Vivid pink bougainvillea’s overhang the charming Italian styled villa. Steep vines cling to the walls as they crawl upwards, following the sun. The view from my balcony is to forever as my gaze lingers on the inviting Bombay Sapphire waters of the Indian Ocean. The Bazaruto Archipelago islands scattered on the horizon. I sip on my champagne and remove my watch. I am at Casa Rex and here, time no longer matters.
My skin tingles as the ocean breeze flows between the plantation shutters – that view. That turquoise water. It is beckoning me. I must explore.
Climbing down the steeps stairs, the beach is at my feet. The water like a bath, warm and inviting. The tide retracting quickly. Small pools between sand ripples form, capturing unexpecting sea delights. Shells, invertebrates and small fish flit about. Local children squeal and chase each other, playing hide and seek around the hull of a rusty fishing boat. Tilted on its side in its final resting place, the water gurgles out of its eroding hull.
Walking to the water’s edge, fisherman return to shore in their flaking, rickety wooden boats. Sweat drips from their brow, nets dragging behind them. Calling to one another to assist with their catches, buckets are passed from person to person, larger fish are threaded on ropes or sticks and are carried to their next destination. Proud grins spread across their faces as they catch me watching them. I know I am going to like this place.
Situated approximately 750km north of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, and 500km south of Beira, the town of Vilanculos is accessible and convenient. It retains its coastal charm and vibrant culture with its unique blend of African, Portuguese and Arab influences.
Casa Rex, my home for the next five nights, is located just outside the centre of the colourful town of Vilanculos, nestled perfectly within the bay. A stunning villa styled property, hunkered within lush gardens, this alluring beachfront accommodation provided more than an idyllic setting.
Wooden carvings and local handiworks speckled throughout the property provided a sense of cultural respect and pride, the coconut and zesty flavours floating on the air from the award winning kitchen made my stomach growl in anticipation.
The sun begins to set. I stake claim on a wooden deck chair by the sparkling pool, tropical cocktail in hand. Drinking in this view, drinking in my cocktail, my breath is taken away. The tide is now turning and slowly rolling back in. A cool breeze filters through. I connect to the free WIFI and post a picture of my piece of paradise to share with those who questioned, ‘Why would you go to Mozambique?’
The sun begins to dip. My stomach tells me it’s hungry and it’s time to taste some of the local Mozambican flair. Heavily influenced by Portuguese flavours combined with some of the freshest seafood, my mouth waters in eagerness.
Coconut prawns, curries, fresh fish, tapas style dishes and peri-peri chicken are laid in front of me. The food is delectable. Paired with local wines, I know I won’t be going to bed hungry tonight!
The indulgent deserts will need to wait until tomorrow as I desperately try to find room to squeeze in one last mouthful.
Walking back to my room, the click of geckos against the gentle surge of the lapping tide fills the still night. Lamps glow in my room, welcoming me. An elegant mosquito net is draped over my plush bed. I feel like royalty and float off into dreamland, conjuring up images in my mind of what is to come over the following days…
Awoken by my alarm early, I wanted to capture the sunrise. And capture it I did. Golden splashes paint the sky, orange swirls nudge their way in and together they dance as the swaying silhouettes of the palm trees groove with the ever changing sky.
As the light filters through, that blue water appears before me again. Calling me. Demanding I explore its dazzling marine life.
An adventurer at heart, this tranquil property drew me in with its vast array of water and cultural based activities on offer. It was time to explore and discover the wonders of this blissful region.
A traditional dhow trip with the locals was how I began my day. The rickety wooden boat with its flaking bright paint, gliding with the breeze out to Margaruque Island.
Home to crystal clear beaches and white sand dunes, this island was infectiously beautiful. A thatched beach hut provided shade between drift snorkelling trips over the vivid coral reefs. This is barefoot luxury at its best.
Kite surfers zipped by in the distance and dive boats zoomed out beyond the heads in search for the elusive whale shark. I made a mental note to include these activities in my time here.
Horses clip clopped along a beach front on a nearby island as several dolphins danced not far off shore. Truly magical.
The tide began to turn, it was time to head back to Casa Rex, where the smiling staff would be waiting to hear about the days adventures whilst I sip on a refreshing cocktail on the terrace.
What would tomorrow bring? A relaxing spa treatment followed by beach bar hopping? Perhaps a market tour and visiting a local orphanage? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
But first, it was time to head back to my little piece of paradise that is Casa Rex, to unwind and soak in that view again.
Looking for more ‘Unique Accommodation’ to include in your travels? Download and search the Crooked Compass Travel App for inspiration.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.