Benguerra Lodge: Our full report
Benguerra Lodge, on the western coast of Mozambique's Benguerra Island, is positioned on its own beautiful ...... palm-fringed bay about a kilometre down the beach from Azura. The lodge was recently taken over by a top safari operator who knows how to deliver luxury and high quality. We have not seen it since they refurbished it, though we know that they replaced the traditional north African design with a more contemporary beachy look.
There are four types of rooms at Benguerra Lodge:
- 10 Casitas - these are huge open-plan chalets, built of stone and thatch with their longest sides looking out over the beach. They have lots of space and their own plunge pools. (Read more about the Casitas here... )
- 2 Cabanas - which are very similar, and decorated in the same style, but much smaller. They still have great views and a private plunge pool, but lack the bathtub, the view from the bed and the amount of open deck space that the Casitas have.
- 1 Villa - which sleeps four people in comfort, comes with its own chef and is perfect for honeymooners wanting more privacy, or families.
Finally, if you're travelling with children (aged 8-17), and staying in a Casita, then it's possible for your children to stay in one of 10 bungalows which are set back from the beach. These are for children only; they are not available for adults to stay in.
These bungalows at Benguera Lodge are built slightly off the ground on wooden stilts. (In fact, they are the old rooms that the lodge had, prior to 2008!) They are open-fronted from about waist-height upwards, with bamboo blinds which can be lowered at night, and set back from the beach – one behind each Casitas. The beds have mosquito nets but there is no fan. There is an indoor shower and sink, and flushing toilet. These are relatively simple rooms, without outside decks, plunge pools or sea-views.
In the main area of Benguerra Lodge you'll find a small curio shop, lovely bar and large open-sided lounge area with plenty of comfy seating, a good selection of coffee table books, chess and other board games. Through the bar you'll find an open-sided dining room which looks over the gardens, although dinners are often served outside on the deck or even on the beach.
Whilst the Villa and each Casita and Cabana at Benguerra has its own plunge pool, there is also a small pool near to the main lodge which is used predominantly for diving lessons. In front of the pool on the beach is a great beach bar which has been cleverly fashioned from an old dhow boat - it's the perfect spot for enjoying a sun-downer as the beach is west-facing.
The activity centre is a 5-minute walk up the beach from Benguerra Lodge. From here you can arrange salt water and deep water fly-fishing, snorkelling trips, diving, island hopping tours, dhow cruises, kayaking, island landrover tours and horse-riding. Benguerra also offers massages and a modest range of treatments, which can either be carried out in the treatment room or in the comfort of your own room.
Benguerra Lodge is in a beautiful spot and the lovely beachfront rooms have some of the best beach-views of any of the lodges on Benguerra. Come here to relax and unwind - a superb stop at the end of a safari.
Country manager: Mozambique
- Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
- Ideal length of stay
- 5 nights or more
- The flight with Pelican Air from Johannesburg to Vilanculos takes approximately 2 hours. It is then a 15 minute hop on a small plane to Benguerra airstrip. The lodge will pick you up in its 4WD for the 10 minute road transfer to the lodge.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- The meals at Benguerra are served buffet style at breakfast and lunch, and served to your table in the evenings.
At breakfast you can help yourself to a selection of cereals, fresh fruit, muffins, toast, a cooked breakfast and tea and coffee.
On our most recent visit to Benguerra the lunch buffet consisted of a very good selection of salads - including pasta salad, avocado salad and green salad - and an array of freshly caught fish dishes. We chose from calamari, prawns and fish cakes, as well as barbequed chicken drumsticks. Pudding is also served if you have room!
For an idea of the kind of dish that is served at supper, we were offered a choice of clam chowder or calamari and chorizo pasta for starters, followed by crayfish or lamb for main course. For dessert we could choose between a choice of lemon pudding or cheese and biscuits.
We found that overall the standard of food at Benguerra was very good, although as meals are based primarily on sea-food, guests need to let us know if this does not suit them, so that we can warn the lodge beforehand and they can organise alternative options (which they are very happy to do).
- Benguerra is a peaceful and secluded lodge, ideal for a Mozambique honeymoon. The rooms have big bath tubs and outside showers, and are very private. Romantic activities such as sunset dhow cruises and trips to deserted beaches can be arranged, or a massage in your own room!
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- Beach holidays
- Benguerra Island’s pale, sandy beaches are beautiful and this old, established lodge can deliver a superb beach holiday – amongst the best bets after a Southern Africa safari.
- See ideas for Beach holidays
- Diving & snorkelling
- Benguerra has a fully-equipped dive centre and NAUI dive courses are offered. The reefs are pristine and rich in a variety of fish and coral species; with a range of depths to suit beginner and experienced divers, and snorkellers too.
