Sleepy, beautiful Azura Benguerra is a high-end, low-key hotel with a huge heart, that feels like a safari lodge that has somehow washed up in one of the most beautiful spots of the Mozambican coastline.
What’s Azura Benguerra really like?
The main lodge at Azura Benguerra sits right on the shallow beach. It is most definitely not a resort. With its shaggy thatched roof, gnarled wood, and wicker furniture, it looks as if it’s just tumbled together with what nature provided. Except of course, it’s not. Look closer and you’ll see the level of thought and care that’s gone into every element of the lodge.
You’ll have a butler to look after you throughout your stay (they’re really more of a personal host who’ll bring you cocktails and make sure you’re looked after, so no bowing and scraping or starchy formality.) Food is often locally-caught sea food and meals are served in different places around the lodge, including lantern-lit beach dinners. During the day, around a kilometre up the beach is the Peri Peri Beach club where there’s a pool, beach bar and pizza oven.
The 20 or so villas are stretched out either side of the main lodge, though slightly set back amongst the lush tropical vegetation for privacy. They all feel similarly understated and rustic. Smallest are the standard Beach Villas, though even these come with a decent-sized plunge pool, outdoor showers and little sitting area beside the beach, as well as air-conditioning. Luxury Beach Villas are nearly twice the size, and the Infinity Beach Villas are larger still, with a bigger pool and a bathtub as well as a shower. The two Royal Villas are huge (half as big again) with great views of the ocean, a 10m pool and enough space easily for one or two children to sleep in with adults. Lastly there’s the 2 bedroomed Villa Amizade and the 3-bedroomed Presidential Villa- just ask if you’d like more detail on any of these.
What else should we mention? Well, there is wifi at Azura Benguerra but service can still be very patchy so this is a good chance to switch off, relax, and recuperate. Fortunately, Azura has a lovely spa to help you with this. Like much of the Indian Ocean coastline, the beach is very shallow in front of the lodge- so the water is a long way out at low tide, making it too shallow to swim- fortunately, your plunge pool is ready and waiting. There are quite a few shells around so we’d recommend bringing beach shoes to wear.
What can I do at Azura Benguerra?
Really we’d say that staying at Azura Benguerra is all about relaxing- hiding peacefully away from the world with a book and time to snooze. However, if you are keen to be a little more active you can get the boat out to the reef for snorkelling (the best is at Two Mile Reef, around 15 minutes away) or use the PADI dive centre. There are sunset dhow cruises and big game fishing, and the chance to hop over to some of the other islands in the archipelago. Azura also has paddle boards and the lodge can arrange horse riding elsewhere on the island.
Lastly, we’d like to give a special mention to the island drives. This is a chance to see real Mozambican life and the home communities of the staff, be it popping into the school, a church service or joining a soccer game. It’s something of an eye-opener after the luxury of the lodge, and a great way to see the real good that your stay helps to provide.
Giving back with Azura Benguerra:
Giving back to the local community has always been a huge part of the Azura ethos. From the start local staff were used to build the lodge, local materials were used wherever possible and an environmental and sustainability expert was part of the lodge from the start. Today, the lodge remains part of the Pack for a Purpose initiative, its “Rainbow Fund” supports the school and clinic, and many of the decorative touches come from local artisans.
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