Marlin Lodge is right on a beautiful beach in the south of Benguerra Island…
Marlin Lodge: Our full report
Marlin Lodge is located on Benguerra Island, and is one of the Bazaruto Archipelago most stylish and luxurious lodges. It also has one of the islands most beautiful locations - right on a point, overlooking the tranquil Flamingo Bay.
Marlin Lodge has 14 Luxury Beach Chalets, and three Executive Suites; all of which were totally rebuilt after cyclone Favio struck the Bazaruto Archipelago in February 2007 and caused significant damage to the area. The lodge was thoughtfully reconstructed, all using Mozambican hardwoods, red cladded brick walls, thatched roofs and elevated wooden decks to preserve the plant life.
All of the chalets are a stones-throw from the beach, and have uninterrupted views over the soft white sand and crystal clear waters. They're incredibly spacious, with tall thatched roofs, exposed wooden beams, slate floors, large glass sliding doors and private walkways onto the public beach.
The Luxury Chalets are beautifully decorated in creams and oceanic blues, with touches of African deco. They're open-plan with large glass sliding-doors that lead out onto a private veranda with deck chairs and a hammock. The lounge has plenty of comfortable seating, a well stocked mini bar and tea & coffee making facilities. In the summer months, the ceiling fan and air-conditioning are an extra luxury.
Directly behind the lounge is the open-plan bedroom, which has either a twin, double or four-poster bed; with mosquito nets, crisp white linen and teal bed-throws. Behind the bed is a low wall that partially separates the bathroom. The bathroom is enormous, with a large walk in shower, vanity area, twin basins and a separate loo. At the back of the room, sliding doors lead outside to an enclosed courtyard, with an additional open-air shower.
The Executive Suites are very similar to the Luxury Chalets although they're slightly larger and have four-poster King-size beds. The colours are also different; they're decorated in Autumn shades rather than the ocean blues. The ceilings are much higher, and the rooms don't have ceiling fans – but they do have air-conditioning. An additional feature is a second veranda so there is more outside space. One of the suites also has two single beds in addition to a double, which makes it perfect for families.
Whilst all of Marlin Lodges chalets and suites have direct private access to the sandy beach and their own gazebos, some of the rooms to the south of the main area have rocks in front. This means that you can't swim here at hide tide, unless you take your reef shoes. This does not detract from the beauty of those rooms, as you can walk a few meters down the beach, to an area that's clear for swimming.
One thing to bear in mind about the entire Bazaruto Archipelago, is the rather dramatic tidal range. At Marlin when the tide is at its lowest, it can be up to a few hundred metres out in front of the lodge – especially at spring low. This means that it's only possible to swim in front of the lodge at high tide. However, Marlin Lodge does have a fantastic swimming pool overlooking the beach, and it's long enough to swim lengths in! Alternatively, you can take a beautiful walk around South Point, to the east of the island where the tide doesn't go out as far – although the sea tends to be rougher so take care and watch the currents.
The main area of Marlin Lodge comprises a spacious reception and lounge, a small curio shop, and a reading lounge. Adjacent to this is the large thatched open-fronted dining room, bar, and cocktail lounge. Outside a wooden deck wraps around the building and either leads you to their very well run activity centre, or to a paved veranda with plenty of seating areas, the swimming pool and a beach bar.
For those who can't switch off, Marlin Lodge also has a small business centre. And for those who want to switch off completely, there's a small 'Beauty and Wellness centre' which was recently upgraded into is a Sanctuary Spa. It now offers a variety of high quality and spoiling treatments with Sanctuary's signature products.
Marlin Lodge offers a range of activities which can be booked each night with the guest relations manager in the bar from 7pm onwards. The relevant managers will be there to assist with any queries.
Complimentary activities include, sea kayaking, windsurfers, kite-flying and dhow sunset cruises.
Activities and excursions offered for an additional charge include, water-skiing, knee boarding, wake boarding, snorkelling and diving. A visit to Pansy Island with a picnic - which is situated ½ hour north of Benguerra Island. Deep-sea and fly-fishing – Marlin boasts an exceptional fleet of fishing boats and beautifully kept equipment. The island drive where you can explore the island by vehicle and climb a tall sand dune for breath-taking views, visit fresh water lakes and learn about the fauna, flora and local culture.
Our viewMarlin Lodge is a relaxed and unpretentious, yet very well run lodge. We found the staff friendly and efficient. It's an ideal lodge for honeymooners who want a bit of pampering, divers and anglers who want a well-run activity centre with top-notch equipment, and couples who are simply looking for a relaxing beach holiday.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend a minimum of four nights at Marlin Lodge. This means that you can make the most of their special offer which is valid for the whole of 2012. Stay 4 nights and only pay for 3 nights.
Directions: Marlin Lodge is best reached via daily two-hour flights with Federal Air from Johannesburg to Vilanculos, which is a small town on Mozambique's mainland and is the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago. Then it's a 14km (30 minutes) boat ride from the mainland to Benguerra Island. You can also helicopter right to the lodge or take a light flight to Benguerra airstrip that is a 15-minute drive away. Then it's a 14km (30 minutes) boat ride from the mainland to Benguerra Island.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: All the meals we had at Marlin Lodge were very exceptional – helped in part by the fact that many of the herbs and salads are grown on the premises. This allows them to be as fresh as possible!
Breakfast is served á la carte and when we were last at Marlin Lodge, there was a good variety of options. These ranged from muesli with yoghurt, cornflakes, a continental platter, eggs and a full English breakfast. Breakfast times were leisurely and flexible, though usually served from 07:30 – 10:00 in the dining room.
Lunch was always a choice for each course. For the starter we could choose between gazpacho soup or calamari. For the main we opted for grilled fish and salad. Then desert followed by tea and coffee. Lunch was served from 13:00 – 14:30 in the dining room or by the pool.
Most guests would congregate in the bar for a complimentary cocktail of the day from about 7:00. Dinner was served from 19:30 onwards and would be set either in the dining room, by the pool or weather permitting the beach. On occasion Marlin will do a big beach barbeque with a selection of fish, meat, calamari and seafood being prepared according to you personal preference. However dinner is more usually á la carte with a couple of choices for each course. For the starter we struggled to choose between a blue cheese soup and fishcakes with beetroot salad. Then we had steak with finely sliced potatoes and vegetables for the main. For desert we had a very rich and decedent chocolate mousse.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Selected drinks are included. Champagne and premium imported wines and spirits are an additional cost.
Attitude towards children: The lodge welcomes children of any age.
Equipment: They do have cots and highchairs. There is also one Executive Suite that has a double and two single beds – so perfect as a family room.
Generally recommended for children: Marlin Lodge is quite a smart beach lodge that is probably better suited to adults. However they do have a number of facilities for children, so provided the children don't mind being in a slightly adult atmosphere it should be fine.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: There is cell phone reception however Marlin request that guests only use their mobiles in their rooms. There is also a business centre for guests that has a computer connected to the internet. Portable modems for guests own laptops are also available on request.
TV & radio: There us a TV in the main lounge but it is only ever on if a guest requests it
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: Marlin Lodge have a full clinic and two of the managers are first aid trained. The lodge also has links to medevac for serious emergencies.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There are digital safes in the rooms, and three security guards are always on site.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are dotted around the property and staff are regularly trained how to use them.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at Marlin Lodge. It is machine washed and line or tumble dried. It is always back in 24 hours.
Money: Marlin Lodge can do currency exchange in small amounts. They can exchange British pounds, US and Australian dollars, South African rand, euros and Mozambican Meticals.