Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa

Two plane flights, plus a drive and you arrive to this tiny island off the coast of Mozambique in the Bazaruto Archipelago. The former Indigo Bay Hotel was the nicest accommodation on the island when it opened in 2001. In May 2014, the property was touched up and relaunched by Anantara, giving travelers a comfortable base to experience Bazaruto’s natural beauty and local culture. The hotel has its own in-house naturalist and a whip-smart, PADI-certified dive instructor who can take guests snorkeling and diving. The Bazaruto Archipelago has been a national park since 1971 and is home to more than 100 species of coral, four types of whales, sea turtles, mantarays, dolphins, and it boasts the largest population of the rare dugong on the African east coast. In addition to water activities, Anantara can arrange cooking classes, horse riding, dune boarding, and bird watching (Bazaruto is home to 180 species of birds).

But this resort isn’t only for active types. It equally caters to sybarites who are seeking R&R in a remote place. The 44 villas are all spacious and many come with large outdoor patios with dining areas and plunge pools. A highlight is the spa, perched high above the property. Make sure to arrive early and save time after to truly enjoy the views. The resort works closely with the local community, many of whom are employed by the hotel. Guests can visit one of the local villages and observe some of the community projects Anantara helps fund. But the best way to get to know the locals is simply by interacting with the friendly staff.

Guests at Anantara Bazaruto Resort can opt to explore this very different side of the island by sandboard (think snowboarding down sand dunes), safari Jeep, or on horseback. I went on a horseback ride up at sunset. The uphill was lovely, but going down a towering sand dune atop a horse is about as scary as dropping down a double black diamond run on skis. But my horse mastered the vertical drop expertly. More terrifying than the drop was the ride around the freshwater lake, which my guide said is inhabited by 12-foot long Nile crocodiles. Luckily the few we saw were snoozing far away.

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