When seasoned travellers tell you Mozambique is hot, listen. Don’t wear your skinniest skinny jeans for a flight and boat trip to a tropical island, thinking you’ll be fabulous all the way.
You won’t be.
Unlike Queen B, Bonang Matheba and her new bae AKA, who recently also visited Anantara Bazaruto, you’ll suffer from the humidity and end up peeling off your skinnies in a 5-star resort lobby, while being consoled by the other, real travellers and concerned-looking hotel staff.
That was me, a couple of months ago, going on an all-ladies outing to the island of Bazaruto, about 40km off the east coast of Vilankulo, just below the centrefold of Mozambique.
The flight from Joburg to Vilankulo is a short hop to tropical bliss. And if it’s tropical heat, the bluest of Indian Ocean and naked sun bathing you’re after, the island of Bazaruto is ‘paradise’ in every sense of the word.
Queen B can vouch for this…
A speed boat takes you over the water to the island from Vilankulo.
For us, going over the uncharacteristically choppy sea was lots of fun, except, speed boats and skinny jeans don’t go well together.
As we stepped off at Anantara Bazaruto, my skinny-clad legs were two pillars of salt. I couldn’t even bend down in them to wash the sand off my feet to go into the reception area; one of the welcome singers from the hotel had to help me.
I’ve had better starts to breakaways before.
We arrived on International Champagne Day, luckily, armed with approximately 2l of bubbles each, as if we were afraid Anantara Bazaruto – one of only two resorts on the entire island – wouldn’t have enough…
On the contrary, they had everything. Walking into my air-conditioned room, finally rid of those vile skinnies, I downed a local beer from the fridge and took a plunge in the tub overlooking the ocean and my own, private little beach.
The tide was turning.
For the remainder of the weekend, in intervals of no more than two hours on dry land, I migrated between the ocean, the tub, the outdoor shower and the infinity pool (which, by the way, is built around a bar…).
From a buffet of sunset activities, we chose to do a dhow cruise to settle into our surroundings on the first day.
We shared the wooden vessel with some French and American tourists. The French gave us a snotty look as we loaded our barrels of Method Cap Classic on board, and the Americans were too occupied with taking photos of the dhow crew to even notice our presence.
Understandably, though. The latter were two sinew-like men, swinging on ropes over the calm ocean while they steered the lateen-rigged vessel into the setting sun…
We popped the first cork and with that, sent flying a platter of snacks into water-lined hull of the boat. For the first time, the Americans noticed us, and it didn’t look as if they liked us…
But that changed. Soon. Dinner was served on the lantern-lit beach and deck of the resort, and the American, French and South Africans shared in a feast of creole curries, fragrant, tropical salads and African lobsters the size of our forearms.
If you don’t want to dine with the rest of the guests, you can always opt for what I’d like to call the ‘Queen B and AKA option’.
The resort offers romantic ‘Dinners by Design’, where they lay a table on a private stretch of sand for guests. You meet with the chef beforehand to discuss the menu, and then sit back while you’re waited on hand and foot during the 6-course meal fit for a Queen.
For a desolate island, which is a 40-minute boat ride from a supermarket-less Vilankulo, these guys do well to laden tables with the freshest meals imaginable.
They’re also quite the experts on privacy, and offer very private beach experiences.
For these, more sinew-like men pitch a Bedouin tent, set up a gourmet picnic and disappear into thin air, leaving you in the company of only the people you want to be with.
I don’t know what Queen B and AKA did, but we just sun bathed the whole day. And splashed in the crystal-clear saltwater. Naked.
If you want to have an adventure on the island, the Anantara staff will take you sand-boarding, horse-riding, scuba diving, or whatever else you can think of doing on an island.
If you want to sleep by the poolside for your entire stay, or have a private beach experience every day, there are enough cocktails to keep you entertained for days on end.
If you’re going on an all-girls expedition, like we did, it’s the perfect breakaway. And if you’re planning on making it official with the Queen of your dreams, this is the place of dreams too, it seems.
The only thing I won’t recommend, are skinny jeans.
How to get there:
Airlink – the Regional Feeder Airline, offers a wide network of regional and domestic flights within southern Africa and operates as a franchisee to SAA.
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Route Specific Information: Direct scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Vilankulos as well as from Nelspruit to Vilanculos, offering a same day bush and beach experience.
Connectivity: Through their alliance with SAA travellers connect conveniently with SAA, their Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world.