&Beyond Benguerra Island
An exquisite piece of paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean, &Beyond Benguerra Island is a magical destination where time stands still and legends come to life.
Here authentic African character and charm blend with echoes of distant history in a lodge that cherishes the simplicity of tradition, while celebrating the Arabic influence of its past.
Quaint casitas overlook silver sands lapped by turquoise waters where rare dugong call to life ancient tales of mermaids and mariners.
- Diving and snorkelling some of the most pristine reefs in the world
- Thrilling fly fishing and deep sea fishing
- Exploring the island’s soaring sand dunes and freshwater lakes
Why visit &Beyond Benguerra Island?
Perfect Island Setting
An idyllic island getaway, Benguerra Island lies sheltered within a canopy of indigenous casuarina pine forest, which protects it from offshore winds while opening up to panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Looking out onto the calm waters of a secluded bay, the lodge boasts soft, shimmering beach sands, as well as a deep channel that cuts straight out to sea, allowing for swimming right off the beach even at low tide and permitting direct boat access. Magnificent marine marvels wait in the ocean waters, from mystical dugong to bejewelled tropical fish and mighty marlin and kingfish that delight an angler’s heart.
Inviting the ocean in
Beautifully authentic, ten casitas and two cabanas admit cooling sea breezes through dark wooden shutters that fold open to endless ocean views. Generous spaces topped with thatched roofs are decorated in rich earthy colours with vibrant accents that range from wooden floor inlays to billowing white mosquito nets suspended from colourfully beaded wires. Deep copper bathtubs beckon from the spacious bathroom, while outdoor showers offer an opportunity to enjoy your ablutions while listening to the nearby whisper of the waves. Vast wooden verandas flow from outdoor dining areas to colourful beach hammocks and cool plunge pools that mimic the glimmer of the sea. A few short steps down a sandy path, shaded sun loungers on the open beach invite you to while the hours away.
The bliss of simple things
Delicious meals of fresh, fragrant seafood are served on your private veranda, directly on the sandy beach or in the elegant main dining area, with its open sides and cool thatched roof. Colourfully ornamented, a traditional wooden dhow has found its final resting place far up on the sand, beautifully refurbished as a vibrant beach bar. Local sailing boats carry you out to sea on dhow cruises and the billowing dunes and soft sands invite you to explore the marvels of this extraordinary island. After days filled with discovery, weary muscles relax and recharge under the magical attentions of the masseuses in the lodge’s spa.
The second largest of the islands that make up the Bazaruto Archipelago, Benguerra is situated in the Bazaruto National Marine Park. Its warm Indian Ocean waters are host to an exotic array of colourful marine life and there are a number of pristine coral reefs within easy reach of the island. Guests will often spot a resident pod of common or humpback dolphin, just two of the five dolphin species found in these waters. Divers may encounter devil rays or sting rays gliding along the sea bottom, while leatherback, loggerhead and green turtles are all found here. White-tip, black-tip, grey reef or giant sleeping sharks are also frequently encountered along the reefs.
The deep waters of the Mozambique Channel lie off the eastern coast of Benguerra and are a haven for game fish. Known for their speed and magnificent leaps, kingfish are found in the area throughout the year, while king and queen mackerel are frequent visitors. The torpedo-shaped bonito and the formidable giant trevally also thrive here. In some months, the waters are also home to spectacular sailfish, with their magnificent dorsal fins, as well as exceptional numbers of black, blue and striped marlin. Fishing activities at &Beyond Benguerra Island are on a strict catch-and-release basis in order to preserve this thriving marine habitat.
A rare marine mammal related to the manatee, the dugong is undoubtedly the most endangered animal found in the waters off Benguerra. Hunted by humans for thousands of years, they have also become vulnerable due to habitat loss and many populations are close to extinction. Typically occurring in wide, shallow protected areas such as bays, the largest numbers of dugong in Africa are believe to live off the Bazaruto Archipelago. While the animal’s semi-nomadic nature makes it even more notoriously difficult to see, dugong have been spotted at Benguerra from time to time. Often considered the inspiration for tales of mermaids spun by ancient marines, the mysterious dugong appear in various legends around the world.
A tiny, deserted patch of land near Benguerra, Pansy Island is the breeding ground for a beautiful and delicate species of sea urchin locally known as a pansy shell but also often referred to as a sand dollar. This beautifully patterned shell also has a link to the legend of mermaids, sometimes said to represent coins lost by these fabled inhabitants of the deep. Benguerra Island itself also boasts a variety of wildlife, from small bird species found in the indigenous forests to the flamboyant flamingos of its freshwater lakes, which are also inhabited by crocodile.
True African hospitality lies at the core of &Beyond’s lodges and camps throughout the continent. With their warm and welcoming nature and the ability to draw guests into their heart, the people of African inspire, educate and enchant our guests every day.
A shared passion for creating extraordinary guest experiences unites all our staff across Africa and South Asia. For the staff members at &Beyond Benguerra Island there is no better way to spend the day than in making our guests’ safari dreams come true. Their pleasure in sharing your special moments is something that cannot be taught. They are the magic ingredient at &Beyond Benguerra and their commitment to creating moments that take our guests’ breath away is genuine.
