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Azura Quilalea Private Island
Quirimbas Archipelago

The last word in cool castaway chic, Azura Quilalea is one of the loveliest lodges in Mozambique and promises a beautiful back-to-nature experience.  Set on an uninhabited 34 hectare private island in the Quirimbas Archipelago in Northern Mozambique, the lodge has 9 villas spread across the island, all leading directly onto powder-soft white sands and the incredible house reef just 20 meters offshore. There are four beaches on this baobab-studded island which you can walk to through shaded forests to enjoy private picnics at – Turtle Beach is particularly special and if you’re lucky you might see loggerhead and leatherback turtles head laying their eggs on shore. 

Reached via helicopter from Pemba airport, Quilalea island is within a protected marine reserve boasting an abundance of flora and fauna, including more than 140 bird species. There are no motorised watersports like waterskiing or speed boats, but there is no need – what is on offer here is the best of its kind: there is a well-equipped Padi Dive and Watersports Centre and the scuba diving and snorkelling is some of the best in Africa. You can spot humpback whales between May and October and the coral reefs are absolutely stunning with a huge array of tropical fish and turtles. Guests can also go horse riding, deep sea fishing, kayaking and sailing in Mozamibique’s traditional dhow, or take a day trip to nearby Ibo Island where time has stood still and the silversmiths still make jewellery the traditional way outside the ancient fort.

Azura Quilalea’s 9 seafront villas are hewn from local materials, with natural coral stone walls, makuti thatch roofs, carved beams and reed shuttered windows instead of glass which can be closed for darkness or open to let the breeze through. Guests can control their own energy consumption with the basic requirements of fan and lighting or opt for air-conditioning and mod cons. The 4 Kaskazi Villas have glorious views across these turquoise seas to Quirimba Island beyond. The 4 Kusi Villas have more exclusive locations, and the extra-special cliff-top Villa Quilalea offers the most romantic accommodation in Mozambique. The largest of the 9 villas, it has a 4 poster bed, feature bathroom, extensive decking and lounging areas, and its own plunge pool. At the centre of the lodge is a swimming pool overlooking the ocean, a lounge, bar, library, dining room, and there is a great little clifftop spa. The food at Azura at Quilalea is fantastic; expect the freshest seafood, yummy salads and freshly-baked bread, as well as surprise snacks throughout the day and regular barbeque evenings.

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