One of the golden rules of holiday travel is that your travel time should never exceed more than 10% of your total time away. That’s why the two hour flight from Johannesburg to Vilanculos followed by a 15 minute ‘hop’ over the Indian Ocean was the perfect start to our short and oh-so-very sweet island getaway.
The idea of a 4-seater light aircraft made my palms sweat. That was before I had actually even caught sight of it. “Nothing quite like flying over a huge body of water in what looks like Mr Bean’s Mini with wings,” I thought aloud. But nerves were fast forgotten when the breathtaking views stole all the attention. And then out of nowhere the white shores and massive sand dunes of Bazaruto Island invite us in to a safe landing on Indigo Bay’s private airstrip, where friendly staff offer fresh face towels and welcome us to paradise.
Many devoted travellers rave about Mauritius, Thailand, Bali and the Maldives but tucked 30 kilometres off the coast of our neighbouring Mozambique, is a little known paradise that beats them all...
Pictures of love-struck honeymooners displayed on travel websites and promotional brochures often result in disappointment, but my first impression of Indigo Bay was that their marketing material had not done the resort justice. When you finally see the real deal it is beauty beyond expectation! Not a breath of wind for miles and what feels like your own private beach any time of the day.
Our private beach chalet was camouflaged by its soft-fringed thatch roof and wooden veranda and just a stone’s throw from the beach. Inside, understated luxury comes in the form of a luscious king sized bed, a decadent en-suite bathroom complete with both in and outdoor showers, a bathtub big enough for two complete with white wooden shutters should you wish to invite the outside beauty in, a large living area and dressing room, mini-bar, satellite TV, an electronic safe, and our very own hammock. The soft white beach sand is raked every morning and every evening the beach pagoda and two sun loungers await your arrival for the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever been lucky enough to witness.
The resort’s two separate rim flow pools are immaculately kept and shaded by palm trees should you need a break from the rays. The wet bar is an oasis where a dedicated barman serves up all-day cocktails (a signature mix dedicated to each day of the week). And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get better than this, the ultra-luxurious Sanctuary Spa located on the highest point of the resort lures you in with a fine choice of pampering options. It’s very important that you follow up your massage, pedicure or facial with a bottle of champagne in the Jacuzzi, where you can really lap up the views.
One of the Island's features is its spectacular sand dunes. What a thrill to capture both the sun set and the moon rise
from the top of the dunes before speeding down the golden banks on your board. Beneath the dunes lie fresh water lakes which thrive with birdlife and Nile crocs – you better believe it!
den excellent for diving but can be just as appreciated without having to put a tank on your back. The warm waters
are home to an abundance of tropical reef fish, game fish, turtles and the dugong (a rare and endangered sea mammal). Indigo Bay ensures no guest misses out by offering daily complimentary snorkling trips to Neptune’s Nursery.
Exploring the Archepelego by boat is also a good idea. The private charter we took around the bay was a highlight. We were overwhelmed when we found ourselves just about tripping over rare pansy shells washed up onto the white shores of a mostly submerged, barely-there piece of land, aptly named Pansy Island. Our wonderful guide and skipper assured us that it was okay to take a handful of the rare shells back with us but we refused for fear of extracting the very last pansy shells this world has to offer. Next we sailed onto the nearby deserted Santa Carolina or Paradise Island. As we anchored the boat, we could see a Bedouin tent, braai and picnic area already set up on the beach just for us by the Indigo Bay staff. It was difficult to believe that about one hundred years ago Santa Carolina was Mozambique’s Alcatraz – a penal colony. More romantically, the island was also the centre of a love affair between the Portuguese trader Lourenco Marques and a beautiful Moor named Mariame. More recently, in the 40s and 50s, it was a hot spot for honeymooners. We took a walk through the derelict hotel that still stands – a sad hollow shell of a once very grand hotel. It was crazy to imagine the beautiful mosaic bar counters, fine dining and smoking lounges, as we stepped over broken tiles and walked past graffiti-covered walls where rats now dwell. Our hunger quickly drove us from the eerie past to the magical present where a seafood braai awaited us on the beach. As we sat licking our tasty prawn covered fingertips, we felt like the only two people on the island and the luckiest pair of lovers in the world.
The entire Archipelago (of which Bazaruto Island is the largest) radiates with love. So apart from attracting the obvious honeymooners, this place is perfect whether you are in love, need to rekindle your love, remind yourself that you are loved or simply to celebrate love. I have no doubt that Kings and Queens would be impressed and foodies the world over, even more so! One could literally write a book on the quality, variety and absolute joy of the food on offer at Indigo Bay. Every morning a basket of freshly baked rolls, pastries, croissants and muffins is the opening act to your day. Every meal is a roll out of inspired entrées, starters, mains and desserts. And when each plate is a work of art and each mouthful a sheer delight, it’s difficult to highlight just one. Meal times were always made extra special by friendly and attentive staff – at Indigo Bay your glass is literally always half full!
It’s both a blessing and a curse to have experienced the idyllic island resort of Indigo Bay, as you will most likely never encounter anything quite like it...ever again! They say nothing in life is ever perfect and this I believe to be true. But in my experience Indigo Bay certainly comes the closest.
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