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Resting in a marine sanctuary, mercifully free of mosquitoes, Quilalea lies off the shores of Pemba. Without doubt one of the finest lodges in Northern Mozambique the island is uninhabited apart from nine beautifully crafted villas (all made from local materials) Covering an area of 34 hectares and taking approximately 45 minutes to walk around this is one of the most romantic islands on the African coast; rugged and formed largely from rough, ragged coral Quilalea’s charm is undeniable; something very special indeed.

All of the villas and ‘lounging about’ areas take up one corner of the island, split between the 2 main beaches. The separate dining area and bar in the centre are designed to take full advantage of both sunrise and sunset and the rooms themselves are dominated by large mosquito draped beds and wonderful en-suite bathrooms; lie on your bed with the doors wide open towards the sea beyond; views are simply breathtaking.

The food here is simply fantastic. Fresh seafood is the main theme, caught that morning and cooked in a traditional Mozambican style. Its surprising however that with the restaurant located right on the corner of the island, with views either side of the ocean and neighbouring islands beyond, it does not often get used for dinner, or lunch for that matter! Hidden beaches and coves throughout the island provide the perfect dining areas. The restaurant is usually only used for breakfast.

Various activities include spectacular snorkeling (which is unbelievable right outside your room) and scuba diving, (which also can even be done from your room) in water temperatures ranging between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius. Kayaking and dhow sailing along the mangrove channels of neighbouring islands, bird and whale watching in season, deep sea sport fishing and day trips to historic Ibo Island mean that there is something for even the most restless traveller.

Quilalea offers the perfect retreat; if ever it was true to say that the longer you stay, the less you want to leave, it is here!

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Written by  Julian Carter-Manning.

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