Imagine staying in some of the world’s most undiscovered, pristine environments. Completely private and removed from the rest of the world. Where authenticity of the experience, without compromising on standards, is the key. Where there is a philanthropic goal of both protecting the environment and giving back to the local community.
Azura offers some of Africa’s ultimate private luxury hideaways for just a discerning few to discover. Privately owned and managed, our hotels are small and personalised, with award winning 'eco-chic' villas, delicious local cuisine, and a whole range of unique experiences to enjoy.
Azura 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.
It is the second luxury Indian Ocean Retreat from the Azura Retreats group, bringing Azura’s trademark African-chic style to Quilalea Private Island, a wholly uninhabited island paradise surrounded by the pristine waters of the Quirimbas Archipelago marine sanctuary.
Snorkel the island’s shores, dive from the main beach, kayak the mangroves or relax beneath the giant baobabs on the island. Azura Quilalea’s nine seafront villas offer the ultimate private luxury hideaway in a stunning undiscovered destination, an untouched paradise for just a discerning few to discover. It is the only island in Mozambique with a house reef, accessible directly from the main beach, making it a fabulous destination for snorkellers, scuba divers and lovers of marine life. It is also home to more than 50 giant baobabs and 180 species of migrating birds.
With an emphasis on providing our guests with the best the island has to offer, it’s hardly surprising that Azura Quilalea has been recognised as a leader in the luxury travel industry. Last year, we received Safari Awards for the Best Marine Safari Experience and Most Romantic Safari Property. In the same year, we were the Continent Winner for the World Luxury Hotel Awards in the following categories: Luxury Private Island Resort, Luxury Romantic Villas and Luxury Eco/Green Villa.
The main bar and pool area offers plenty of areas to relax in whilst enjoying views of the ocean. The informal lounge coming off the bar area offers satellite TV and a laptop with internet access. The Jellyfish Dining Room is open on the sides to make best use of the trade winds that are wonderfully cooling on a summer night. There is also a wine cellar for private dining and to showcase the proprietor's wines. We have a fully equipped PADI Dive and Watersports Centre, a feature Baobab reception and a boutique with local crafts and designer beachwear.
Blessed with a tropical climate, temperatures rarely fall below 24°C—even at night. The water is gloriously warm with a temperature that ranges between 24-30°C. Throughout the year, the East African Trade winds bring welcoming cool breezes and our villas are positioned to take advantage of the relief from the heat they bring. The Islands are not strongly affected by local weather patterns and tend to receive, on average, a quarter of the rainfall received by the mainland. There are several months of the year when there is no rain at all. This makes our landscape arid, and challenges our water supply, but means endless days of sunshine for our guests.
Robinson Crusoe Castaway Style
The villas at Azura Quilalea provide you with your own private island castaway home, somewhere to relax, unwind, and forget about the world.
Quilalea Private Island Facilities
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 relaxing under the trees, a perch at the bar, or a dip in the main feature pool. The main bar area offers plenty of areas to relax in, including a chill zone with large cushions for lazing around, while the pool is surrounded by day beds where you can settle with books or enjoy sun-bathing. Wifi is available in the lounge, bar and pool deck area and is offered on a complimentary basis to our guests.
Wining and Dining
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 menus are based on what is fresh and available, with a focus on light meals, simple ingredients, and lots of fresh fish and seafood. The huge Mangrove Crabs are a particular speciality, as well as Crayfish which is available in abundance. We always offer a choice of dishes, and our chef will happily try to accommodate any personal requests that you may have.
Azura African Spa
Azura offers unique African Spa treatments at the beautiful cliff top spa with the calming sounds of the waves lapping against the rocks. Signature treatments use only natural ingredients sourced from the wilds of Africa, for the ultimate relaxing and pampering African Spa experience. Should you prefer, treatments can also be set-up in the comfort of your villa. Azura African Spa is owned, managed and operated by Indian Ocean Eco-Islands Limited.
Your Family at Azura
Azura at Quilalea Private Island is a wonderful place for a family holiday. Snorkelling, fishing and scuba diving are all fabulous activities for children to undertake. Little ones as young as 4 can learn to snorkel under the careful guidance of our snorkelling instructors. Older children and teens will love to learn to scuba dive. For the very young, there are soft white sand beaches for sandcastle building, and easy swimming conditions at the main beach. Older children may be interested in the giant baobabs, or learning about our community projects, and young ornithologists can try and spot our 134 species of birds.
