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September 19, 2007

African Eco-chic

With its civil war behind it, Mozambique is now a whole new type of hotspot.

Mozambique’s pristine Bazaruto Archipelago has been called Africa’s Galapagos. And Azura at Gabriel’s has been called the country’s first boutique eco-retreat (though try telling that to Ibo Island Lodge, which recently opened in the coral-fringed northern archipelago of Quirimbas). Opening October 1, Azura is set beneath the palms on Benguerra Island — the second largest in the Indian Ocean archipelago — amid the world’s last sustainable herd of endangered “sea cow.” Each of the resort’s 15 thatched-roof villas comes with its own private infinity pool, while the presidential villa punches up the posh quotient with indoor and outdoor bathrooms, Jacuzzi, and a sitting room with fireplace. And while there’s plenty to do on the island — luxuriating in Azura’s beachside African Spa; chowing down on sushi at Star Bar — there’s hardly a dearth of on-the-water activities. In addition to snorkeling, kayaking, and big game fishing, the resort’s resident “dugong protection team” will escort you on a sea cow-spotting voyage. And just two miles beyond the protected island, Two Mile Reef offers Mozambique’s best diving with staghorn coral and tropical fish.

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read more: 02. Sleep | romantic | secluded | villa | 04. Eco | 07. Beach | 09. Active |

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