|Bazaruto Archipelago Aerial View (Photographs courtesy Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort)
Mozambique. The very name conjures up images of exotic cocktails, flaming sunsets over glassy calm seas and diving into waters the colors of your most tranquil mood ever.
Airlink flies us to Vilanculos in Mozambique from OR Tambo in Johannesburg on a lazy, winter morning and we land just before one in the afternoon.
As we approach from the air, the sea and coral reefs beneath resemble a surrealist painting of beige, indigo, azure and pastel blues and greens.
We are met by a representative from the Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort who takes us on the short journey to the beach through the poor but fascinating town of Vilanculous. The southern African nation of Mozambique is now at peace, but unfortunately the ravages of the war years between 1964 and 1974 took its toll and it remains one of the poorest countries in Africa.
The weather is partly cloudy, but I can feel the humidity creeping up on us already. It is never cold in Mozambique.
We hop onto a speed boat for the hour or so trip to the island. Along the way the driver stops abruptly at the site of a dugong, one of the rarest species on earth, resembling a smallish hippopotamus. These shy creatures will disappear very quickly and we miss it... Oh well, next time.
On the island we are met with song and dance from the staff, a drink and a quick orientation of the property. The resort has an unpretentious island feel but one is immediately aware of five-star service, facilities and luxury. After a delicious lunch, we are shown to our room and given the lay of the land. My fellow travelers leave on a sundowner sojourn but I stay to luxuriate in the surrounds of my plush, humungous chalet. The rooms are gorgeous: very spacious with mini-bar, air conditioning, indoor and outdoor shower and a sunken bath with a view. The resort has 44 beach, sea view and pool villas (I am on the beach!). But it doesn’t feel like a big resort. Instead of the rooms being on top of each other, they are separate units spread out and intimate. I spend the rest of the afternoon in a stupor, swaying in my hammock reading, half in and out of sleep, eventually lulled to sleep by the soft waves meters from me.
The sun goes down over the Indian Ocean in a blaze of oranges, then reds then pinks and I reluctantly embark on the massive 5-meter trek to my villa for a fragrant bath by candlelight, watching the last light over the sea. We all meet up for dinner which comprises of a stupendous seafood buffet with crab, crayfish, calamari and massive prawns all served in abundance on the patio restaurant by candlelight with soft jazz playing in background.
After our languid meal and excellent house wine - all food, local beer, wine and spirits as well as certain activities are included in the price - I saunter back to my villa. There is no moon so for a while I sit on the beach in reverie; the only sound the crickets, the soft lapping of the water and my only company the Milky Way and a gazillion stars in the galaxy. There is not a breath of wind.
This visceral feeling is unparalleled. I feel strangely untouched by the world so far, far away and completely alone under this shiny, big black open sky with all its twinkles - and at peace. I creep in under my wonderful duvet with the soft waves singing me to sleep.
|BazzHotel Infinity Pool at Night
After breakfast the next morning it’s off to Paradise Island, about a 30-minute boat ride away. The boat anchors close to the island for snorkeling. The water is like blue shiny silk and the visibility is all the way down - about six meters where little blue and yellow fish as well as jellyfish cavort.
A beach barbeque awaits after all this activity. While the other guests frolic in the warm water, a guide takes us to see the ruins of the only hotel on the island. It could accommodate more than 300 people once upon a time and now stands empty and silent - a concrete corpse silently gazing out over the azure water. It is eerie.
After a brisk and hot 20-minute walk back, a sumptuous lunch of sosaties, fresh prawns, steak and chicken is served. Later, back at my abode, I sit on the beach as the sun sinks lazily in a million orange blazes over the calm ocean and all is right with the world. Dinner that evening is served at Clube Naval and candles and torches are set up all around the beach at the water’s edge. Happy laughter emanates from every table... enter a sumptuous buffet of chicken, fish and oxtail as well as crayfish pasta and carbonara. The night enfolds me like a blanket with its soft romantic ambience and barefoot-luxury feel.
The breakfast the following morning is, as the previous morning, a feast of tasty and unusual dishes like mince pies, cherry yogurt smoothies, beef curry and carrot and beetroot juice. I order a chai latte and scrambled eggs with salmon and happiness ensues. The staff is amazing at this resort - very well trained with a genuine warmth and delightful sense of humor.
We then hop on a game drive vehicle for a peek at the hinterland of this island. Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort resides on a 12,000-hectare paradise island. At 37 kilometers long and up to 7 kilometers wide, Bazaruto is the largest island in the archipelago. Declared part of the protected Bazaruto Archipelago National Park in 1971, and not a shop in sight, we find ourselves immersed in a tropical paradise in a world of our own. We drive to one of the points where you can sand board down dunes the size of mountains - truly spectacular. We also pay a visit to the local primary school and the beautiful, small smiling faces capture my heart.
Back at the Resort we are treated to a heavenly back massage at the Anantara Spa which is spectacularly located above the lodge. We indulge in some Jacuzzi time afterwards which probably boasts the most breath-taking view in the world.
The longer you stay at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort, the more you realize that there is and should only be joy to be had in this world. I was tense when I got here. You know the normal run of the mill stress kind of tense. And like a caterpillar transforming, I felt myself gradually going with the flow, the people, the blue sky, the sea and the laughter.
Cascading happily backward to where I once was in my life - in the moment. The only thing I didn’t have time to do at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort is nothing. And that is why I shall return. To do nothing at all. And I can't wait.
Reservation email: email@example.com
There are no current direct flights between China and Mozambique but it’s an easy flight from South Africa. There are daily flights between Chinese Mainland and Johannesburg with Air China. From there Airlink is the best carrier to Vilanculous.
Airlink is the Regional Feeder Airline, and offers a wide network of regional and domestic flights within southern Africa and operates as a franchisee to SAA
Route Specific Information: Direct scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Vilanculos as well as from Nelspruit to Vilanculos, offering a same day bush and beach experience.
Connectivity: Through their alliance with South African Airways, travelers connect conveniently with SAA, their Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world.
Frequent Flyer Program: Airlink is a member of South African Airways Loyalty program - Voyager.
Flight Bookings: Online, booking agent or SAA Central Reservations on +27 11 978 1111.