- See ideas for Diving & snorkelling
- Riding holidays
- Benguerra Lodge stables ten horses near the lodge. It offers guided horseback riding around its local area, including along the pristine white, palm-fringed sandy beach in front of the lodge. Feeling the ocean spray as you gallop through the waves is unforgettable.
- See ideas for Riding holidays
- A plunge pool on your private veranda with stunning views across the ocean awaits you at the luxurious Benguerra Lodge. Treat yourself to a pampering massage and end the day with a sundowner at the very cool beach bar made from an old dhow.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are welcome at Benguerra, although children under the age of 12 must vacate the lounge and bar area by 7pm.
- Special activities & services
- Babysitting is offered for a nominal fee, and special kids' meals can also be prepared on request. (note that baby-sitters are local lodge staff; they are not secialy-trained.)
- Generally recommended for children
- Yes, for children aged 12 years and older - although this is more of a honeymoon destination than a family resort.
- A third bed can be put into the Casitas at Benguerra if parents are traveling with one child.
- There is fairly good mobile phone reception and WI-FI at Benguerra Lodge. The cost of internet facilities is US$ 55 per hour.
- TV & radio
Saving the last remaining Dugongs
The waters surrounding the Benguerra Lodge are home to Africa’s last remaining population of Dugong, a medium-sized marine mammal which is at risk of facing extinction in the next 40 years. Recent aerial surveys and population estimates indicate that Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago National Park retains no more than 200 Dugongs. In partnership with SOS - Save Our Species, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) partnered with the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, Benguerra Lodge is investing in the Dugong Emergency Protection Project. The initiative is aimed at preventing Dugong bycatch and habitat loss. In order to ensure the sustainability of such efforts, solutions for finding alternative livelihood options, capacity building and local education for these fishing communities will be researched.
The National Geographic praise this lodge for their dedication to marine sustainability. Guests are offered the chance to take a boating excursion to find these rare animals and can choose to join a researcher to learn about the dugong and other wildlife in the ocean or go snorkelling and diving, searching for the rare dugong – truly a once in a lifetime experience.
The conservation team also works in conjunction with the Africa Foundation to provide alternative food sources to reduce the local community’s dependence on ocean resources. Conservation lessons are also given to five schools to raise awareness of the plight of the Dugong.
Benguerra Island has an estimated population of between 1 500 – 2 000, living within three villages. To ensure the wellbeing of locals, Benguerra Lodge and Africa Foundation are raising funds to complete the construction of a clinic on Benguerra Island, which was started to remedy the fact that there are no health facilities. Residents currently need to travel by dhow boat to Vilanculos to receive medical attention.
See more great sustainability projects in Mozambique
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The managers at Benguerra Lodge are first-aid trained. It is possible to call out MedEvac in an emergency (a jet can be on the island within 45 minutes of an emergency call).
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Guards patrol the lodge grounds 24 hours a day.
- Fire safety
- There is a fire hose under each Casita and Cabana which can be utilised in the event of a fire.
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- There are safe deposit boxes in the rooms.
- Accepted payment on location
- The lodge accepts Visa, Mastercard and all major currencies. Benguerra lodge does not accept travellers' cheques or Amex.
Room types at Benguerra Lodge
The Casitas at Benguerra Lodge are huge stone and thatch chalets, and are completely open plan with a lounge area, sleeping area, and bathroom at the far end. These rooms make the most of their lovely position: with the folding shuttered windows and doors open, you can enjoy wonderful views to the beach and sea beyond. Richly decorated in North African style, the rooms have a decadent feel to them. The floors are terracotta screed, the walls a rusty orange colour, and the dark wooden furniture is beautifully carved.
The lounge area consists of a wicker coffee table and two cushioned chairs. Hidden in a dresser there is a fridge which can be stocked with your choice of drinks, along with tea and coffee making facilities. There is also a large wardrobe with electronic safe, and a large full length mirror with intricately carved border.
The beds have dark wooden headboards, are adorned with quilted throws and are surrounded by four-poster style mosquito nets. Either side you will find bedside tables with beaded reading-lamps.
There is no air-con in any of the Casitas at Benguerra Lodge, which means that things could get rather sticky at certain times of the year (especially if you want to keep the shutters closed at night to keep the mosquitoes out), but a stand-alone fan is provided.
The real feature of the open-plan bathroom is the lovely stand-alone copper bath and this is matched with twin copped washbasins and brass fittings. There is a separate room housing the toilet, and double shuttered doors lead out to the enclosed outside shower, with its lovely mosaic floor and dry-stone wall style enclosure. Plenty of toiletries are provided including soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and citronella insect repellant. There is also a hair-dryer.
Outside your Casita is a private decked area, which leads directly onto the beach at Benguerra. You have your own plunge pool, sunbeds and a shaded area with table and chairs. Down on the beach is your own thatched shady sala, complete with canvas sunbeds.
Other lodges in Bazaruto Archipelago
Alternative places to stay in this same area.