Reviews of Azura at Quilalea
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A beautiful resort
We arrived at Quilalea minus our luggage (which was still in Dar es Salaam), so it wasn't the best start to our paradise honeymoon! However the staff at Quilalea bent over backwards to help - we were taken shopping in Pemba on our way to the transfer and so had managed to buy a few essentials. Once on the island some other guests lent us clothes and our bags arrived after 3 days.
The island itself is beautiful - and our villa was spectacular. It was nice to meet in the bar each evening to discuss if we wanted to do any activities the following day. We did a Discover Scuba course and enjoyed it so much that we went on to dive nearly every day (accompanied by the Divemaster Janine).
The marine life and corals were beautiful and we also had the most amazing experience of snorkelling with dolphins.
Mark was also the first ever guest to do the 4 1/2 hour kayak to Ibo island (with Nathan, one of the staff.) We also chartered the Islands' catamaran for half a day which we really enjoyed as a change from diving and snorkelling.
The food on the island was superb and the restaurant staff very friendly and chatty. It's a pretty laid back place with a very relaxed atmosphere. As with the other lodges we stayed at, we couldn't find fault.
Barefoot luxury on an intimate island
We had a wonderful stay. Even after 10 days we left wanting more, especially as our days could get busy with two dives.
We had room 9 booked and confirmed but when we arrived we were allocated another room. We showed our voucher and luckily room 9 was to be used by other guests arriving that day so a swap was possible. Not sure what would have happened otherwise! Definitely go for rooms 8 or 9, then 6/7. Rooms 1-5 are nearer the generator which runs 24 hours.
Great dive school. Well organised, and everything arranged for you, including carrying of heavy equipment to the boat.
Great food too with lots of delicious local seafood. Staff very friendly and willing but their English was often limited to the extent they could not answer queries or take instructions, eg, coffee ordered for 7.15 came at 7.45. Language barrier also a bit of an issue with the massage girls as you could not tell them anything about the treatment you hoped for.
Good other range of activities - kayaking, walking round the island, picnic lunch, visits to other islands. The trip to Ibo, while very worthwhile, was rather overpriced at $400 we felt compared to the cost of other boat trips.
Expert Africa comments
Quilalea's owner, Marjolaine, commented that they realize that their luxury yacht, Kiraku, is costly, but that this due to the high price of maintaining and fuelling the craft in such a remote area. They had tried to find other guests who wanted to share the costs of the fascinating trip to Ibo, but sadly on this occasion it wasn't possible.
The staff on the island have come a very long way since this remote lodge started. Levels of education in this area of Mozambique were very low, and a lodge like this has to train most of its staff from scratch. Bearing this in mind, what the staff have achieved so far is fantastic.
Most already speak at least 4 languages, including Portuguese, and whilst classes for learning English continue, it will be some time before everyone attains a high standard.
Overall the experience was excellent.
Some of the activities appeared a little expensive, eg the trip to Ibo Island.