â€˜None of us could believe how special this island is. We felt as though we had been let in on a secret or had found a piece of buried treasure.â€™ Chris Caldicott, House and Garden
Mozambique â€“ The Country Mozambique is a shining example of Africa on the move, upbeat and optimistic. Like many countries in the region it has had its share of post-colonial difficulties including a civil war that ended in 1992. Since then reconstruction has proceeded at a remarkable pace, creating one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Modern Mozambique is a stable country with a rich history of trade that has left a unique blend of African, Arabic, Indian and
European influences. The merchant explorers of the past came in search of gold, spices, cowry shells, cloth and slaves. Contemporary adventurers come here to discover the deliciously spiced cuisine, a vibrant tropical atmosphere mixed with a laid back lifestyle and one of longest coastlines in Africa, with endless stretches of palmfringed beaches and unexplored coral reefs.
Vamizi Island â€“ The Location This exciting new Indian Ocean experience, less manicured and more natural than any on offer elsewhere, is a perfect combination of remoteness and accessibility, such that every journey here feels like a real privilege. Vamizi has a dedicated private aircraft to meet guests arriving on international flights at Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) or Pemba (Mozambique) airports, and whisk them in comfort to the islandâ€™s airstrip. Both flights
are spectacular, flying low enough to spot giant rays and whales in the clear ocean and a mosaic of reefs, sandbanks, river deltas, mangrove forests and fishing villages. Despite being located in one of the wildest places on earth, set among the Quirimbas Archipelago in the calm, cyclone free waters off the coast of northern Mozambique, Vamizi offers a definitive experience of barefoot luxury in Africa.
Island History There is evidence of Vamizi having been a stopping place for Arab dhows in the 15th century, when the island, then known as Amisa, had a Muslim population and a prolific weaving industry producing a fine fabric known as Maluane cloth. This attracted Portuguese traders who knew the Quirimbas as the Maluane Islands. Most of Vamiziâ€™s historic remnants are relics from the Portuguese era including a church, a fort, several wells and a lighthouse.
As well as fabric, Vamizi offered trade in indigo, ivory, timber, manna (an edible gum) and turtle shells. Today the turtle population is protected rather than exploited. The islandâ€™s most recent settlers are the owners of an award-winning luxury lodge established in 2005, who have also initiated community projects and a conservation initiative now led by WWF. The island and its activities have attracted guests from all over the world, including Nelson Mandela.
Vamizi Island – Private Villas With Vamizi Island Lodge now well established as a top end international destination, the next stage of the island’s development is an opportunity to invest in private villa ownership. The development and long leasehold rights for a limited number of villa plots will be available each year, allowing only a select few the opportunity to become part of this elite club. Each villa plot is completely private with an unparalleled coastal frontage of between 100
and 250 metres and up to 13 acres of land. You are able to choose between a variety of guiding designs, collectively termed the ‘Vamizi Style’ - a cohesive blend between rustic barefoot island, Arabic Swahili and East African safari influences, as well as, importantly, an expression of new ‘green’ trends. By combining these with your own bespoke elements of design, the result will be something truly individual.
The Villas â€“ Exteriors Each villa will be designed to sympathetically complement the environment by being well set back from the high water mark, with no bright external lighting to disturb the nesting turtles. The first stage of any build involves a survey of the existing trees. Every villa will consist of independent timber pavilions built around the largest trees and raised off the ground, to allow both thermal cooling and to touch the earth lightly by using spot foundations. These pavilions are interlinked with raised wooden walkways above the forest floor.
The choice of roofs is either timber shingles or a palm thatch (known locally as makuti), with a range of designs available. Louvered doors and windows allow occupants to â€˜sail the villaâ€™ by opening and closing elements to manage the breeze, thus negating any need for air conditioning or glass. Fantastic open sided gazebos provide welcome shade down on the beach.
The Villas â€“ Interiors Furnishing and fittings can be chosen to satisfy your personal taste, design and budget. Working in conjunction with carefully selected interior designers, you will be free to design your own tropical hideaway. Spacious, bright rooms with private terraces can be furnished with a combination of
rustic tables, chairs and cabinets made from Mozambican hardwoods, designer fabrics, ethnic antiques and contemporary premium brand fittings to create a personal expression of new African chic, including elegant bathrooms.
The Service and Food Each villa will be serviced to the same high standard commensurate with the Vamizi Island Lodge. A pool of highly trained chefs, housekeepers, child minders and butlers based at the Lodge will be available for each visit, or you may choose to employ permanent staff.
Your chef will provide delicious meals using freshly caught seafood, local spices and vegetables and imported prime cuts from South Africa. Picnics can be prepared to take anywhere on the island, or on neighbouring Rongui Island.
Villas will be maintained and managed by the island team and can also be rented out to third parties through the Vamizi rental pool, with staff to provide stocking of provisions, housekeeping and laundry services.
Choose to eat out at one of the islandâ€™s picturesque beach retreats or grill your own catch on the beach as the sun slips below the horizon.
