The vision is to provide the ultimate in private luxury hideaways in stunning undiscovered destinations.
Azura Quilalea is a hidden gem, somewhere to retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life, with a relaxed and understated ‘Robinson Crusoe’ castaway style that belies the comforts and experiences on offer. Attention to detail, as ever with Azura, is paramount in the design, the finishes, and the overall wow factor of the island experience.
Azura Quilalea is an Eco-Boutique Retreat. Whilst the Quirimbas Archipelago stretch from Pemba to the Northern border with Tanzania, only the very southern part of the archipelago, where Quilalea is located, forms a fully protected marine sanctuary.
Conscious of this pristine natural environment and the need to preserve it, Azura Quilalea has embarked on a unique energy saving project, whereby solar power, wind generation, rainwater harvesting, and eco-friendly rechargeable crystal batteries are used in combination with normal generators and desalination plants to provide the island’s power and water. The aim is for all basic functions to run without the need to switch on generators for lengthy periods, and also to switch generators off completely at night to ensure maximum tranquility for our guests.
Uniquely at Azura Quilalea, guests can control their own energy consumption through a wall switch at their villa. They can opt for ‘ECO’ or ‘LUXE’, Eco resulting in power for the bare minimum requirements for the room, such as basic lighting and fan, or Luxe providing all mod cons including air conditioning.
In keeping with the uninhabited nature of the island, the retreat consists of only nine seafront villas, accommodating eighteen guests.
The villas are built from natural coral stone and makuti thatch, and have all been revamped to increase comfort and make better use of the interior space, with natural finishings, indoor/outdoor showers, private decks stretching out to the beach, daybeds and sun-loungers for relaxing.
Guests can choose between three categories of villas: 4 Kaskazi Villas, 4 Kusi Villas, and Villa Quilalea. The island may also be booked out in its entirety for a complete private island experience. The villas are open-plan and spacious, with stylish décors of wood, cotton and materials such as rope, pebbles and rattan, all blending in seamlessly with the island surroundings. Guests need only take a few steps to the gleaming beach, or they may choose to bask on their sun lounger, recline in their sala, or cool off in their outdoor shower.
Kusi Villas have the premium locations, with an additional outdoor shower and beach sala. The cliff-top Villa Quilalea offers the most astounding accommodation for a couple in the whole archipelago, with a private plunge pool, feature bathroom & dressing room, an outdoor shower, and its own separate sitting/dining area.
Quilalea Island is one of the Southernmost islands in the pristine Quirimbas Archipelago, 30 nautical miles North of Pemba. It has one of only a few safe deepwater moorings in the area, where the Portuguese and Arab traders traditionally found sanctuary for their dhows. Along with its sister island Sencar, it is one of the few properties in the entire Archipelago to lie within a fully protected marine reserve, ensuring an abundance of marine life.
The island is approximately 86 acres (35 hectares) in size and apart from Azura Quilalea staff and guests, it is completely uninhabited.
The island is covered in indigenous vegetation, with statuesque age old baobab groves and stunning flora and fauna, a real nature lowers paradise. There are 4 large sandy beaches on the island, the villas are spread along 2 of them, the main beach always has boat access, and remote and beautiful turtle beach is home to dozens of nesting turtles and is an excellent spot for a private picnic lunch.
Its just as amazing below the sea, with snorkeling accessible off the beaches and around most of the island, patrolled by huge potato bass and schools of hunting jacks and a spectacular house reef for diving just a short fin kick away from the main beach. This is paradise for lovers of marine life and marine experiences.
Access – Guests can arrive at Azura Quilalea Private Island via flights to Pemba in Mozambique, from Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi.
From Pemba Airport, it is a scenic helicopter flight of just 25 minutes along the stunning Mozambique coastline and over the islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago to the helipad at Azura Quilalea Private Island.
The helicopter is operated by Archipelago Charters. In the event it’s not available for any reason, an alternative transfer will be arranged by fixed wing aircraft to/from Quirimba Island by Azura, with the normal boat connection Quilalea-Quirimba.
