Crystal waters sparkle below you in of various shades of turquoise. This view from above is your first introduction to the paradise that is Benguerra Island. The destination is a five-star hotel, and the journey to get there is a helicopter waiting to whisk you away from Vilankulo airport in Mozambique.
Welcome to Azura
A brisk check-in and warm welcome awaits guests who are shown around the property. It sits right on the waters edge, with picturesque views of the Indian ocean. It is then that you are introduced to your host, who will be there to accompany you and provide any assistance you may need during your stay. The excitement builds are you are shown the lounge, bar and restaurant areas.
The hotel is designed to showcase the beauty of the island, and that is evident throughout. Being at Azura, you’re sure to be swept up in the romance of it all, met with the feeling of truly having made it. It’s no wonder why it’s a favourite for proposals and honeymoons.
With a refreshing drink in hand, guests are gifted with an origami reed of a bird as part of the welcome.
It is then time to be introduced to your very own villa. A big wooden door opens up to your suite and you’ll see a welcoming note written in reeds on the massive bed in the middle of the room. It faces the lounging area and the open windows that lead to your patio. Here, you can spend your days lounging in privacy under the Mozambican sunshine as you dip in and out of your waterfall splash pool.
Where the pool ends, the beach sand begins. A short stroll ahead and you’ll find a little hut housing a day bed, right on the beach. Watch the calm ocean waters and the boats that are traveling, or simply get straight into the water and enjoy the private beach that Azura provides. You’re guaranteed to spend a lot of your time here, though when its time to rinse off, your villa has you sorted.
The bathrooms are expansive, with his and her sinks and either a walk-in and sit down if you’d like shower, or a bath tub. For those who prefer the outside, step into your private outside shower as butterflies fly past you, or the stars twinkle in the skies above at night. Daily cleaning takes place, so one needn’t have to worry about a thing while being on vacation.
The hotel is an all inclusive experience, meaning your dietary needs are catered to. Guests are presented with various breakfast options from an a la carte menu, allowing you to indulge in cold and hot breakfasts. There are also daily specials for smoothies, juices and specially made meals. Lunches are light and followed by a dessert. They can be enjoyed at the bar, restaurant or from your villa. There are two options presented and this changes daily, so there is always something surprising in each day on the island.
Dinners are quite the affair at Azura. Each night begins with a seat at the bar where you can opt for a drink of your choice, be it something from the wine list, a soft drink or a speciality cocktail. Tables are set up on the beach, with lanterns on the sand. Guests are presented with the daily dinner menu consisting of three courses. With the menu revolving daily, guests are treated to the freshest possible quality ingredients. Starters are usually a delicious soup, followed by a main that naturally often features seafood and then a dessert to complete the meal.
The final night at Azura is always a special one. Your host will set up a table on the beachfront of your villa. It is lit with lamps and surrounded by palm tree leaves and is where you’ll be enjoying your final dinner on the island. The splendour and detail of this special send-off really tops off your visit to the island.
Azura offers guests two complimentary activities. This includes a tour of the island, where you are shown the work of the Rainbow Fund and the way of life for the locals from the island. The other activity is a boat ride on a traditional East African dhow. You will be taken on a sunset cruise along the waters and your host will pack in a drink of your choice to take with, as sundowners are presented daily.
There are many other activities for guests, covering a wide range of adventures. There are several diving spots around the island, and a guide who is equipped to take newbies and professionals to the depths of the ocean. If you prefer, there is snorkelling along the reefs where you can see brilliant coral and marine life. Those who prefer land-based activities can enjoy horse riding.
Peri Peri Beach Club
A trip to Azura is not complete without a visit to the newly launched Peri Peri Beach Club. Walk with your toes in the sand to the bar in the Centre and order a refreshing cocktail while you ponder where you’d like to sit. You are spoilt for choice between bean bags, a hammock, couches, daybeds and raised private sections with daybeds. The space has a luxurious nautical feel, with panoramic views of the beach.
Speaking of the beach, you’re once again a simple stroll away, through a beautifully scenic, naturally clad tunnel. From here, one can walk towards the ocean and lay in the calm waters that could not be clearer. The beaches are so secluded and private that you’ll feel as though you have it all to yourself. When hunger strikes, there is a restaurant at the beach club serving daily specials. Share a pizza, prepared fresh from the pizza oven.
This is the place you want to be for the best that the beach has to offer. Music brings life to the beach club with a lively atmosphere. Switch between the ocean waters and the pool water, which features sun loungers inside shallow water for ultimate relaxation. Peri Peri Beach Club is surrounded by the greenery of trees which feature in the layout of the design, so one truly feels connected to blissful nature.
Azura is an exquisite trip that needs to be experienced first hand to truly feel the magic of the island. The warm hospitality suits the plush hotel offerings and the scenic surroundings perfectly. For a trip that is sure to remain close to your heart, where your every need is catered to, set off to the astonishing Azura.
One needn’t look further for paradise, for what’s on offer at Azura is simply that. It is an oasis that is as picturesque as could be, accompanied by the finest hospitality, to make your vacation so much more than a trip; it is a dreamland fantasy turned penultimate reality that will leave you with lasting memories. The only question you’ll have to answer is simply: when can you come back?
For more information, visit www.azura-retreats.co.za.