by Matthew Sterne on September 7, 2012
3 min read

Heaven Awaits

The thing I have come to love most about Africa is its continuous ability to surprise and delight. Anybody who knows me, knows that I love to travel, and if it’s an opportunity to explore another of Africa’s hidden gems, I don’t need much convincing. August is my birthday month. And the month I started Rhino Africa some eight years ago. It’s also one of the best months to visit magical Mozambique, and the azure waters that surround Azura Quilalea – a little piece of paradise in the Quirimbas Archipelago. The perfect spot to celebrate.

Having travelled to over 40 destinations across South and East Africa, there is hardly an island I haven’t had the privilege of exploring, so while some would call me a “snob” when listing my island vacation criteria, I prefer to consider myself an Island Connoisseur – perhaps that way I don’t feel so guilty about having such high, exacting standards.

Azura Quilalea

So what makes Azura Quilalea so perfect?

Well, besides the 5 star luxury we have come to expect from Luxury Lodges in Africa, something I’ll come back to in a minute, Azura Quilalea simply isn’t your average Indian Ocean Island. Azura Quilalea is one of only a handful of volcanic islands or “deep atolls” to offer both white sandy beaches, together with mind-blowing snorkeling and diving directly off the main beach – and I mean directly off the beach!  Part of a marine reserve, Azura Quilalea is simply spectacular – I have dived around the globe, and few places can complete with the well-preserved coral, diversity of species and quantity you will find around Azura Quilalea.

Scuba Time!

I travelled with my friend Dawid, his Mom and Aunt. Our only snorkeling restrictions were daylight hours, and when those ran out, we simply resorted to night time snorkelling, an experience I will never forget as it was my first opportunity to see a turtle at night.

With the snorkeling and diving boxes firmly ticked, thanks largely to H, Azura Quilalea’s scuba instructor, whom I have had the privilege of diving with in the past, it was time turn our attention to the accommodation and food. The rooms at Azura Quilalea are spectacular – simple, sophisticated with everything you would expect for your exclusive island getaway. There is no faulting the the accommodation, but what truly makes Azura Quilalea special is both its people and amazing food.

David Ryan

Lodge manager Kelly, is truly amazing and made sure every aspect was taken care of; for her nothing is too much trouble. From our picnic on Turtle Beach, to dinner on the beach, Azura Quilalea is a sensory overload that had us never wanting to leave.

Unlike many places I visit, what truly makes Azura Quilalea is that it is an experience. With so many places on my bucket list there are so few places I look forward to returning to, but Azura Quilalea is certainly one of them, and is without any doubt an African gem and the perfect combination with your luxury African Safari.

Azura Quilalea has well preserved corals and a diversity of species

Eco-Friendly Azura

Azura at Quilalea is in the southern part of the Quirimbas Archipelago, which forms a fully protected marine sanctuary. Conscious of this pristine natural environment and the need to preserve it, Azura at Quilalea has embarked on a unique energy saving project, whereby solar power, wind generation, rainwater harvesting and eco-friendly rechargeable crystal batteries are used with normal generators and desalination to provide the island’s power and water. The aim is for all basic functions to run without the need to switch on generators for lengthy periods, and to switch generators off completely at night to ensure maximum tranquility for guests.


If you’re interested in experiencing this adventure for yourself, contact one of out travel experts and we can chat more about planning your tailor-made itinerary! NB: You can combine a trip to the Quirimbas with a safari in the Kruger Park or East Africa. For more information about the Quirimbas Archipelago, read our blog: Discovering the Quirimbas.