Lily is one of our very well travelled Sales Consultants here at Real Africa and over the summer she had the opportunity to travel right across Southern Africa. We send out Sales Consultants off on regular trips to visit the accommodation we use, develop our relationships with local partners, explore new destinations and to create new and exciting itineraries.
Starting in Mozambique (our new tours will be up shortly!) Lily then moved onto Zambia before ending up on the stunning Lake Malawi. She travelled vast distances and saw fabulous sights en route and despite the early morning starts Lily says it was one of the most wonderful trips she has ever taken – and she is a very well travelled lady! Over to you Lily.
I started off flying down to South Africa where I spent the night in Johannesburg before taking my flight over to Maputo in Mozambique. From there I took another flight to Pemba and then another to a tiny island in the archipelago called Ibo Island. Ibo Island is in the Quirimbas National Park an area of great scenic beauty, boasting high levels of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, and some of the most unspoilt reef eco systems anywhere in the Indian Ocean. This area also boasts a rich history and culture whose blend of indigenous African and exotic Arabic and Portuguese influences is epitomised by the historic town of Ibo on the island of the same name.
I stayed at Ibo Island Lodge which is comprised of three original historic mansions which have been stylishly renovated. Furnished with antique furniture it has a mix of European, Arab and Swahili atmosphere. Wide verandas furnished with soft cushions, teak furniture and a roof top terrace which is the ideal spot for sundowners and the other rooms had lovely views over the waterfront and distant islands. Ibo is the tourist hub of the archipelago which is pretty much undeveloped. The views over the islands with their turquoise clear waters, white sands and green mangroves as you fly in are spectacular and give you a great idea of how the islands operate (a lot depends on high tide and access by boat). Activities in the area include swimming, diving, kayaking and dhow cruises.
I then transferred by speedboat to Azura Quilalea Resort just over an hour away. This resort is a true romantic get-away. The staff all greeted me with a welcome song and then I spent the rest of the day walking around the island and looking for the turtles that live on the beach. The villas are hewn from local material with natural coral stone walls, carved wooden beams, makuti thatch roofs, and timber wooden decks. Windows have no glass, but have shutters made from local reed that can be opened to allow the breezes through, or closed for privacy at night. Handcrafted oversize beds, comfortable, all natural, designer ‘beach-chic’ finishings and furnishings, and spacious bathrooms with baobab tiled shower and views out to sea. There are no telephones and Ipod docks here, just a fan to cool you down, an aircon should you need it, a fridge full of your favourite beverages, and a wooden pirate chest to store your most precious belongings. Outside, there are daybeds and sun-loungers for relaxing, and the private decks have fabulous uninterrupted views out to the beach and sea beyond. Needless to say the food was also excellent and I sat in a different location for every meal i.e. under a tree set up from the beach; on the beach; by the swimming pool. Bliss!