appointed 'casinhas" and simple safari elegance with it's dhow bar on the beach, evening beach dining by paraffin lantern light, and star-gazing around the fire.
The casinhas all have their own infinity pool, shaded outdoor lounge on a private deck, beach loungers, and a shaded outdoor double bed swing. The food was absolutely top-notch, Ines' vegetarian needs were deliciously catered for, and our butler Gilario was charming and on the ball. For our last meal they set up a private beach lunch on the wild side of the island, at the foot of the Red Dune, and we had as far as we could see of the 11k of coastline to ourselves.
At azura benguerra, mozambique
Some images from our stst at Azura Retreat Benguerra Island, our current location on a 7-week recce across southern Africa.
Azura prides itself on its cuisine, and rightly so, it is delicious. We have a butler called Jonas assigned to look after us when we are not checking out the marine life.
This barefoot luxury resort has been built with local materials, by 450 subsitence fishermen islanders trained by rhe resort in building techniques, from making the bricks, raising the roofs, and crafting the furniture. The resort now employs 100 locals, has built a primary school for 400 kids, sponsors secondary school education for island kids on thr mainland, and has just built the island's first clinic all through the Azura Rainbow Fund.
A few pics from an overnight inspection at Chobe Elephant Camp, a very good value for money camp if you want to be close to the Chobe River, but away from the crowds of Kasane. There were lots of ellies, a couple of herds of buffalo around 400-strong, a pride of 8 lazy lions, but the cherry for me was this very cool and rarely-sighted Caracal.
I've just finished editing my wildlife images from our June site inspection tour of the conservancies of Lewa, and Ol Pejeta in central Kenya, and Mara North, Naibosho, and Olare-Motorogi conservancies bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Erroneously, some potential visitors look down on the conservancies bordering the Mara National Reserve, the state-run reserve, and think them an inferior safari destination. The conservancies are in fact the prime locations for wildlife viewing as they only have a limited number of lodges or camps on them, only half-a-dozen each, compared to over a hundred and thirty for the National Reserve, ensuring a much lower number of tourists and vehicles. There are no white minibuses here, and these reserves are the choice venues for film-makers and professional wildlife photographers.
Not only is the wildlife viewing superb, but the conservancies work closely with the communities whose land they lease, and provide incomes for many local families, as well as allowing grazing in times of need. The conservancies and camps have trusts that build schools, clinics, and develop grassroots projects that empower women and youths.
Ever dreamt of diving dramatic walls or coral gardens without another dive operation around? If you are going to Africa, Pemba could be the place for you.
Photographer, conservationist, dive and field guide, teller of bad jokes.