Quilalea Lodge Azura

Located 35 minutes flight off Pemba in Northern Mozambique, Quilalea is a stunning private island where various owners have repeatedly attempted to establish a top end beach lodge. Southern Mozambique’s ‘Azura’ company have recently re-opened the island and the industry is willing them to succeed. The islands remote location has long been its appeal, but also its downfall. The tricky logistics of travelling to the area and sketchy reliability of airlines that have operated flights here have put off many clients. However the reward of putting in the extra effort is one of the continents finest private islands. We absolutely love it.

Quilalea - The Details

Resting in a marine sanctuary, Quilalea lies off the shores of Pemba in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Without doubt one of the finest private islands in Africa the island is uninhabited apart from nine beautifully crafted villas (all made from local materials) and has a number of beaches and small coral bays. Covering an area of 34 hectares and taking approximately 45 minutes to walk around this is one of the most romantic islands on the African coast; rugged and formed largely from rough, ragged coral Quilalea’s charm is undeniable; something very special indeed.
All of the villas and lounging about areas take up one corner of the island, split between the 2 main beaches. The separate dining area and bar in the centre are designed to take full advantage of both sunrise and sunset and the rooms themselves are dominated by large mosquito draped beds and wonderful en-suite bathrooms; lie on your bed with the doors wide open towards the sea beyond; views are simply breathtaking.
Without letting on just how much we like the place, the food here is simply fantastic. Fresh seafood is the main theme, caught that morning and cooked in a traditional Mozambican style. Its surprising however that with the restaurant located right on the corner of the island, with views either side of the ocean and neighbouring islands beyond, it does not often get used for dinner, or lunch for that matter! Hidden beaches and coves throughout the island provide the perfect dining areas. The restaurant is usually only used for breakfast.
Various activities include spectacular snorkeling (which is unbelievable right outside your room) and scuba diving, (which also can even be done from your room) in water temperatures ranging between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius. Kayaking and dhow sailing along the mangrove channels of neighbouring islands, bird and whale watching in season, deep sea sport fishing and day trips to historic Ibo Island mean that there is something for even the most restless traveller.


Quilalea Rates:
$750 per person

Price guarantee
Honeymoon offer 50% for the bride excluding peak season

Our rating

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Client rating
[80% based on 1 reviews]

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Quilalea - Reviews

The island is beautiful and we had a fantastic time.  The helicopter transfer makes it a lot of fun.  The room was great and the snorkelling was fantastic fun.  The reef was less than 5m from the shore!  The food was excellent but the included wine was poor compared to the safaris.  The main criticism here would be the cost of the extras.  The activities and spa treatments were very expensive.  For example, kayaking is free but guided kayaking was $25ppph.  For us that was $75ph for not very much in return. There is no way that reflects the real cost.    The Spa treatments were also hugely expensive (it would be cheaper in a 5 start London hotel).  Finally, we wanted to visit Ibo.  It was a 40 minute boat trip but we had to go by helicopter at $220 pp. for a 3 hour trip.  Whilst Ibo is interesting it is not really worth that sort of money.  Tipping was also a bit rich.  There was suggested tipping at $10-20 pppd for our “butler". Whilst the guy was charming he didn’t do very much.  He served breakfast, lunch and dinner and brought us pre-dinner drinks.  It seemed a bit excessive given what guides on safari do.  The suggested tipping for the remainder of the staff was also $10-20 pppd which looked pricey for a beach resort.  I accept that tips are important to supplement salary but I did wonder if the owners were upping the tipping guidance in order that they could get away with lower salaries.  It just felt a little bit more exploitative that the other hotels.
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