Benguerra Island, Mozambique

IMG_5174Hello, friends!  It has been a while since Jamie and I went on a vacation, but we just got back from our honeymoon!!
We went to Benguerra Island, Mozambique and was so beautiful!  We went to another &Beyond property and it was definitely the right choice.  I cannot say this enough, if you are planning a trip, pretty much anywhere in Africa, check out &Beyond properties. IMG_5033 They will make your visit really memorable.  This trip was just one hour on a little plane from Joburg to Vilankulos then a 15 minute helicopter ride to the island lodge!
Benguerra Island is one of 5 islands off the coast of Vilankulos, Mozambique.  Apparently, a couple of months ago the team filming the next Planet Earth was filming the neighboring island, Bazaruto.  The lodge set us up a private picnic on the beach on Bazaruto and it was so amazing.  The island is uninhabited and completely perfect.  Not sure why or how, but there were about 30 goats in a small green space over the dunes.  The dunes on these islands were unreal.  They were so tall and rolled right into the ocean, some of which had no footprints on them.  We had never been to a beach so undeveloped.  It was the most beautiful way to see a beach.IMG_5204

We also took a drive on the island we were staying, Benguerra Island.  The locals who lived there had their owIMG_5125n small villages and were mostly fisherman, obviously.  &Beyond helps support the locals, as well.  They built their school, buy their catches of the day, and gives jobs at the lodge to the locals, among other things.  We drove to the other side of the island to another completely undisturbed beach. There were little crabs that lived on the beach and not too far away was a brackish pond with a crocodile or two in it, as well as flamingos!!  Seeing flamingos in their natural environment was awesome.

The beach was so calm, like glass.  We rode the paddle boards for a while one afternoon and you could see straight to the bottom.  The current was pretty strong still so it took us a while to get back to shore.  Kind of exhausting.  One day we went out snorkeling with some other couples who were staying there and where we went the water was ROUGH!!  They called the spot before the reef the “washing machine”.  Still had a decent snorkel and saw some really cool fish.  There is an animal called a dugong that is only in 2 places in the world and this was one of those places.  They are in the manatee family, but sadly we never got to see one.  They say there are only about 200 of them left in the waters off Mozambique, making it an endangered animal.  I really wish we could have seen it.  We went deep sea fishing the next day and didn’t catch anything worth anything, but saw some dolphin and sea turtles on the way back. It was really nice being out on the sea all morning, even though we didn’t catch anything.

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The food at the lodge was spectacular!!  We finally got seafood!!  We never get good seafood in Joburg.  They gave us our breakfast and lunch in our private suite that overlooked the ocean.  IMG_0355At sundown we went over to this fire pit they had on the beach and had a couple of cocktails while the sun went down before dinner was served either on the beach or in the main area of the lodge.  One evening IMG_0354we rode a local fisherman’s boat, called a dhow, and watched the sunset.  It was so peaceful.  The lodge rents the dhow’s from the locals for sunset cruises like that.  They are simple wooden boats with sails and it was perfect.  They also had an old dhow built into the beach and converted into a bar, which was pretty cool.

IIMG_5273 think the coolest thing we did the whole trip were the horse rides.  One day we rode the horses around the island and along the beach.  The second day we “swam with the horses” and that was so magical.
They walked into the water while we rode bare backed.  It was so cool how we were able to experience that.  However, I did come to realize very quickly that I am very allergic to horses.  I was so red and and itchy by the time the island ride was over, I had to shower it all off and sit inside for a while.  But I still loved it.

The whole trip was so wonderful and relaxing!  After having an action packed wedding week, it was a great trip to just get away and do nothing, have no agenda.  On to the next!!