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The Small & Intimate Sanctuary of Vamizi Island

By Natalie Horsley

Posted: 1st October 2014 16:46

Arching out of the Vamizi seas, the slender and crescent-shaped Vamizi Island is nestled within the Quirimbas Archipelago, a string of islands along the length of Mozambique’s remote Northern coast. Just 12 kilometres long and one kilometre wide, the Island is a small and intimate sanctuary, offering the definitive luxury of your own private island. 

Island Life

Robinson Crusoe may have invented castaway chic, but Vamizi defines it. The Lodge offers several impossibly romantic villas, strung loosely along one of the most elite beaches in the world; Vamizi Island is true laidback sophistication. The serene ‘Kitalas’ (a local Ki-mwani word meaning luxury beachfront villa) are private realms where you can settle back and indulge in the view of your own secluded beach.   

Vamizi Island can be defined as one all-encompassing spa, with nurturing properties found both above and below the water. Some of the best energy and body treatments are available at the Lodge, along with beauty therapies that are completely unique to Vamizi. Unwind from the stresses of everyday life with a bespoke massage, or partake in a yoga class designed to make you see yourself and your surroundings from a new and far more relaxed angle. 

Local produce is the primary factor when it comes to Vamizi Island’s style of cuisine; the fresher the better. The day’s catch is prepared into a magnificent assortment of dishes, all of which can be enjoyed in a choice of locations, from remote island picnic areas, beachside barbeque pits or sophisticated lantern-lit glamour. Choose from a variety of cocktails or explore the list of fine wines and sink back into the acres of cushions burnishing the bar area. 

Mad About the Beach

They say life’s a beach, and for beachcombers craving endless relaxation and leisure under the sun, Vamizi is firm proof of how splendid life can get. 

Fringed with peaceful beaches and calm waters, experience unexplored white sands, enticing you to kick off your shoes and feel the sugar-like grains beneath your feet. What makes the beaches of Vamizi even more desirable is that you scarcely have to share them with anyone else, other than a few lodge guests and maybe several turtles. 

These beaches refuge for both humans and animals alike; green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on the beach, giant coconut crabs nestle within the coral and in the mangrove forests, rare Samango monkeys and exotic birds claim their own corner of this sultry paradise. 

Furthermore, the tropical sea that carelessly laps the shores has been designated as a nature reserve, preserving the delicate ecosystem and the striking beauty of Vamizi.  So in order to do your part in protecting the natural splendour, take nothing away with you but photographs and leave nothing behind but your footprints in the sand. 

The Big Blue

The seas surrounding Vamizi Island are so dramatic they will take your breath away; a kaleidoscope of blues that provide the most spectacular backdrop to your stay. Webbed feet would be an advantage on this crescent island that is a springboard for some of the best diving, fishing and beach life in the world.

Vamizi’s coral reefs, protected from bleaching by cool rising currents from within the deep, are vibrant with colourful sponges, corals and a multitude of fish species. One of Vamizi’s best kept secrets is “Neptune’s Arm”, nominated as one of the top ten dive sites in the world. In this unimaginable ocean environment, the island’s PADI-qualified dive team take the tropical scuba experience to new depths. 

Fishing enthusiasts are spoilt for choice with an abundance of fish species, including a huge variety of game and trophy fish, such as Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish and Marlin. With a kilometre deep drop-off just away from the coast, the Vamizi fishing grounds lies less than thirty minutes from the Lodge, making even half a day’s fishing highly productive. 

Conservation Matters

Essentially a conservation project paid for partly by tourism, the preservation of this remote and unique wilderness, along with improving the livelihoods of its inhabitants, is fundamental. Vamizi’s resident community consists of approximately one thousand islanders who, between 1976 to 1992, fled from the mainland to escape the civil war in Mozambique. 

Vamizi Island Lodge was built by the community and all building materials were obtained locally. The Lodge also supports village businesses; the women provide bread and create crafts for sale to guests, and the island’s fishermen supply seafood for the restaurant. Visits to the villages can also be arranged to experience the lifestyles, customs and traditions of the islanders.

In 2001, the Maluane Project was envisaged and has since been supporting and funding the development of marine wildlife sanctuary ever since. The principal aim of the project is to unite tourism with wildlife conservation and community development, thus protecting this unspoilt area of the Indian Ocean. 

The development of Vamizi Island for luxury eco-tourism was an extraordinary responsibility. There was no easy access via the sea beyond a journey in small local wooden boats, and there were no proper roads other than roughly-cut tracks through the bush.  However, despite adverse conditions and logistical challenges, Vamizi Island Lodge first opened in 2005, later visited by such dignitaries as Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel.  

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