Science reveals that being near the ocean has positive effects on the brain, it is not only known as the most natural tranquiliser, but it also inspires creative thinking, reduces anxiety and promotes compassionate thinking and togetherness.
It is no wonder that when it comes to choosing a stress-free getaway, the ocean ranks highly as the go-to destination and the place to enjoy family holidays, meaningful events, celebrations and relaxing getaways. Azura Retreats’ two exceptional properties situated in Mozambique are excellent island destinations for the entire family to enjoy an ocean safari adventure like no other. From the pristine waters of the Quirimbas Archipelago Marine Sanctuary at Azura Quilalea Private Island, to the extraordinary sea life found at Azura Benguerra Island, both National Parks invite you to explore the beautiful ocean and uninhabited beaches surrounding both islands, with many memorable activities to partake in. Azura Retreats offers you the ocean safari, from excellent diving sites, fun water activities, and whale-watching, to fishing for local species, educational guided marine walks where crowds of ghost crabs scuttle by, and incredible turtle sightings, these two five-star Mozambican destinations will help you create unforgettable and extraordinary family memories.
On your ocean safari family adventure, you will be given the rare opportunity to dive or snorkel in some of the most spectacular scuba diving spots in the world, allowing you to discover an underwater world that is visited by just a few lucky divers each year. Bleach-free coral reefs and the deep drop-off of the Mozambican shelf, means that you and your family will be able to dive in some of the healthiest coral reef systems in the world.
- At Azura Quilalea, the world is your oyster. There are many spectacular reefs to dive and discover, for instance the Canyon which is the home to the large Grouper, Napoleon Wrasse and schools of Barracuda. Explore the Wall, a recently discovered dive site offering a remarkable variety of hard and soft coral, as well as Stingray alley and Mozambique’s uniquely located house reef at Quilalea, which offers dive and snorkelling access right off the main beach. Its excellent location allows for signature night dives and guided night snorkelling expeditions, which take place with the use of underwater torches allowing guests to witness the magnificent sights and performances that occur in the ocean at night.
- At Azura Benguerra Island, make yourself at home around the legendary Two Mile reef, which is home to hammerhead sharks, devil rays and large pelicans. Part of the reef, which has been appropriately named The Aquarium, giving the explorer the undeniable feeling of such an experience due to the variety of marine life showcased on the reef.
Children can also learn how to snorkel and dive when visiting Azura Retreats in Mozambique, giving them a wonderful opportunity to explore a magical world beneath the ocean and offering the perfect preparation courses before jumping into the warm sea waters. For the budding Jacques Cousteau in your family, both Mozambican locations are PADI certified, with fully equipped five-star dive centres and dedicated training pools. The highly skilled watersports staff can teach children the correct techniques and a selection of smaller goggles and snorkels are available for the little ones. Azura offers the PADI Bubblemaker course (from 8 years) in the dive centre training pool. The PADI Discover Scuba course (from 10 years) and includes not only training in the dive centre pool, but allows them the opportunity to dive up to 12 metres/40 feet with a parent or PADI Pro.
Delight in the guided island-hopping tours fit for the family to enjoy together. A signature activity at Azura Benguerra, the island-hopping tour is an unforgettable experience for all. Apart from watching the colour of the water that surrounds the islands shift as the light changes, producing a kaleidoscope effect with blues, aquamarine and turquoise, enjoy a hike up Bazaruto Dune and see unsurpassed 360-degree panoramas of the exquisite Bazaruto Archipelago. If you are lucky, the shifting sands will reveal ancient pottery relics from the Queen of Sheba’s forays to these islands, as well as the Portuguese explorers who were the first to sail round the Cape of Good Hope. While descending the dune, proceed on to explore the beautiful Pansy Island – a hidden sandbank that makes its appearance during low tide as it delights its visitors with an array of the pansy shells scattered across the island, proudly giving the island its charming name.
When visiting Azura Benguerra Island, take in the glorious sights while the ocean breeze brushes against your face as you take a speedboat trip to Paradise Island (locally known as Santa Carolina). Situated in the far north of the Bazaruto Archipelago, this island is home to a ruined hotel from the period of Portuguese rule, and was named Paradise Island for its beautiful white beaches and fantastic location for snorkelling. It has been said that Bob Dylan’s famous song about Mozambique was written about this beautiful island, why not enjoy the same views as he did?
“To say goodbye to sand and sea, you turn around to take a final peek, and you see why it’s so unique to be, among the lovely people living free, upon the beach of sunny Mozambique” – Bob Dylan, Mozambique
After taking in the sights, settle down on Paradise Island’s deserted white beaches for an exclusive picnic lunch where you will be treated to a private host-service experience, with a personal touch and individually prepared local delicacies. As the sunsets, choose the perfect finish to your day by opting to use the Water Sports centre’s paddle boards or kayaks or set sail on a dhow cruise, a time-honoured tradition in Africa. Witness twilight set along the horizon, while enjoying refreshments and watch the simplicity of Mozambican life unfold on the shores as you sail by.
For those interested in a completely unique beach experience, go on a family adventure to spot the turtles and enjoy a turtle beach picnic close to their nesting grounds at Azura Quilalea Private Island. It is not unusual to find them nesting on the island’s beaches at high tide. Quilalea Private Island is one of the most important nesting sites in the whole Quirimbas Archipelago for Green and Hawksbill Turtles. From July to October each year, the oceans surrounding Azura Quilalea Private Island and Benguerra Island come alive with humpback whales, as they make their way to warmer waters. Take to the ocean to capture this incredible work of nature, and watch as dolphins catapult themselves out of the water, mingling with their friends and providing wonderful entertainment for onlookers.
Fishing (a wonderful activity for beginner and experienced fishermen/women alike) is a favourite pastime at both Azura Benguerra Island and Azura Quilalea Private Island. The location of each island makes them superb spots for year-round fishing. Azura Quilalea Private Island is one of the best sport fishing centres in the world, where one might be lucky enough to catch a giant trevally nearing 50 kilograms in weight, whereas Azura Benguerra is very well known for its sailfish and marlin. Both retreats, however, adhere to a strict catch-and-release policy to preserve the marine life in Mozambique. A day fishing for much sought-after native fish such yellowfin tuna and king and queen mackerel, may very well turn into a delightful feast for dinner. Share your favourite recipe with the chef, and delight in fresh flavours and local ingredients set against the beautiful backdrop of the African sky lit up. With Azura Retreats Ocean Safari, there’s no better option than to merge your safari on land with a safari of a different kind.
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Source: Nicky Arthur PR