What’s the best beach vacation you have every been on? Somewhere you couldn’t believe how turquoise the water was. Or maybe it was the feeling of sand between your toes. Perhaps you couldn’t get enough of the pina coladas. Kevin and I are lucky to have been on several tropical adventures; however, there is no question as to which makes it to the top of our list.
Located off the coast of Mozambique, surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, is Bazaruto Island. Unlike it’s popular counterparts, Seychelles and Mauritius, the masses have yet to discover this hidden gem. For now, the island remains a private hideaway for those lucky enough to find it.
With a slight obsession on finding the uncommon travel destination, it was the perfect place to end our honeymoon. Mozambique is not exactly an easy country to get to it however it is worth every loop hole you may need to jump through. So, if you are ready to take on a less than common travel destination here are the top three things you need to know.
1) How to get a visa from afar
For North Americans travelling to Mozambique, we require a visa from the nearest embassy. For us, this happened to be Washington DC (not exactly close by). So, with help from our friends at VisaHQ, a service that helps travellers acquire visas from afar, we were able to fill out our applications and submit by post. The scariest part about the process is having to include and ship our passports. We highly recommend ensuring that you have both tracking and insurance on your package. However, working with VisaHQ made the entire process simple and efficient. Our documents were sent, they confirmed receipt, visas were approved and our passports sent back to us in no time.
2) What to expect upon arrival
The nearest airport to Bazaruto is in the coastal town of Vilankulo. Upon arrival, palm trees and an ocean breeze greet you. Enjoy it, because getting through immigration and customs is a slow process. After disembarking, passengers are lead immediately to a small room inside the airport. Two podiums serve as the gateway between you and the baggage claim. Here, everyone attempts to wait patiently, while customs personnel process each individual. The line moves slowly as staff take finger prints, review passports and ensure visas are in order. Despite the long wait however once through, your topical adventure awaits.
The second portion of your island arrival involves transportation from the mainland. This is an experience we will never forget. Travelling by van we arrived at a nearby beach with no dock in sight. In the distance you could just make out several power boats. As a fairly self sufficient couple we were completely unfamiliar with the notion of not carrying our own bags. We learned quickly however that in high end accommodations in Africa you never do. At this point, staff began hoisting the luggage onto their heads and making their way towards the ocean. We watched in complete shock as they entered the water and proceeded to carry the bags to the boats one by one. With everything loaded, we then followed suit. Rolling up pant legs and filling baskets with shoes we made our way into the shockingly warm water.
A 45 minute boat ride later the island appears on the horizon and with it a group of singing locals. Dressed in traditional garments they welcome you with a song and dance of the Mozambican people. Refreshments are passed around and then guests are led to their own private beach front villas. Finally, as you look out to the Indian Ocean from the seclusion of your own veranda that you know the journey to get here was all worth it.
3) Why relaxing is important
This is a difficult one. The concept of relaxation is often lost on me. I struggle to sit still for too long and as a result have a tendency to fill our travel days with as many activities as possible. There is a long standing joke in our family that we could go to the remotest of destinations, where there is very little to do, and I would still find a way to fill each day to the brim. However, I am slowly learning the importance of taking time to do nothing. A skill that Kevin would appreciate I get better at. Bazaruto, was a place for this.
Our days at Anantara resort were filled with time at the pool and reading on the beach. In the morning we watched locals fishing and through out the day we waited for the tide to come in and lend a hand to boats stuck in the sand. One evening we took in the sunset from a traditional Dhow boat. In between we made friends with the staff. The days were long and it gave us the opportunity to enjoy each others quiet company. Enjoy not having to think or worry about anything and enjoy simply being in the moment.