Azura at Quilalea is a hidden gem, somewhere to retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life, with a relaxed and understated ‘Robinson Crusoe’ castaway style that belies the comforts and experiences on offer in the 9 handcrafted seafront villas. A wholly uninhabited island paradise, ensuring total privacy and exclusivity for our guests, and surrounded by the magnificent pristine waters of a marine sanctuary.
Quilalea Island is one of the southernmost islands in the pristine Quirimbas Archipelago, a scattering of beautiful unspoilt islands in remote northern Mozambique. Lying some 30 nautical miles north of Pemba, Quilalea has the only deep-water mooring in the area, where the Portuguese and Arab traders traditionally found sanctuary for their dhows. Along with its sister island Sencar, it is one of the few properties in the entire Archipelago to lie within a fully protected marine reserve, ensuring an abundance of marine life, and a spectacular snorkelling and diving experience for our guests. Relax on one of the island’s 4 fabulous beaches, snorkel the island’s shores, dive the house reef that spans the main beach, watch whales breaching from the bar deck, picnic on remote Turtle Beach, kayak through mangroves or relax in a hammock beneath the giant baobabs that stand sentinel over the island. Quilalea is the ultimate private luxury hideaway in a stunning undiscovered destination, an untouched paradise for the just a discerning few to discover.
This is paradise for lovers of marine life. The protected reefs in the Quirimbas Archipelago offer some of the most spectacular snorkeling and diving in the world. With just a few guests on the island at a time, you will be the only people snorkeling and diving here, and as a result the plethora of sea life on view is spectacular. Uniquely in Mozambique, Quilalea has snorkeling and diving right off its beaches and headlands. The sea is patrolled by huge Potato Bass, Napolean Wrasse, and schools of Hunting Jacks. There are walls and rarely visited reefs just a short boat hop away, and a spectacular house reef for day and night diving. We have a fully equipped dive centre and offer the full range of PADI dive courses.
Fishing here is quite simply world class, with huge GT’s and tuna in abundance for the Sportfisherman, as well as the local catch of the day to bring home for supper. Circle the island by kayak, picnic in splendid isolation, cruise to other deserted beaches, gaze at the dolphins we often spot from our villas, or track down Humpback Whales on their seasonal migration past our shores. Culture buffs shouldn’t miss a trip to nearby Ibo Island, where the old fort and ruins are steeped in the area’s history. There are more than 140 bird species on Quilalea Island. The Madagascan Bee-eaters that nest every year are a real highlight. The island is covered in indigenous vegetation, with statuesque age old baobab groves and stunning flora and fauna.
There are 4 sandy beaches providing plenty of space for relaxing. Remote and beautiful Turtle Beach is home to nesting turtles which our guests are often lucky enough to see. It is also an excellent spot for a private picnic lunch. And don’t miss the night-time star talks to discover our magnificent night sky.
Our aim is for you to never eat in the same place twice. At Azura, dining is all part of the experience, from breakfast at the water’s edge, to a picnic on a sandy island, to dining on a candle lit beach beneath the stars. Our Butler-hosts take huge pride in their innovative dining set-ups, and little touches to make your stay special. Our menus are based on what is fresh and available, with a focus on light meals, simple ingredients, and lots of fresh fish and seafood. It’s a simple understated affair. The huge Mangrove Crabs are a particular specialty, as well as Crayfish which is available in abundance. All meals and certain house drinks are currently included at Azura. Dinner is always a special event, eaten on the beach by candlelight beneath the stars whenever we can. We offer a variety of special dining options too, including secluded beach picnics, wine cellar dining or romantic private dinners at your villa.
In keeping with the uninhabited nature of the island, the retreat consists of only nine seafront villas, accommodating eighteen guests. The villas are built from natural coral stone and makuti thatch, and have all been revamped to increase comfort and make better use of the interior space, with natural finishings, indoor/outdoor showers, private decks stretching out to the beach, daybeds and sun-loungers for relaxing. The villas are open-plan and spacious, with stylish décors of wood, cotton and materials such as rope, pebbles and rattan, all blending in seamlessly with the island surroundings. Guests need only take a few steps to the gleaming white beach, or they may choose to bask on their sunlounger, recline in their sala, or cool off in their outdoor shower.
Each ‘public’ area of the retreat is designed with its own particular ethos in mind, creating unique vibes and experiences out of which guests will find their own favourite haven, be it a hammock under the trees, a perch at the bar, or a dip in the main feature pool.
Quilalea Island is one of the Southernmost islands in the pristine Quirimbas Archipelago, 30 nautical miles North of Pemba. It has one of only a few safe deepwater moorings in the area, where the Portuguese and Arab traders traditionally found sanctuary for their dhows. Along with its sister island Sencar, it is one of the few properties in the entire Archipelago to lie within a fully protected marine reserve, ensuring an abundance of marine life.
The island is approximately 86 acres (35 hectares) in size and apart from Azura at Quilalea staff and guests, it is completely uninhabited.
The island is covered in indigenous vegetation, with statuesque age old baobab groves and stunning flora and fauna, a real nature lowers paradise. There are 4 large sandy beaches on the island, the villas are spread along 2 of them, the main beach always has boat access, and remote and beautiful turtle beach is home to dozens of nesting turtles and is an excellent spot for a private picnic lunch.