Beaches The simple pleasure of being able to walk for hours along miles of deserted wild beach is a rarity. Of all Vamiziâ€™s assets its beaches are undeniably one of its greatest, especially as every villa has direct access to them. At times the sea can be so mirror calm that the silence of a beachcombing walk is not even punctuated by the sound of waves. You can see tracks left during the night by turtles making their way back to the sea from their nests above the tide line. As you walk,
alarmed crabs will make a dash for the safety of their sandy homes between surreal natural sculptures of bleached driftwood. Low tide reveals a carpet of beautiful shells and corals of vibrant colour, the roots of an occasional mangrove tree and hermit crabs hiding in their shells. As the tide comes in, some beaches become tiny private alcoves. No two beach walks are ever the same.
Adventure and Activities Along with the world-class fishing and diving, there are plenty of other activities and opportunities for adventure on Vamizi. The sea is so brilliantly clear, calm, warm and blue it simply demands frequent swims. Just offshore there are sensational gardens of unbleached coral alive with a plethora of dazzling tropical fish that can be explored with a mask and snorkel. Resident naturalists offer informative walks into the interior, or a chance to monitor turtle nests and even trek to the islandâ€™s mysterious Sacred Lake where Goliath Herons nest.
There are also mountain bike and running trails through the forest. A cultural tour can provide an insight into the traditional life of the islandâ€™s small fishing community and a chance to explore the ruins of the church and fort. Seasonal whale watching provides close encounters with groups of migrating humpbacks. Sunset Dhow sailing cruises are like a journey back in time.
Fishing The coral reefs that surround Vamizi are protected by huge vertical drop offs into the deep blue beyond where there are numerous varieties of game fish. Aided by the impeccable skill and local knowledge of professional fishing guides and state-of-the-art equipment, it is possible to be duelling with potentially record breaking game fish just minutes from your
villa. Wahoo, Yellow Fin Tuna, Giant Trevally, Dogtooth Tuna, Giant Kingfish and Sailfish are all regular catches and many come in epic sizes. Whatever you catch, you can either release and return another day to try for an even bigger one, or take your fish home for a seafood supper. There is also fantastic fly-fishing to be had off the beaches and in the estuaries.
Diving The reefs surrounding Vamizi are among the most pristine and least dived in East Africa. The island is bordered by deep canyons that feed into the cool water of the Mozambique channel. The proximity of this deepwater has preserved an exceptionally rich biodiversity with 46 genera of both hard and soft corals and over 370 species of reef fish. All the dive sites are reached by boat, most of them less than 15 minutes from the island, with a variety to suit all levels of divers from
shallow coral gardens to spectacular wall dives. Neptuneâ€™s Arm, a monolithic pinnacle that rises from the deep ocean floor to just below the surface, has been voted one of the Top Ten dive sites in the world. The incredible clarity of the water, abundance of large game fish, variety of healthy corals and the probability that you will have all this to yourself ensures that every dive will be truly memorable.
Spa As soon as you arrive on Vamizi the stresses of everyday life begin to fade. To further enhance this you can call on the expertise and knowledge of the islandâ€™s well-trained spa therapists. A tempting menu of reiki, deep tissue, Swedish, aromatherapy and Indian head massage is available. Treatments can either be taken at the spa or in the privacy of your own villa; in fact, massage tables can be set
up anywhere, from a secluded shaded spot on your own stretch of beach to an intimate lamp-lit setting in your gazebo under the stars. A yoga teacher is on hand to help you to look at yourself and your surroundings from a whole new perspective. Special skin treatments borrow recipes from the local women, using herbs, plants and minerals ground from Vamizi rocks, to help you glow inside and out.
Flora and Fauna Vamizi supports a rich bio-diversity of flora and fauna. Lush mangrove forests line the shore, binding the sand and preventing erosion. The wild forested interior is home to several troupes of Samango monkeys who peer at you through the leaves with cautious fascination then disappear in a flash. There are more than a hundred species of birds and thousands of butterflies living among the colourful blossoms and exotic plant life.
Seeing one of the many giant green turtles that nest off Vamiziâ€™s empty shores usually requires a nocturnal search along the beach, but if you get up early enough there is a good chance of catching one on its slow journey back to the ocean. Local legend dictates that if you eat one of the islandâ€™s many coconut crabs, with their impressively oversized claws designed for crushing coconuts, then you will never leave the island.
Conservation Vamizi employs a permanent conservation team who work with WWF to protect and maintain both marine and terrestrial habitats. Throughout the year they monitor and tag turtles, report on illegal fishing and clear the bush of invasive species. A WWF Marine Conservation and Research Centre on the island will support this initiative. To live on Vamizi is not only to enjoy the benefits of their work, but also to play a part in their success.
Conserving Vamizi and its wildlife would be impossible without local support, so the team combines conservation with community development. Villagers on the island benefit from a Community Fishing Council to help them manage and protect their own fisheries resources. There is also a new school building and a community centre to support the basket weaving and bread baking activities of the Womenâ€™s Association. As one donor commented, â€˜Once you have seen Vamizi you become obsessed with saving itâ€™.
Vamizi Island Private Villa Sales t: + 44 (0) 1285 762218 e: email@example.com www.vamiziprivatevillas.com
Published on Jun 6, 2011