The chalets at Bazaruto Lodge are spaced out along a long palm-fringed beach.
Bazaruto Lodge: Our full report
Bazaruto Lodge is a relatively large, resort-style lodge with simple chalets at the far north end of Bazaruto Island. Owned by the Portuguese Pestana group, it's been here for many years, and has a distinctly Mediterranean air and a laid-back feel.
There are 40 chalets at Bazaruto Lodge, all built in A-frame style with thatched roofs and yellow walls, and identical in design and décor. They’re simple but well equipped, the only difference being the location: 28 ‘superior rooms' are built right on the beach, while 12 'standard rooms' are set slightly further back amongst the vegetation, with no sea views. Because the price difference is relatively small, we usually recommend the ‘superior rooms’ to our travellers.
Each of the bedrooms looks out through glass doors onto a veranda, where there are a couple of chairs. (Note that bungalows to the right of the bar, as you look at the sea, have french doors, which swing open, while those to the left have glass sliding doors.) Inside, you’ll find twin or double beds under large four-poster mosquito nets, bedside tables, reading lights, a dressing table and mirror, and a large chest. Each room also has tea- and coffee-making facilities, a television, air conditioning and a fan. They are simply decorated with painted screed floors, white walls, and bamboo ceilings. The beds are made up with white cotton linen and plum-coloured quilts.
To the rear of each room at Bazaruto Lodge is a brightly decorated bathroom, with a single circular stone basin and mirror, an integrated bath-tub and a separate toilet cubicle. There are shelves and hanging space here, along with a key safe and shaver's socket. A door at the back leads to an enclosed outside shower, open to the sky. Guests are supplied with insect spray and repellent, soap, shower gel, shampoo, body lotion, bottled water, tissues, towels, flannels and dressing gowns.
Bazaruto Lodge has a very large, open-sided thatched bar with its own dhow hanging from the ceiling, which dominates the main area. From here, there are views over the beach to the sea where, when the tide is out, there are plenty of wading birds in the shallows. Note that when the tide is at its lowest, the water immediately in front of the lodge retreats about 3km from the shoreline! Beside the bar, a large swimming pool is set with plenty of comfy sunloungers and umbrellas. As well as being used for casual swimming, the pool is also a teaching area for those learning to dive.
Inside Bazaruto Lodge’s main area is a spacious lounge with plenty of comfortable sofas, and a few board games. The adjacent dining room, where all meals are served, is open-fronted – like the bar – and shares the same view.
Down on the beach, there are plenty of comfortable spots for lounging in the sunshine, whilst you can also arrange a variety of watersports at the nearby dive and activity centre. These include a free daily transfer to Dolphin Bay, one of the beaches on the east side of Bazaruto Island where you can take picnics and play in the waves. Other options (at extra cost) include snorkelling and fishing trips further afield by boat, island-hopping, drives around the island, waterskiing, kayaking and other watersports.
The activity centre at Bazaruto Lodge is also a NAUI diving centre – so diving excursions and scuba-diving courses are available here. (Major courses are best arranged in advance.)
For less strenuous activities, there's a games room in the main lodge at Bazaruto containing a pool table, table football and table tennis. Near this you'll also find a separate quiet library, where there’s a computer with an internet connection (currently free to use) as well as a few books. A curio shop sells local crafts and a reasonable selection of swim- and beach-wear.
Our viewBazaruto Lodge is a friendly and efficiently run resort which is great value. It's not a place where you'll be fussed over, but the staff here are very helpful when asked. It should suit couples as well as families – and although it doesn't offer the quiet seclusion of some of the smaller lodges in this archipelago, it does have a much lower price tag.
Ideal length of stay: 5 nights or more
Directions: The flight with Federal Air from Johannesburg to Vilanculos takes about two hours. It is then a 15-minute hop on a small plane to Bazaruto airstrip. The lodge will pick you up on its tractor for the ten-minute road transfer to the lodge.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Meals at Bazaruto Lodge are served buffet style with plenty of choice, and all are of a very good standard.
At breakfast you are offered pastries, muffins, breads, cereals, fresh sliced fruit (including mango, papaya, pineapple and melon), yoghurt, juice, tea and coffee. There is also the full cooked option if you can fit it in!
An African drum summons guests to lunch and dinner. Both offer a selection of fish and shellfish dishes, and a meat dish or two. These tend to be stews, curries and stir-fry-type dishes served with rice and vegetables. There is a good selection of salads on offer, along with a couple of pudding choices at each meal. During our last visit, in October 2011, we had the option of coconut cake, crème caramel, chocolate gateau and chocolate biscuit cake all in the same day! A cheeseboard is served at dinner.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are excluded, save for tea coffee and juice at breakfast. A Coke will cost around US$2, a cocktail about US$5 and a bottle of wine from about US$20 to US$50.
Beach holidays: There are beaches all over Bazaruto Island with the waters on the western side generally very calm. Thus the tropical beach in front of Bazaruto Lodge is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Mozambique
Diving & snorkelling: Bazaruto Island’s reefs are rich in a variety of fish and coral species; those around the northern end of Bazaruto Island are close and offer excellent diving and snorkelling. The NAUI Dive Centre at Bazaruto Lodge offers sites at a range of depths and with varied reef topography to suit beginner and experienced divers, and even snorkellers too.See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Mozambique
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Bazaruto Lodge; there is no age restriction.
Equipment: High-chairs and cots can be organised on request.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend Bazaruto Lodge for families with older children.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: WiFi internet is available in the main areas free of charge. There is cellphone reception on the island.
TV & radio: There are televisions in the rooms, with news, movie and sports channels.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: Bazaruto Lodge has a nurse on site. Medivac can be utilised in an emergency.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There are guards on site 24 hours a day.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers on each balcony and in the common areas.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: There is an extra charge for laundry, which is machine washed and tumble dried.
Money: There are key safes in every room. Bazaruto Lodge will change small amounts of currency if guests request it.