Turtle Beach Picnic
Turtle Beach is the most beautiful beach on Quilalea Private Island. We set off on an Island Baobab nature walk to explore the island’s indigenous vegetation, with statuesque age old baobab groves and stunning flora and fauna, it’s a real nature lover’s paradise. We will meander along the island's paths until we reach the stunning Turtle Beach, where we will host you to a special picnic (breakfast/lunch) and then leave you to enjoy a few lazy hours in the sun, with shade cover, cushions and beanbags provided for your comfort.
Scenic Helicopter Tours
Enjoy an aerial view of the islands. Fly over the coconut plantation on Quirimbas Island or enjoy a view of Ibo Island from the air.
The route will be planned according to the flying time requested and can be tailor made to suit your preference. Flying times may vary between fifteen and sixty minutes for up to four guests at a time. Departure dates and times will be confirmed accordingly.
Ibo Island Tour
Join us for a 10 minute scenic trip by helicopter or a 40 minute boat ride to Ibo Island, the foremost heritage site in Northern Mozambique. Ibo is full of fascinating architecture, old ruins and lots of cultural history. We will arrange a specialist guided tour of the island, with the chance to see the Silversmiths at work, the village and the famous pentagon shaped ruined old fort, before hopping back on the boat to enjoy a cruise back through the mangrove channel.
House Reef Snorkelling
The stunning house reef off the main beach is paradise for snorkelers, with easy access at all times of day. Take the plunge and you will see a colourful array of hard and soft corals, and a variety of reef fish, including parrot fish, schools of Bluefin kingfish and sweetlips. Snorkelling can be done at any time, but is best at low tide. Pop past the watersports centre to collect your snorkelling gear on arrival, and you are welcome to keep it with you throughout your stay. Please take care not to step on our precious corals, or take anything you may find on the reef.
Baobab Island Walking Trail
There is a marked walking trail around the island, a great way to learn about the wonderful environment we have here at Azura Quilalea Private Island, and to explore the island’s baobabs, birds, and butterflies. The circuit takes around 45 minutes, and begins adjacent to villa 5, or you can follow the walking feet signpost just off the pathway by villa 8. Remember to take some water along with you. The island is approximately 86 acres in size and apart from Azura staff and guests, it is completely uninhabited.
Studies by the WWF and other scientific bodies have shown that Quilalea Private Island is one of the most important nesting sites in the whole Quirimbas Archipelago for Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtles. Our turtles nest from November to February each year, with the resulting hatchlings emerging for their dash to the seashore from January through until April. We monitor Turtle Beach for nesting turtles and hatchlings throughout the season, but sightings are most common at high tide, particularly at dawn or dusk, or during the night.
Guided Birding/ Nature Walk
Quilalea Private Island is a nature lover’s paradise, with 58 giant baobabs thought to be between 1500 and 3000 years old, and a home to some 134 species of birds. If you would like to learn more, go out on a guided nature walk with one of our guides, who will happily tell you all about our diverse bird life that include nesting Bee Eaters, Mangrove Kingfishers and the intricacies of the Giant Baobabs, as well as explain the uses of some trees and plants along the way.
Experience the romance of bygone Africa with our unique Baobab Bath experience. We will bring a cast iron bathtub to your villa, and set up a special baobab bath for you to relax in with a glass of bubbly as the sun goes down, the moon rises and the stars come out above you.
Perfect for celebrating a special occasion.
Guided Night Snorkeling
A must for lovers of snorkelling, we guide you out onto the house reef with underwater torches to see how different everything looks at night, as the shrimp and a host of night critters and fish come out of hiding from their daytime slumber a whole new underwater world awaits you.
Kindly note: All activities are subject to weather and tidal conditions.
Star Gazing and Astronomy Talk
Join our Sky Guides for an informative presentation and discussion about the African night skies. Using our telescope, we will show you beautiful constellations such as Orion, Scorpio, Hydra, and the glittering Milky Way. Learn about astronomical phenomena, stellar events from Nebulas to Gas Clouds and Black Holes! We’ll even show you how to orientate direction from constellations such as Orion and the famed Southern Cross to locate North and South. Sky Guides are equipped with laser pointers reaching 1.5km into the skies, and an 8-inch reflecting telescope.
