This must be one of the world's best kept secrets.
It is not easy to get to as it involves a flight to Vilanculos and then a 40 minute boat trip, which can be longer if the tide is out as a detour around the huge sandbanks in the archipelego is required.
If you want an international chain hotel with three pools, a few restaurants and around a hundred rooms together with cabaret entertainment every night, this is not the place for you.
If you want a beautiful, unspoilt, lodge in an unparallelled idyllc location, you should consider Dugong Beach Lodge.
The photos on Tripadvisor, though very good, do not do justice to what this place is all about.
The thatched rooms all have access to the beach which has uninterrupted and virtually uninhabited access for many miles. There is snorkelling whatever the tide below the jetty in front of the lodge, but a boat trip to Two Mile Reef can be arranged in one of the lodge's boats and is really worthwhile as is the picnic and fishing.
When the tide goes out you can walk or kayak in total safety for miles. Dolphins are quite common as are a few local fishing boats. There are Dugong in the vecinity, but we did not see any on our visit.
Behind the lodge is a nature reserve. So far it is only stocked with giraffe and a variety of buck which we saw on an evening game drive and from the rear of our rooms.
The rooms which are tented under thatch are high quality as is the housekeeping.
Some reports of the generators going off suggest that this is an irritation. We did not find this the case as the generators were on in the morning until about noon then came on again just before sundown until midnight.
Mosquito nets are in excellent condition and they are needed.
The public areas are in keeping with the overall traditional thatched and somewhat bucolic look of the place. The views from the public areas are spectacular.
Food can be taken more or less wherever and whenever you want. There is plenty of decking as well as a dining area indoors, presumably for when it
rains. Alternatively you can eat on designated areas on or at the end of the jetty...all very romantic with uninterrupted views over the Bazaruto Archipelego.
The food is all freshly made and not surprisingly seafood such as tiger prawns, lobster and calamari figure often. We never saw a menu as the chef would come out after every meal and ask us what we would like for the next meal. Amazing flexibility and very well prepared in all cases whether it was fish, seafood or meat.
At breakfast we all thought the chef, Roberto, cooked the best omelettes any of us had ever eaten, including in France...an accolade indeed.
All the staff are friendly and speak good or excellent English.
We had a small problem with noise from some planned maintenance but when we complained, they stopped the work immediately.
Internet is usable in the main public area only while the generators are on and phone signals are also pretty reliable despite the remote location of the lodge.
There were a few minor irritations that one expects in the middle of nowhere, especially in Africa. Our group of four are seasoned travellers all over the world but we all agreed that there was absolutely nothing that we would want to change about this lodge.
It took us back to what upmarket lodges in Thailand or the Maldives were like 30 years ago. Tranquil, discreet, in a totally unspoilt location, with great service, comfortable bedrooms...and most important of all, very few people seem to know about it. This is a special place.
If this lodge was star rated it would probably only warrant three and a half stars, mainly because the star rating system requires particular criteria to be met that would not lend themselves to Dugong Beach Lodge's ethos and appeal.
To the right people, Dugong would warrant a high 5 star rating. In this day and age it is pretty much unique.
It was a privilege to still be able to find a place like this in a world that is gradually being seriously overdeveloped.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on 30 000 hectares of pristine Marine and Wildlife territory, it provides a unique Beach & Wilderness Experience in a hidden corner of sub-tropical Africa. This diverse eco-system of wilderness and wetland, with its powder white beaches and crystal clear water is host to a magnificent array of fish, dolphin and most importantly, the nearly extinct "Atlantic Dugong" (which resembles a sea lion). Shallow and deep water reefs reveal beautiful creatures such as the great leatherback turtles, sailfish and manta ray. Deep-sea fishing of marlin and barracuda is truly spectacular and the large flocks of flamingos and pelicans are a sight to behold. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dugong Beach Hotel Vilanculos