To describe this as a beach lodge would be to miss the point disastrously. Vamizi is an expansive, tropical island experience, hosted superbly, but with a light touch. Thirteen guest villas, as big as small houses, are spread at wide intervals along a beach on the island’s north side – and it’s some beach. Broad, with powdery white sand shelving off gently to give safe swimming in aquamarine water. Their hub is the elegant, elevated, open-deck bar, drawing room and restaurant areas, with more than a whiff of glamour and perhaps a hint of White Mischief.
It’s wildly improbable for an operation of this quality and complexity to be on an island off Mozambique with no fresh water, mains electricity or phone lines - but there is. Water, not to mention excellent food, is shipped or flown in on a (bumpy) airstrip. Hidden in the woods behind the villas are up to 180 staff.
The big feature here is the range of activities available within the price, and it’s these that take you around the island and offshore. These include: snorkelling trips, sailing dinghies, massage and reflexology, nature walks; expeditions in a small dhow, boat trips to watch whales and there’s a dive centre, which whisks you to more than six world-class dive sites.
As well as all this, enthusiastic and committed guest manager Rob, partner of Meg, will organize you ‘picnic’ lunches in up to three heart-stopping locations as a standard activity. You arrive by jeep (slow, bumpy tracks) to find it all ready – tables, chairs, cutlery, white table-cloths. Two courses – lobster often on the menu – and a sun bed. Magical, bare foot luxury, indeed.
Vamizi’s stunning beauty is all about the beaches and coral reef shallows that surround it – among the healthiest in the world, with prolific marine life. It would be a waste to visit if you are not the sort to respond to the kind of pristine marine environment that the Vamizi operators are helping to protect. Inland the island is flat, with low bush, not especially good for walking.