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“A rare gem”
Review of Dugong Beach Lodge

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Dugong Beach Lodge
Ranked #5 of 9 Hotels in Vilanculos
Reviewed 30 May 2017

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.

Room Tip: All rooms are lovely but the two end rooms have their own shared pool
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  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank GIW2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bridget V, Client Liason at Dugong Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 2 June 2017

Good Day GIW2014

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your stay at Dugong Beach Lodge. We are heartened to read that you had a legendary stay and you enjoyed the friendly staff, food and activities available. We look forward to welcoming you back in the not too distant future,

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6 - 10 of 70 reviews

Reviewed 10 May 2017

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Dugong. Loved the excellent food, lovely friendly staff that make you feel at home, beautiful spacious rooms opening up onto the sea, enough fun activities to keep you busy, all managed very effectively by a very experienced lodge manager, Ernesto. Thank you Ernesto and thanks to your team. We will be back.

Room Tip: No wifi in rooms, only in main lodge area.
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  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank ClaireLDin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MichelleBouic, Client Liason at Dugong Beach Lodge at Dugong Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 15 May 2017

Morning ClaireLDin

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your stay at Dugong Beach Lodge. We are heartened to read that you had a legendary stay and that you enjoyed the food, activities and friendly staff. Your wonderful comments have been passed onto management and the whole Dugong team. We look forward to welcoming you back in the not too distant future.

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Reviewed 21 January 2017 via mobile

We went there as part of our honeymoon in Jan 2017 expecting to stay for 6 nights...
Our experience was not great (an unfortunate combination of weather and the characteristics of the hotel) and we ended up leaving after 3 nights.
Awkwardly, we were the ONLY guests at the moment, which made it look almost like a ghost hotel. This is obviously not the hotel's fault but it influenced our stay.
Also, we were so unlucky that our whole stay it rained non-stop, which combined with the power issues (more on that below) made the stay unbearable.
Let me tell you about the best and worst of our stay.
BEST:
The food was exquisite, the portions huge. You would definitely not be hungry and it was incredible that the chef asked personally what you would like to eat and prepare it.
The lodge itself is really beautiful and the scenery is incredible
Staff are very accommodating and helpful (and the welcome and goodbye ceremonies are a nice touch)
WORST:
Sadly, there is a lot to say about this.
First and foremost, the electricity. We were not aware of the electricity being powered by a generator that did not work 24/7. I've read the reviews about it but as they were old and the hotel never mentioned this at the time of booking, I thought it would be fixed. It wasn't. The generator does not work the whole day, at night it gets hot and after being turned off at 12pm, it can get really bad (plus, you can't open the windows because all types of bugs of bats would get in your room)
After the first night, the staff kindly offered to keep it working until 2am, which improved the situation. I think it's crucial that the hotel advises guests of this issue upon their booking rather than at the time of their arrival.
Windows in the room do not have mosquito nets. This is a shame as it would improve the confort of guests in order to cool the room without depending on the air-con/electricity. As this is a natural area, of course insects/animals are to be expected but if the hotel put mosquito nets on windows it would make the stay a lot better.
Housekeeping and general maintenance in the room was not perfect. The net over the bed to prevent mosquitos to bite you while sleeping is not in perfect conditions, it has a few wholes and is not properly attached to the wall, thus not being hermetic and failing it's purpose. Also, one night we woke up to find a kind of fly all over our floor. After housekeeping came twice for the daily cleaning, they had used bug spray on them to kill them but they would not sweep them out (photo included, they were quite a few of them)
As I mentioned, it rained during our stay. after the second night, our room started to have leaks of water, which turned out to make a puddle inside our room. Again, poor maintenance and it was surprising that even though housekeeping tried to clean it, management never mentioned a thing about this issue (we even told them it was raining inside our room but they didn't do anything about it)
By this point we obviously decided to leave, even if it meant to loose money as the hotel would not offer any kind of compensation.
When we checked out, they gave us the bill to pay for charges....let me tell you this has no detail whatsoever. They tell you the amount and the description is a number...we don't know what we paid for.
All in all, not a recommended hotel. I mean this is a 4star hotel and it is definitely not cheap. I guess if the weather had been good to actually be on the beach it would have been fine but being locked up due to rain without electricity and the other issues I mentioned really did not make this a good experience.
Hope this helps future guests!

Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
3  Thank victoriagarcia23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MichelleBouic, PR & Marketing Executive at Dugong Beach Lodge at Dugong Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2017

Dear Victoriagarcia23,

It is with disappointment that we read your review on Dugong Beach Lodge. We strive to create a truly Legendary experience for all our guests and apologise that this was not the case for you. We however can advise that while we welcome constructive comments, we take all complaints extremely seriously and can assure you that a proper investigation is taking place. Our lodge is known for its tranquillity and luxury, its wonderful service and team and of course, the natural beauty of its location. To read that your time with us was not made of that is concerning. While we do understand that your current perception of our lodge is marred, we can only hope that this will not deter you from returning in the future.

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Reviewed 15 January 2017 via mobile

We cannot recommend Dugong beach lodge high enough!
We are a couple in our 30's who went there for our honeymoon. We were worried about it being so remote, but soon came to realise that's the beauty of it!
The food was outstanding! The chef Roberto, cooked anything you desired, and the seafood is out of this world! The portions are huge! And so wholesome you will not go hungry!
The staff are all so friendly, nothing is too much of an ask. They make each dining experience special. Especially with the quirky napkin displays, and seating wherever you like (including privately in your lodge if you prefer).
The pool is warm and very clean, the bar ideally located behind the pool, facing the gorgeous ocean.
Canoeing, snorkelling and walking around the animal sanctuary, (if you can stick the heat long enough), filled our activity requirements, (well my husbands, I would have been quite happy lounging by the pool all day!). The animal sanctuary is huge, they don't have the big 5, but have buffalo, giraffes, zebras, monkeys and many more that we didn't get to see as we got too hot!
The lodges are very clean, the generator was not an issue as long as you leave the duvet off you wouldn't notice the power going off as it's very late in the night.
You are greeted with all the staff singing when you arrive and again as you leave, which is so amazing.
There is a small shop in the hotel in case you need sun cream (factor 50 is advisable) or paracetamol, however I strongly advise in getting lots of Tabard mosquito repellant for the evenings. We were there a week and went through two lotions and a spray, we would have liked more! The Mosquitos are really only a problem in the evening while you dine, the day is fine. Your room has a net over your bed and you do feel very safe in there.

You will not regret going here Ernesto, Henriques, Alfonso, Artur, Samuel, and Grace are all amazing and make your stay memorable!

Cannot recommend it high enough!! 5stars

Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank matt s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MichelleBouic, PR & Marketing Executive at Dugong Beach Lodge at Dugong Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 17 January 2017

Dear Matt s

Thank you for taking the time to write a review on Dugong Beach Lodge. We are delighted to hear about your stay with us and would like to also thank you for the details you included. We will be sure to pass on your comments to the Dugong Team and look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

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Reviewed 6 December 2016

Just a short thank you for the brilliant lunch under your grass roof on the jetti with a beautiful view. We thoroughly enjoyed our brief time at your stunning resort and very much appreciate the warm and friendly manner in which your staff received and treated us. Keep up the good work !!

  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Morne K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MichelleBouic, PR & Marketing Executive at Dugong Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 7 December 2016

Dear Morne K

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review about your perfect lunch at Dugong Beach Lodge. We are delighted to read that you thoroughly enjoyed it and we will be sure to pass on your compliments to the Dugong Team. We hope to welcome you back to Dugong in the not too distant future for a longer stay.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dugong Beach Lodge

Address: Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary | San Sebastian Peninsula, Vilanculos, Mozambique
Region: Mozambique > Inhambane Province > Vilanculos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 9 Hotels in Vilanculos
Price Range: RM1,924 - RM4,642 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dugong Beach Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 12
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

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