Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

&Beyond Benguerra Island

Mozambique

A slice of desert island paradise

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&Beyond Benguerra Island
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&Beyond Benguerra Island

Location

Benguerra Island, in the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

Travel Information

Short helicopter transfer from Vilanculos, Mozambique

Top Tips

Ensure you enjoy a Castaway picnic or dinner for a truly romantic date.

5-Star X-Factors

Privacy and seclusion with sand between your toes on a paradisiacal castaway island

Benguerra Island Lodge

We flew in to Vilanculos, Mozambique from Kruger Airport, after a magical 3-day safari experience at Dulini River Lodge in the Sabi Sands game reserve. It was an easy one hour flight and we were welcomed by friendly &Beyond staff, who took us to the helicopter which would fly us to Benguerra Island.

The helicopter ride, alone, was something to travel for, with breathtaking birds-eye views of Mozambique's jungle, reefs and beautiful coastline, before gently touching down on Benguerra Island, in Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago. Benguerra is the second largest of five islands in a carefully protected marine park. 

A TROPICALLY WARM WELCOME

Our welcome to &Beyond Benguerra Island Lodge was otherworldly. We were greeted by the resort's general manager, who led us through the indigenous Casuarina pine forest, to the natural soundtrack of Africa. As we emerged from the jungle, all the resort's staff were lined up, singing and dancing for us, in front of a panoramic sea view. We had arrived in paradise.

We were introduced to Castigo (to become affectionately known as ‘Castigi’) who was to be our private butler for the week. With seemingly little effort, he lifted our bags onto his head and led us to our ocean view Cabana. This was rustic luxury at its very best. &Beyond focuses on luxury experiental travel, with a strong conservation ethos, and you get the impression that the very bones of Benguerra were made of this DNA. Our Cabana was elegantly simple and rustic from the outside but very luxurious, in a colonial-style, inside, with a four-poster bed, ‘his and hers’ sinks, our own plunge pool, and uninterrupted views of the ocean. In fact, we had our own stretch of beach and could relax in complete privacy and peace, with a spectacular view of the shimmering azure ocean.

There are 2 Cabanas, 10 Casinhas and 3-bedroom Casa Familias for families. all with private plunge pools, outdoor showers and wi-fi.

Do not expect manicured beaches here, even though they are raked every night. Its not contrived, and that is where the charm lies. A stay at Benguerra is about immersing yourself in nature: coconut water comes straight from a coconut picked from your very own tree; breakfast is spent sharing your menu with red squirrels and a cornucopia of jungle birdlife; and the fish you lunch on comes straight from the ocean. This is a sand-between-your-toes Robinson Crusoe experience (but in the most luxurious way possible!).

MAKING MEMORIES, WHILST GIVING BACK

&Beyond is as much about the people as it is about the unique location. There is a strong ethos of giving back to the community. Castigo told us about his family, who live on the mainland. He orders fish from a boat that visits the beach twice weekly, and sends it back to them so that they can eat well. We took a tour of the island, which was humbling, to say the least. The indigenous people of Benguerra island live in the most rudimentary rondavels, and in extreme poverty. Benguerra Island Lodge and the other 5-star hotel on the island very much work together to try and support this local community, and employ as many of the inhabitants as possible. You do feel that your stay will do a little good for the local community.

We settled into life on Benguerra very easily… Our days started with Castigo bringing us breakfast on our private beach, then we exercised with some paddle boarding until it was time for cocktails at the beach bar, made from a Dhoni fishing boat. Our first Mojito slipped down nicely at 11am (!) and soon it was time to sit down for a long lunch consisting of catch of the day, which we had watched being landed while drinking our first cocktail. When we felt more adventurous, we went out on the Catamaran snorkeling, or rode the resort’s horses bareback along the beach, or took a sunset cruise on our own Dhoni, with a cooler box full of gin and tonics. With a multitude of activities, including diving and snorkelling some of the most pristine reefs in the world, to deep sea catch-and-release fishing, to sailing, there's enough to keep even the most reluctant sunbather occupied. You will not get bored on Benguerra Island. 

Evenings began with sunset watching, and each seemed more mind-blowing than the last. Dinner is then served wherever you would like; in your Cabana or Casinha; on the beach; in the restaurant... You are the boss!

The piĆ©ce de resistance, however, was the Castaway picnic. We boarded the Catamaran on the beach and were whisked off to the north of the island. Awaiting us on a deserted stretch of beach, was an enormous cooler box and a table under an awning laid for two. Our favourite cocktails had been packed in little milk bottles, and a four-course spread of a meal laid out for us to enjoy. The Cat took off and left us to enjoy our desert island gourmet lunch in complete seclusion. The staff had remembered everything we liked - anything we had not liked so much, from our week with them and made sure they made us truly happy. It is touches like this that make Benguerra Island so special. It was heaven. 

IT'S HARD TO SAY GOODBYE

Our week on Benguerra Island flew by far too quickly and we were desperately sad to say goodbye. Especially to Castigi, who had become a friend.  He had ensured every whim was taken care of, but he also adopted the role of teacher, insisting we spoke Portuguese for our entire stay (and we do not speak Portuguese!). We genuinely felt sad to say goodbye to him.  We left as we arrived, by helicopter, and I will never forget watching our newfound friend jumping up and down waving us farewell, with a huge smile plastered across his face. We turned to each other beaming too, hearts full to bursting.

Benguerra Island is ideal for a honeymoon, but also for an escape from the stresses and strains of an urban lifestyle, while bringing you closer to nature and the island's local community. We returned home with a huge respect for the work of &Beyond, and vowing to return to re-visit this little slice of paradise in the southern Indian Ocean.

Clio Hare
Clio Hare


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer