by Matthew Sterne on June 6, 2012
4 min read

Island Dreamin’

We arrived at Coral Lodge 15.41 by dhow, setting the scene for our Mozambique island getaway. Conditions were perfect as we sailed into the lodge. The dhow has a motor as back up… just in case, but the surrounding green-blue waters of the Indian Ocean were so alluring I was happy to swim.

Coral Lodge 15.41 is a unique boutique beach retreat located south of Pemba on the mainland close to Ilha de Mocambique, a historical UNESCO World Heritage site. Guests fly in from Johannesburg to Nampula; then it is a 2 – 2.5 hour road transfer along fairly good condition tar roads to Ilha de Mocambique where you board a boat to Coral Lodge 15.41.

Swimming Pool at Coral Lodge

Get Active

The appeal of Coral Lodge 15.41 lies in the marine activities and the cultural experience, both of which you get in spade fulls! The entire area around Ilha de Mocambique is littered with reefs and sunken ships and they are still excavating loads of artefacts.

There is something for every level of experience when it comes to scuba diving and snorkelling and visibility is fairly good in places, although at some the experience can be quite hairy. The dive instructor will gauge each guest and tailor the dive package to them. Humpback whales migrate past during the months from July to December.

Indian Ocean Activities Kayak through the mangroves

A mangrove lagoon runs to the right of the lodge where newbies (like me) can potter around and snorkel in low tide. Loads of incredible fish to be seen in the lagoon and you could spend hours there. They will also take guests to some of the deserted islands around the coast where there are great coral reefs to snorkel or dive.

The lodge does big game fishing from land or these islands, and they are in the process of getting a big game fishing boat for guests who are interested. When high tide comes in guests can go out in the kayaks to explore the mangrove lagoon or just swim around in the ocean or lagoon. They have a great salt water swimming pool (with spectacular ocean views) if you’re concerned about currents, although they are not extremely strong.

Take a dip in the lodge swimming pool

Get Cultural

From a cultural aspect Alex, one of the Dutch owners, has an incredible passion for the history of the area and takes guests on personal guided tours through the local villages (Cabaceira Pequena, Cabaceira Grande and Chocas) and onto Ilha de Mocambique, which used to be the capital of Mozambique.

It is fascinating. There are amazing ruins, incredible old houses and a complete melting pot of cultures. The locals try to sell you old coins salvaged from the sea bed, beads and pieces of ancient pottery and tiles as jewellery pieces. Very few speak English, all mostly Portuguese or a mixture called Macua. Interestingly there are many guests that visit this region specifically to see Ilha and there are a few guesthouses and hotels on the island. But I would definitely suggest clients rather spend all their time at Coral and take a day trip to Ilha.

Architecture

Alex also takes guests out to see the oldest church in the Southern Hemisphere, the ruins of the Governers Summer Palace and also to Chocas to buy fish. Guests can go into the kitchen with her local chefs for cooking lessons as well as spend time making shell jewellery from the shells collected on the beach in front of the lodge. She has also trained local village ladies in specific massages which are incredible. They use local ingredients as well as pressed coconut oil and aloe for scrubs and massages in the rooms. There is really loads and loads to do.

Indian Ocean

Accommodation

The lodge itself is comfortable and not pretentious. It strikes me as quite European as the lines are very clean, the areas are not cluttered and the rooms are private with separate enclosed bathrooms. A great feature is a specially designed air-conditioning unit that is built into the bed itself. Perfect climate control without too much noise.

Coral Lodge

The food is good, with plenty seafood although other options are available. Do not expect too much red meat or chicken; this is simply not readily available in the area. Fresh fruit abounds and they are quite adventurous with local ingredients.

All staff are local and trained from scratch. They are attentive and eager to please, but note that there is a slight language barrier.

Food and Design

 A few points to note about Coral Lodge :

  • Wifi in the public areas
  • Child friendly – two family units which comprise of a main bedroom and a separate smaller room for kiddies
  • There is a television room that has full satellite as well as Playstation for kids
  • There’s a library for adults
  • Indoor and outdoor dining areas, beach dining and picnics are available
What a view!

A Final Word

I would recommend Coral Lodge 15.41 to couples and families with slightly older kids and if you plan to travel particularly in December/January as the weather may not be as inclement as further south. It’s the ideal marine and cultural experience with the addition of having the ocean right at your doorstep. Just wear booties to avoid the sea urchins and such like!

GO ON YOUR OWN ROBINSON CRUSOE ADVENTURE WITH RHINO AFRICA

Read more about Coral Lodge 15.41 on our website and contact one of our expert travel consultants to find out more and start planning your own adventure to this island lodge! Paradise awaits…