International Travel

Maldives

By Johan Boshoff
Photos By Klaus Dingeldein

ImageInfinite shades of sparkling blue waters, white powdery beaches, tall palms and some of the most incredible underwater wildlife on our planet. Rising from the deep blue waters in the middle of the wide expanse that is the Indian Ocean, are more than a thousand islands and atolls that are packed with reefs. These form the paradise known as the Maldives.

The beauty of these tiny atolls is breathtaking and surpassed only by the astonishing spectacle of the colourful and diverse marine life on display. There are so many different species that you’ll need to bring along a marine biologist just to identify them all!

Maldives, Vilamendhoo Lodge

By Fiona McIntosh
Pics Fiona McIntosh and Jurgen Hertoghe

ImageIt’s hard to go wrong whatever resort you choose in Maldives. The country is showered with accolades at every turn, yet although Maldives is exclusive, it is remarkably affordable, and, thanks to a new direct flight from Johannesburg to Malé, it is easy to get to. And unlike Mauritius, Zanzibar and the other popular Indian Ocean islands, Maldives has avoided the ills of mass tourism. Development has been well-planned and eco-sensitive with a policy of ‘one island, one resort’ ensuring that guests enjoy a true ‘private island’ adventure. All the tourist resorts have been built on previously uninhabited islands so there are no villages or existing structures. Only 20% of the land area of an island can be built on and strict planning laws ensure that no building can be above the height of a palm tree. Your luxurious villa thus nestles in the palms fronting the beach or stands on stilts out in the lagoon. All around is white sand and you can see the corals and colourful tropical fish from the jetty or the beach. The food, an exotic mix of Asian and European influences, is divine and the mild tropical climate befits desert island life. Maldives is sheer escapism.

Mauritius

By Johan Boshoff
Photo’s by Andrew Woodburn
Map illustration by Izelle Hickey

Mauritius is a place that everyone has heard of; an island in the Indian Ocean where most people only dream about visiting. It is one of the main tourist destinations in the world while still being affordable to many.

ImageMauritius comes from volcanic origins and is sheltered by barriers of coral reef all around. The island is located approximately 2000 kilometres off the south eastern coast of Africa and to the east of Madagascar. It forms part of a chain of islands that include Reunion and the Seychelles. The southern side of the island is where you will found the Savanne Mountains, while the topography flattens out further to the north. The island of Mauritius is 45 kilometres in width and 65 kilometres in length and is mostly covered by sugarcane plantations.

Textiles, sugarcane and tourism are the country’s three main sources of income.

Mauritius, Sugar Beach Resort

By Fiona McIntosh

ImageMauritius is always a safe, affordable option if you’re in need of an escape. A four-hour flight, almost guaranteed sun, superb resorts, glorious beaches lapped by turqoise blue water – it’s almost too good to be true. In February I checked out Sugar Beach Resort - a large resort built in the style of a traditional sugar plantation on a long white sandy beach just south of Flic en Flac. Sugar Beach Resort prides itself on the juxtaposition of plantation-style formality and easy-going charm. Fans whirl from the high ceilings and the buildings, based on the old colonial style with a central manor house and surrounding villas linked by symmetrical palm avenues, are large and elegant. Velvet green lawns provide the space for keep-fit classes, impromptu ball games and kids play areas and there is a large, tranquil lake behind the Fun Kids Club.

Mozambique, Azura at Benguerra

By Fiona McIntosh
Photos by Shaen Adey, Azura Retreats

ImageThe opening of Azura at Gabriel’s, Benguerra, late last year raised the bar when it comes to the standard of cuisine, service and accommodation on offer, not only in the Bazaruto Archipelago, but along the whole southern African coast. Mozambique’s first luxury eco-boutique hotel (the first Mozambican establishment to gain membership to the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World), is an unbelievably chic place with a real African feel. Azura boasts 15 luxury villas, each with it’s own infinity rim-flow pool and martini seat, private garden and spacious living area, as well as all the other mod cons you would expect from a five-star resort. The attention to detail is amazing. Johannesburg-based interior designers, GDF Design Lab, have created a tranquil, elegant space in which to chill out and refresh your soul. The gorgeous setting certain helps. From your villa you look out over your private pool and garden to white sand and the crystal clear, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. At night the sea turns a magnificent orange as the red globe slides beyond the horizon.

Mozambique, Guinjata Bay

By Fiona McIntosh

When I think of Guinjata Bay I think of manta rays, whale sharks, long beach walks and platefuls of prawns. And, as an avid pelagic fan, a stay at Guinjata Bay Resort comes as close to heaven as I can imagine. Of course I’m not alone in those sentiments; the affordable resort, perched high on the dunes overlooking the crashing waves has long been a favourite haunt of fishermen and divers who flock to the area to enjoy the incredible marine life of the Inhambane coast. 

Mozambique, Inhaca Island

By Amilda Boshoff
Photo’s by Johan Boshoff
Map illustration by Izelle Hickey

An Indian Ocean jewel right on our doorstep.

ImageYou know those island paradises you see in the travel brochures? The ones that look like they are thousands of kilometres away, have a name you need a degree simply to pronounce and will cost you an arm and a leg to visit? Well guess again! We found one that’s a stones throw away from Gauteng and offers magnificent diving that won’t require you winning to Lotto jackpot to experience.

Mozambique, Maputo, Pestana Rovuma Hotel

By Amilda Boshoff

ImageEver heard about the Pestana Rovuma Hotel in Maputo? I recently had the chance to experience their top quality service and friendliness firsthand. Situated about 10km from the Mavalane International Airport and located in the heart of Maputo right next to the old white cathedral, Pestana Rovuma is a modern and unique city hotel that combines comfort with a relaxed African atmosphere.

Mozambique, Nacala Bay

By Fiona McIntosh

BAY DIVING – Nacala Bay, Mozambique

If your idea of the perfect dive holiday is a tropical escape off the beaten track, check out Bay Diving. This small, owner-run lodge is perched on the cliffs 20 m above a sandy beach in sheltered Nacala Bay, up in the north of Mozambique. Two hundred kilometres from Nampula, the nearest airport, Nacala Bay has not made it on to most tourists’ itineraries – yet.

ImageIndependent travellers, however, return year after year to chill out on the beaches, go diving and snorkelling, fishing or dhow sailing. A number of regulars make quarterly or even monthly pilgrimages to this little-known diving mecca. Divers are not alone in their love for the place. The restaurant is always filled with the foreign tongues of travellers who have found then holed up in this magical spot. Not for nothing is it also known as “Fim do Mundo”, which means “the end of the world”.

Mozambique, Pemba

By Amilda Boshoff
Photo’s by Johan Boshoff & Andrew Woodburn
Map illustration by Izelle Hickey

City of fun in the sun

ImageDirect flights from Johannesburg to Pemba, capital of the most northern Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique, have recently been introduced and are opening the beautiful and unspoilt area of Pemba to tourists. Included is a little-known group of 32 islands that make up the Quirimbas Archipelago.

Looking down from the rolling hills, the town is a mixture of modern buildings and wooden huts nestled between the baobab trees. The beautiful blue bay is breathe-taking and not easily forgotten. The city lies on the southernfishore of Pemba Bay, the third largest bay in the world. The history of the Cabo Delgado province’s people is woven through many centuries of African, Middle Eastern and Portuguese sailing and trading. The town was founded by the Niassa Company in 1904 and named Porto Amelia, after a queen of Portugal. It was renamed Pemba at the end of Portuguese rule in 1975.