Crusoe invented castaway chic, but Vamizi Island Lodge defines it, with thirteen impossibly romantic timber villas strung loosely along one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Simply grand or grandly simple – this lodge isn’t about the usual five star luxury and all mod cons, it’s about the more rarified pleasures of exclusive island life.
Imagine wafting through muslin and filtered sunlight, flopping straight from your room into a private ocean and enjoying elegant lunches with your toes in the sand…
It’s hard to compete with the perfect desert island, so we don’t. We just take what comes on the breeze, and mould it into a more civilized form.
‘on the shoreline, with to-die-for views of the ocean’
Exclusivity is one of Vamizi Island’s greatest assets and, as the only lodge on the island, it has the space to spread wide, so each villa amply commands its own part of the beach.
Thirteen villas – one or two bedroomed – are right on the shoreline, all with to-die-for views of the ocean.
Both airy and generous – with over 170 square metres of timbered floor to pad about on, they have plenty of space for spreading beds, sofas, a marble shower and vanity area and outside, a sun deck.
Vamizi Island is not about the ordinary five star stuff, so don’t expect TVs or air conditioning – it’s all about barefoot relaxation and rooms as open as they can be, to catch the natural breezes.
That said, if you can’t drag yourself away from your villa, there’s a mini-bar and the means for a deluxe cup of tea or coffee – as well as private dinners in the room on request. Beyond that, we just leave you alone, in the peace of your own private paradise.
‘the Vamizi seas – which lodge residents share with no other tourists at all – are bristling with big ocean action’
For all those who love to flop, there’s another bunch who need to flip. On the surface, Vamizi Island is utterly mellow.
Go a few feet below and everything changes, as the Vamizi seas – which lodge residents share with no other tourists at all – are bristling with big ocean action. Some of the dives here are said to be the best in the world and the deep sea fishing better than the whole East African coast.
Fortunately, we have PADI dive instructors, professional fisherfolk, and all the toys and kit you’d want to make the most of this extraordinary marine world. For the less committed thrill seekers, there are snorkeling trips, castaway picnics,whale watching expeditions and lots of messing about in boats, from kayaks totraditional dhows. Landlubbers may of course prefer to wander the miles of sugar sand untouched beaches, or delve into the bush for a spot of monkey – or bird-watching.
The humpback whales know it, so do the turtles and the many species of fish that breed in the Vamizi seas: young ones thrive in Vamizi. It’s safe and private, and the living is very easy.
A gently shelving beach, perfect sand and plenty of sunshine make Vamizi Island a haven for parents and children. The sea is rarely rough on the shore and the water is a perfect temperature, with no end of shallows to toddle about in and small wondrous things to see, hear and feel.
There are plenty of toys for children and adults: kayaks, sailboats, snorkelling gear, windsurfers and fishing equipment.
Fishing trips and sea cruises are a full-on marine biology lesson with huge varieties of deep sea fish to be seen emerging from the depths; whales, dolphins or flying fish are often in sight, if not right by the boat.
Scuba instructors can also introduce those slightly older children to their first experiences underwater, whether snorkelling or diving and nature guides can help them discover the island’s land based wonders – exotic birds, monkeys and giant coconut crabs. Three rooms have been specifically designed as family rooms, with large double (possible triple) bedrooms adjoining a central decked lounged area.
All beds are mosquito netted, even though Vamizi is a low- risk malarial area and, for the night time, babysitters can be arranged
Arching out of the Vamizi seas – twelve kilometres long and a kilometre wide – this whale-shaped curve of beach and bush is drenched in sunshine and breezes.
The miles of unpadded white sand and wild bushy interior are also a sanctuary for samango monkeys, coconut crabs and the 112 species of tropical birds that live here, as well as being a haven for the more land-based creatures amongst us.
Like the 100 turtles that nest on Vamizi’s empty shores and are irresistibly drawn to its peace, solitude and perfect harmony year after year, intrepid travellers and rarified pleasure seekers find it’s just the place to rest their weary fins.