A vast array of marine life thrives including tropical fish like Sweetlips, Angelfish, Triggerfish, Pufferfish amongst breath-taking coral reefs riddled with Lettuce coral, coral "Bommies" reef banks’ and soft sponges. Other interesting sightings you may see include Clown Fish, Moray Eels, Stingrays, Sea Cucumbers, Starfish, Octopus, Groupers, schools of Kingfish, Snapper, Fusiliers, Salad Fish, Lion Fish, Nudibranchs and Macro Critters, Green and Hawksbill turtles.
Our kayaks are available for your pleasure at any time, please ask at the watersports centre for paddles and safety equipment. Please let us know where you plan on kayaking and your expected return time, and be cautious of the strong currents we experience at certain times, as well as the wind direction if it is blowing offshore. If you would prefer, one of our accomplished guides will accompany you on a kayaking safari, which is a great way to view the island.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Trips to watch humpback whales are available in season (from July to October), if we are lucky we will see these beautiful animals breaching and lob tailing- sometimes they are even spotted swimming past in the deep waters just off from the beach.
Dolphins can be spotted all year round. The site is known to be important nursery area for bottlenose and humpback dolphins.
Sunset Dhow Cruise
A time honoured tradition in East African waters, set sail in a traditional Mozambican Dhow sailboat, and watch the sunset as you drift along on the ocean breezes. Time stands still as you sail on a 40 foot traditional dhow as the sun goes down.
We will provide drinks and snacks for you to enjoy along the way.
The oceans off Quilalea, with their spectacular drop offs and currents, offer some of the best big game, bill and saltwater fishing in the Indian Ocean. Species include: Sailfish, Tuna/Bonito, King/Queen Mackerel, Giant Trevally (GT’s), Prodigal Son, Wahoo, Dorado, and Barracuda. Our Watersports Centre has a range of professional tackle for both the beginner and the enthusiast. We will happily cook your catch of the day for lunch or dinner, but we operate a strict catch and release policy on protected species.
The protected reefs in the Quirimbas Archipelago offer some of the most spectacular scuba diving in the world. These undisturbed and untouched dive sites are abundant with a variety of fish and corals, and offer a range of depths and reef topography to suit beginner and experienced divers alike. These dive sites offer a rare opportunity to discover an underwater world seen by just a few lucky divers each year. Our stunning house reef offers easy access straight from the main beach, and there are another 17 dive sites to visit inside and outside of the Quilalea Marine Sanctuary.
PADI Discover Scuba Course
Azura has a full range of high quality dive equipment. Our training pool on the bar deck is perfect for refreshing your diving skills or taking the plunge for the first time, and for training dives the house reef is ideal being just a few metres out from the beach. If you are interested in learning to dive and would like to try it out contact our dive instructor. We highly recommend that you complete the theory portion of your course at home, before your holiday. That way, you’re ready to start diving as soon as you arrive and will get to spend more time exploring the waters around the island. A PADI Discover Scuba course, which includes your first reef diving experience, can be completed in just a few hours. Children are welcome to learn to dive from the age of 10 upwards.
Sencar Island Mangrove Kayaking
We will take you and the Kayaks by speedboat to the drop off point at which point we disassociate ourselves from the noise and power of the motorized boat and immerse ourselves in the sounds and sights of the beautiful mangroves that can only be accessed at high tide. Your guide will explain the uses of the mangroves whilst you look out for interesting birds, crabs and hermit crabs escaping from the rising water level by clinging on to the stems of the trees.
Quirimba Coconut Tree Plantation
Quirimba Island has a vast coconut plantation that is being run by the legendary Gesner family- a German family who have made the Island their home and have lived there since 1926! Visit the Island and go on a short tour of the plantation during which you will learn about the different stages of coconut production. You may also have the opportunity to see some of Quirimba’s colonial architectural ruins, visit and learn about the mangroves and relax on one of the pristine, uninhabited beaches.
Private Beach Dinner
Your host will set up a private candle-light dinner on your deck or on the beach in front of your villa, surrounded by candles and lanterns arranged in the sand. The ultimate in romantic dining! We always offer a choice of dishes, and our chef will happily try to accommodate any personal requests that you may have, although given the remoteness of our location, your understanding is appreciated if something you have a particular craving for is simply unobtainable.
We have many more special offers. We can help you decide which hotel or destination is best for you. Please click on the Please Call Me button if you can't find what you are looking for. We will contact you.
We can design your perfect holiday to anywhere in the world. Click below to contact us and we will create the holiday of your dreams!