Desert island dreaming
Mozambique’s Quilalea Private Island is just that. So private, you feel as if you’re the only person on that planet
By: The Roving Ambassador Photographs supplied
It’s sometimes astonishing that an island destination can match up to the overly romanticised mental picture harboured by a stress city-dweller, but at Quilalea, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. In all likelihood, that’s what wooed South African Businessman Tokyo Sexwale to buy this enchanting water-fringed corner of Mozambique. Who could blame him?
One of the properties of Azura Boutique retreats, Azura Quilalea Private Island is set in the Quirimbas Archipelago, off the coast of Northern Mozambique. You’ll reach it by helicopter from Pemba. There is lies, the still, quiet sea, the endless stretch of white beach, and embedded into the landscape, the lodge and villas of Quilalea.
For divers and snorkelers, this location is beyond exquisite, and the sea yields everything glorious from turtles to a Technicolour assortment of reef fish. Professionalism abounds, and guests are under the care- and even tuition-of the resident scuba team and management (professional underwater photographers) as you venture out to the numerous dive sites. One off the delights of Quilalea occurs at low tide, when you can amble out among the rock pools and allow your inner child out to play. Buckets and spades not obligatory, but hey, playing in rock pools is somewhat meditative, even romantic. All manner of little scuttling creatures…and, when you walk out to the reef – yes, walk – directly in front of the hotel’s main beach, prepare to swim with turtles.
Quilalea has refined the art of surprise. The staff understands the simple joy derived from another glorious meal… yet in another location, a different vista, something entirely unexpected. Romance guaranteed… with lanterns here, candles there, petal’s underfoot. No effort required, Quilalea does you’re thinking, you’re doing, you’re pleasure seeking for you. Now that’s a desert-island holiday.
And as expected, an island means seafood. In this case, sensational food fresh from the sea, from line-fish to calamari to a delectable seafood curry, all accompanied by an assortment of chilled wines with complimentary sunsets and sea views.
Luxury will always be different things to different people, but for most, it’s about attention to detail. All those little things which add up to big things. At Quilalea, as you laze in your villa, on your decked veranda, on the endless stretches of beach, gazing at the vast baobab trees which decorate the island so magnificently, waiting for your next cocktail, dive, snorkel or seafood platter, you’ll be asking yourself rhetorically, could I live here, like this?’
Silence will be the reply. As it should be.