Being our first time to Africa we knew we wanted to see as much as we could in the time that we had so we assessed what our priorities were – safari was a given and a beach where I could get some sun and the boyfriend could dive was a must. It was. A perfect balance of activity and relaxing. Since we went in late August and early September Cape Town was out of the question for us … far too cold. The Seychelles seemed a bit too over touristed. Mozambique was well, just right.
We wanted remote, exclusive and off the beaten path. We found ourselves booking just that at Azura Benguerra Island – a privately owned retreat that was a 15 minute helicopter ride from Maputo. And what a ride that was!! Check out my YouTube for the vlog from our trip!
How to get there?
Since we came from Kruger we flew into Maputo, the main international airport in Mozambique. A three hour flight from Kruger’s Nielspruit airport to Maputo and a quick visa stop later through the airport we were nearly there.
Once at Maputo it’s a tiny airport, I mean TINY – you get on a helicopter to be transferred to Azura– there is no other way onto the island unless of course you have your own private boat. Which if that’s the case please email me!
But truly once at the airport it wasn’t more than an hour and change before we were up over the Mozambique Channel overlooking the idyllic turquoise waters and white sandy beaches just minutes from Azura.
The nitty gritty on the visas and helicopter:
When you obtain your visas it is a no rules process so go to whichever of the two desks are open. Lines and rules are out of the window. Securing our visas in Mozambique was easy and took less than 5 minutes once at the desk. Allocate about 30 minutes to be safe as you do it the second you walk off the plane. After obtaining our visas we walked to the helicopter office, which is inside the airport, gave them the pieces of luggage that we couldn’t take with us. We had purchased some larger pieces of art and gifts for our family back in the states that were too oversized to take on the helicopter. They were more than fine at the helicopter office. We also left one hard suitcase as all you are allotted is a 30 lbs soft suitcase for their particular flights.
Important to note –
- If you leave luggage of any kind you leave these at your own risk and expense.
- Double check those weight limits!
- Azurateam will meet you at the helipad to scoop you up with a wonderfully warm welcome and take you directly to the property, which is a three second walk from the helipad!
Activities on the island:
We truthfully thought that Azura was the place that we would relax at every day but as two very active individuals there was also an unbelievable number of activities for us to do – which we LOVED.
Below is a snapshot at what we did but take a look HERE for their full list of things
Diving and snorkeling on 2 Mile Reef
The moment we arrived we were informed a strong storm was coming through that would likely result in no diving for the rest of our trip so we had to get it in immediately. We changed and hopped on a boat out to the breathtaking Two Mile Reef. The dive was beautiful, lots of bright creatures to be found and up above on the water were dozens of sea turtles bopping about. A definite must do if you dive (or snorkel!)
Hike Red Dune for spectacular views of the island
We had anticipated spending ample time diving and snorkeling as Azura boosts some of the best dive spots in Africa however due to in climate weather we were kept on the mainland. Which gave us an opportunity to explore much of the island we may not have seen had the weather been different.
We hopped in a safari type jeep and drove around the island seeing many of the local villages. Along the way we got to taste wild fruits from indigenous trees from there we made our way to what the locals call the “Wild Side” of the island where the beach comes with strong winds and waves coming in from the Mozambique Channel & Indian Ocean. We hiked up Red Dune, an easy climb, for beautiful views of Benguerra Island.
Kayaking The fact that I got in a two seater kayak after my experience in Puerto Rico is still amazing to me – we kayaked to the end of the beach and found a swing in the middle of the water. I highly recommend grabbing the kayaks and paddleboards for easy activities, we had a blast and were gone no more than an hour
While I had the absolute best time doing all of the fun things that we did, I admit this portion of the trip was my absolute favorite. As an business owner my downtime is limited so the value of downtime is incredibly important to me. Whether it was relaxing in our own little pool at the villa, hanging on the beach or going for a long walk I soaked up every lovely, heavenly minute of it!
Beach front villas:
Love that you actually cannot get a bad room at Azura. Every one of their 20 villas are beach front with private walking paths and pools. Pure heaven.
As I’ve been asked a few times, we stayed in one of the ten Infinity Beach bungalows – specifically #6 and were smitten with it.
Each room faces the beach, has a pool, a big deck (perfect for storing all of the sea shells we collected not to mention the ideal location for a breakfast in your room!), outdoor showers and the most unbelievably large, comfy beds. It was perfection.
Doing more for their community:
A number of the places that I have been fortunate to visit and stay at have community initiatives. You realize the importance of this not only from a financial standpoint but from an overall community and culture aspect.
The Azura Rainbow Fund is the first registered charity of its kind in Mozambique. It supports a variety of social and environmental projects large and small, from building schools, to environmental protection initiatives. The Azura team has a dedicated environmentalist and community officer and they work alongside the National Park and local communities wherever they can to protect and enhance the environments on which they depend.
One of the groups that benefit the most from the Rainbow Fund that we were able to experience was the Azura Benguerra school. The Rainbow Fund initiative built the first school which now has nearly 400 children compared to 40 when it first started, as well as teachers’ housing blocks.
How to book my exact trip (or any trip!)?
Contact me at ashley@tenthonhudson. I’ll work to create the perfect trip itinerary plus ensure that you get special offerings such as upgrades, spa credits, food and beverage credits and more. I design unique itineraries for clients to any of the destinations I’ve been to and work to set you up with a colleague at Embark who has visited those destinations I haven’t had a chance to visit yet to ensure you have an unbelievable trip to wherever you may be going!