Mozambique’s buzzy Bazaruto archipelago is red-hot these days, with properties like Azura Benguerra Island and Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa luring honeymooners and sun-seekers to the country’s unsung southern coast. But the six islands, which make up a protected marine national park, have been crowned the year’s “It” beach destination with this month’s opening of luxe safari operator andBeyond’s latest lodge, andBeyond Benguerra Island (doubles from $585, per person, per night). The first images coming out of there are confirming what we’ve suspected for a while: if ever there were a time to make the long-haul flight to Mozambique, now is it.
The experience begins with a brief helicopter ride from Vilanculos Airport, with flecks of white standing out against an expansive canvas of turquoise unfurling far below; soon, one of those flecks looms larger and larger as you approach Benguerra Island. andBeyond took over the wilting Benguerra Island lodge, set on a prime swatch of the isle, and closed it down last fall for a nearly year-long rebuild. The result are 10 casinhas, two cabanas, and one three-bedroom casa, each done up in a chic Afro-portuguese ethos that’s distinct to Mozambique—thatched roofs, terra-cotta tiles, canopied beds, private pools, and inviting verandas. A beachy palette of copper and cream is enlivened with royal blue accents that mimic the startlingly electric shade of the waters beyond.
While the beaches are ideal for a loll, there are plenty of other activities to justify the daylong flight to Mozambique, from horseback riding to big-game fishing to exploring ruins on nearby islands. Less adventurous travelers can take a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow, collect crabs to prepare for lunch, or spend an afternoon checking out a flock of flamingoes at a freshwater lake. Keep an eye out for us by the beachside dhow-turned-bar.