In fact, it is just so romantic that Camilla from our Africa team was proposed to on the beach there last year and Olivia – the new Mrs Cryer – in our Asia team has just returned from her honeymoon on the island.
Here Olivia shares her Vamizi honeymoon experience and tries to uncover why this private island paradise has our Africa specialists under its spell.
Following a few nights on safari, we were really excited to be heading for the beach, and having heard so much about Vamizi, expectations were high. Upon landing from the Selous back at Dar es Salaam domestic terminal, we were met by the incredibly efficient and helpful Vamizi ground staff who ushered us on to the waiting Vamizi plane, along with a chilled bottle of water. The flight from Dar down the coast of Mozambique was beautiful and before we knew it, we were landing at Mocimboa da Praia airstrip to get our Mozambican visas. Once again, the process was incredibly easy and efficient and just 10 minutes later, we were hopping back on the plane for the short flight across to Vamizi.
Sitting next to the window, it became abundantly clear just how beautiful these waters were, with incredible reefs and sand banks marbling the azure blue sea. We landed on the island and were straight on to the land rover for the drive up the island to the Lodge, where our shoes came straight off and we first saw that view.
The lodge and villas are spread along the most beautiful curve of sugar white sand, peppered with rocky coral outcrops with stunning views over the turquoise water. We sat and enjoyed our welcome drinks before strolling along the beach to our villa, which was to be our home for the next week.
The villas are beautifully appointed with lots of hand-carved wood, loft thatched roofs and are incredibly spacious, with views out to sea from both the bedroom and the deck.
Africology products fill the bathroom and billowing white curtains and mosquito nets finish off the rustic, African beach house vibe. We loved walking along the beach each evening after dinner by torch light, looking out for the hurricane lamp that lit the entrance to our villa.
Considering how remote the island is, the food is excellent and is improving even now. Lunch is a simple affair of freshly baked breads, fresh fish and a selection of yummy salads, “sharing style”, all very al fresco and light and ideal following a morning snorkelling or diving. Dinners were varied and we absolutely loved the beach BBQ, with lashings of lobster, sirloin steaks, fresh fish and delicious salads, all washed down with bottomless quantities of thoroughly decent South African wines. The chefs take care to utilise the day’s catch and our Wahoo, Kingfish and King Mackerel all made it on to the menu which was incredibly satisfying, not to mention delicious.
Each morning, we’d walk along the beach for our breakfast (which you can have in your villa, along with any other meals you wish) and feast on fresh fruit, home baked muffins and granola and eggs cooked to your liking, before going snorkelling, having a wonderful massage or simply relaxing in our banda on the beach. The fantastic holistic therapist, Cate, worked wonders on my tired safari feet with some amazing reflexology and the full body massage post-fishing trip was just amazing.
You are encouraged to do as much or as little as you want, and each night over pre-dinner drinks in the bar, you can plan your activities for the next day. Whether you want to dive amongst Vamizi’s spellbinding underwater world, take a sunset dhow cruise, spend the afternoon up at the old lighthouse with a picnic or head out whale watching, your wish is their command. As we were there during the whale season, we were lucky enough to spy some of the resident Humpback whales which was a real highlight of our trip.
The lovely WWF folks were on hand to chat us through our sighting, explaining the whales’ behaviour and telling us more about the waters around Vamizi and why the whales come back year after year. We also saw dolphins playing in the shallows whilst we were eating our lunch and turtles whilst we were snorkelling, showing just how pristine and important this marine environment is. Our fishing trip with the fantastic fishing guys was another highlight, bringing in 5 sizeable Wahoo, 2 Kingfish, 1 King Mackerel and a Barracuda for good measure.
The entire Vamizi experience was so much more than we expected, and it is hard to put your finger on what gives this little island its magic. Certainly the spellbinding scenery helps, combined with the charming staff, the stunning accommodation and the remote, laid back atmosphere that permeates your every limb and wills you to lie back and read a book or two.
Photos simply just can’t do Vamizi justice nor capture this certain little something that brings people back here year after year, to once more be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves crashing on the shore and waking up to a playful pod of dolphins cavorting in the shallows on your walk along the beach to breakfast…