The waters surrounding &Beyond Benguerra Island are filled with pristine coral reefs, which are rich in marine life, with a number of fish species to be seen. Our snorkelling guides can point out the best spots for exploration near the shore, while resident dive instructors are on hand to take guests to a number of magnificent dive sites easily reached from the island.
The very best training
Training is a way of life at &Beyond – we train chefs, butlers, housekeepers, security and workshop staff with the same dedication that we do our field staff. While our staff is trained to provide the best possible service, their special way of creating extraordinary guest experiences comes straight from the heart. At &Beyond Benguerra Island, choice dishes will be cooked for your pleasure by highly skilled chefs, a perfectly trained butler will attend to your every wish and expert dive instructors will be standing by to the share the marvel of the sea with you.
At &Beyond we seek to maintain a low impact on the land while deriving high yield from our conservation initiatives by creating very small luxury lodges that support enormous tracts of biodiverse land, which remains untouched. At every lodge we seek out small (and sometimes not so small) but meaningful ways of putting our values into action each day. Each &Beyond lodge supports the conservation of wildlife and contributes to its neighbouring communities in one way or another. In addition, we seek to limit our impact in terms of fossil fuels, the use of renewable energy, water and waste management and recycling.
Khani Kwedho community project
&Beyond Benguerra Island is part of the Khani Kwedho project, which is a partnership between the regulatory authority of the Bazaruto National Park, the private sector operators on Benguerra Island and the island’s resident community. Apart from providing a forum where the needs of tourism development and traditional practices are balanced, Khani Kwedho also raises funds for the development of the local community. So far, the Khani Kwedho trust has built a community hall and small school and the construction of a clinic is being planned.
&Beyond Benguerra Island has made land, water and materials available for the local community to start a vegetable garden, as well as teaching them the skills required to raise produce successfully. Apart from producing food for the community’s use, the garden also grows vegetables that the community sells to the lodge, thus providing them with a significant source of income. The first garden project has been so successful that another one has already been begun.
Construction of school buildings
A joint project between &Beyond Benguerra Island, Marlin Lodge and the Rotary Club of Canada resulted in the construction of a new classroom and bathrooms at the island school. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of all three partners, the primary school can now comfortably cater for the approximately 300 children who attend classes.
Food for work project
Benguerra is a small island, with limited opportunities for formal employment. In order to support community members who have little means of income &Beyond Benguerra Island has set up a barter system. Local villagers are paid for carrying out maintenance work on the road between the lodge and the airstrip with basic food supplies such as cooking oil, rice and sugar.
A day at Benguerra Island
Days at &Beyond Benguerra Island can be as active or as leisurely as you want them to be. This secluded island, with its white beaches and balmy Indian Ocean waters, invites you to lose all track of time. Activities and meals can be tailor-made to your wishes and there are many ways to spend each ideal, sun-washed day. The following is just one suggestion for a perfect day at Benguerra.
- Breakfast – If you’re not joining the crew of our state-of-the-art catamaran on a fishing or diving expedition in search of the denizens of the deep, you can sleep in as late as you want, lulled by the sound of the waves washing the ocean’s shore. Take a gentle stroll to the welcoming dining area, where you can feast on a selection of fruits and cheeses, as well as toast, jam and hot dishes cooked to order.
- Morning – Set off on an expedition to explore the fascinating interior of Benguerra Island, venturing deep into the forest and scouring the shores of the freshwater lakes in search of crocodile. There’s time to stop at a local village to get a glimpse of traditional life.
- Lunch – Enjoy a delicious castaway picnic, set up in the middle of the soaring sand dunes, where it’s easy to believe that you’re the only people on this magical island getaway. Return to the shade of your casita for a lazy afternoon siesta on the hammock of your private veranda.
- Afternoon – Paddle gently offshore in a sea kayak, keeping a sharp eye out the rare and mysterious dugong. If you’re lucky, you may be joined by a friendly pod of dolphin. If you’re feeling energetic, end the afternoon with a sprightly canter along the beach with the island’s horseriding instructor. If you’re not, opt to go for a sunset dhow cruise and enjoy the shimmering sight of the sun slipping beneath the ocean waves.
- Dinner – There’s just enough time to relax before a succulent seafood dinner, served right on the beach, with your toes in the sand. Indulge in a final nightcap at the beach bar before retiring to your comfortable bed, where the gentle sounds of the surf will quickly lull you to sleep.
“Thank you for the most amazing stay. You have the most stunning lodge.”
A perfect retreat
“A perfect retreat, beautiful beaches, warm water, harmonious scenery, relaxing atmosphere, wonderful accommodation, really excellent cooking, trips and adventures – but, above all, welcoming, friendly staff and people.”
“What a wonderful end to our honeymoon. Thanks to all the staff for taking such good care of us. We hate to leave and hope to visit this beautiful island again one day.”
“Everything was perfect. Our family had the loveliest time. Thank you for being so very gracious to us.”