Indigo Bay and Medjumbe - two luxury Rani Resorts (www.raniresorts.com) - offer water sports like snorkeling, fishing and kayaking. The diving is exceptional. But, you can choose to spend the day staring out at the water and do nothing. Both resorts are lovely, but each has its own vibe. Indigo Bay is more “touristy” compared to the remote Medjumbe. Their accommodations, service and activities conjure luxury, relaxation and romance.
Located off the shores of Mozambique, this southeast African county that borders the Indian Ocean is almost twice the size of California. Its civil war (1977-1992) is fading into the past. Game reserves are being restocked. But the reason to visit is its idyllic beaches. They make the Caribbean look blasé.
As the plane lands on Bazaruto Island’s tiny runway, a blue and yellow bus waits to whisk guests to the resort. Sweet scented flowers and the sound of birds are everywhere. Indigo Bay, with its 44 rooms (30 beach chalets and 14 villas), borders the water and crawls up the hills. Large thatched-roof villas have a bathroom almost the size of a living room with an indoor and outdoor shower that faces the sea. All the rooms are usually occupied, but most of the time, it seems like there are few guests.
A popular, late afternoon activity is horseback riding along the beach. The sun casts long shadows of the riders and their mounts on the sand. Mussel shells on the shoreline catch the rays and gleam like diamonds. As the sun sets, the water color changes from turquoise to a magic indigo color. That is how Indigo Bay got its name.
A day trip to the uninhabited Paradise Island includes a snorkeling stop and a barbeque lunch. Water visibility is as clear as glass and the coral plentiful. Lunch is like dinner, with shrimp, beef kabobs, chicken and fish. It’s difficult not to eat too much. The rest of time is spent lazing on the beach.
The day’s restful beach vibe is revived with a trip to the sea-facing spa. A 15-minute treatment is complimentary and can be extended. Each treatment includes a five-minute scalp rub.
There is just enough time to shower before dinner. The candlelight dinner on the beach finishes off a relaxing day.
Medjumbe, located on a tiny private island on the Quirimbus Marine Reserve, is even more serene than Indigo Bay. It’s a 45-minute plane hop from the city of Pemba, Mozambique.
Medjumbe’s rooms are spacious with large bathrooms, and both an indoor and outdoor shower. For a romantic evening, dine on your patio with the background sound of breaking waves. After dinner, jump into your Jacuzzi and relax.
Later, for a spectacular sunset, be prepared to do some light traveling. You have to ride in a pickup truck and a boat to get to the best viewing spot, Desandra Island. Then watch the orange orb sink as you sip a chilled glass of wine.
You’ll get back in time for dinner. The food, especially the homemade ice cream, is delicious. Soft music plays in the dining room. Breakfast is not as quiet. Chirping canaries are everywhere, waiting for guests to finish breakfast so they can feast on leftovers if the waiters do not quickly clear the tables.
During the day, the waters along the resort are a vibrant aqua. They quickly ebb and flow. The water can recede about 100 feet in about 15 minutes. From the loft atop the restaurant, the ocean panorama is jaw dropping.
So is the view in the water with a snorkeling mask. Fish swarm and the coral are plentiful. A ruby red anemone that looks like a huge apple sways to and fro in the water, attracting clown fish which love to hang out near this kind of anemone.
Pick your paradise. Both resorts are so laid back and offer the ultimate in relaxation. You won’t want to leave and you won’t find anything like them in the Caribbean.
IF YOU GO
The easiest way to get to any of Mozambique’s Rani Resorts is from Johannesburg via Vilancolus or Pemba.
Single entry visas are US $85 per person. If you go to both and fly back to Johannesburg, you will have to purchase two separate visas.