CRA offers flight links from Quirimba Island with Ibo and Medjumbe if a 2 centre is required. See CRA flight schedule for full details. Flight times are approx. 5 minutes to/from Ibo and 40 minutes to/from Medjumbe. Minimum 2 pax. All timings are estimates based on the daily schedule and commitments, which is designed to work around arriving and departing international flights. Dedicated charters may be available outside of these times.
Azura Quilalea is hot and humid year round, with long sunny days and temperatures rarely below 24 degrees day and night.
Trade winds do bring cooling breezes, North Easterly from October to March with the chance of some showers, and the slightly stronger but dry South Easterly trade wind from April to September. Our villas are positioned to take best advantage of the natural breezes.
Rainy season: ‘Mango Rains’ commence in late October, bringing occasional light showers. Jan – March are hot and humid months, where temperatures often hit 35 degrees+, with tropical rainbursts, most often in the late afternoons or overnight bringing welcome relief from the heat. April to October are normally hot and dry months.
Weather patterns globally are changing, and rains in the past couple of years have become more unpredictable, with the rainy season having become shorter and later most recently. This is however no predictor of future weather patterns!
The water temperature is warm year round and ranges from 28-32 degrees +.
Cuisine at Azura Quilalea is focused around the natural produce available locally, in line with the island’s ‘Eco Ethos’. Lots of fresh fish and seafood dominate the menu, with dining a relaxed and laid back affair.
Guests receive Azura’s trademark Mozambican host service, where they try to make the dining experiences different through a range of unique and special venues and set-ups.
Should you have particular dietary requirements it is advisable to alert us as far in advance as possible, as some specialist ingredients may take time for us to procure.
For the wine connoisseur, there is a wine cellar stocked with fine wines from the owner’s 5 estates, as well as wines from Azura’s own Chateau flown in from France’s Loire Valley. The wine cellar makes an excellent venue for a more formal private dining experience.
- Beach picnics / private dining experiences
- Island Baobab nature walk
- Mangrove Kayaking on nearby Sencar Island
- Scuba Diving and Padi diving courses
- Snorkelling and guided snorkelling trips
- Deep sea fishing
- Sea kayaking
- Dhow sailing
- Dhow Sunset Cruise
- Island hopping and remote beach picnics
- Cultural visits including nearby historic Ibo Island
- Tours of the working coconut plantation on Quirimba Island and the local village
- Gym in a bag
- Spa Treatments
The Island is available for sole use on request.
Private Charter flights are available to Pemba through Elite Jet in Johannesburg at reasonable rates. Aircraft seat 8-19 pax.
Quirimba Island has a 1000m grass runway which is in excellent condition year round. It accommodates a range of smaller light aircraft such as a Pilatus PC12. Many of the Tanzanian game reserves are in easy reach, with immigration procedures available at Pemba.
Children are welcome in the Kaskazi and Kusi Villas at Azura Quilalea, and the marine paradise offers numerous possibilities for children and families. We ask that guest privacy always be respected, and younger children may be asked to dine earlier or in their villa.
Can be arranged on request.
Recommended Length of Stay
To take full advantage and enjoy everything on offer at Azura at Quilalea we recommend a minimum of 5 nights, preferably longer.
Mozambique is a malaria area and suitable prophylactics are advised. Quilalea Island is considered a low risk malaria area as it does not have a local population or any natural standing water.
Guests coming to Mozambique from countries that are known to be at risk of yellow fever (including Kenya, Tanzania, Congo and Angola) are now required to present vaccination certificates.
Medical facilities locally are extremely limited. We stock basic first aid supplies and popular medications. Please bring any medication that may be required. Azura has Medivac Insurance from Pemba for medical emergencies.
Useful Things to Know
- Check out is at 10h30 on the day of departure.
- The local Mozambique currency is the Metical however SA Rand and US Dollars are widely accepted.
- We accept MasterCard and Visa cards. In accordance with International & Mozambican Credit Card Banking Laws, guests wishing to settle their accounts with Credit Card will be processed in Meticas (Mozambican currency) even though prices are quoted in US Dollars.
- Guests will be charged 17% Mozambique tax on top of any credit card payments We do not take AMEX/Diners Cards or travellers cheques.
- Cash is also accepted.
- Wireless internet and a computer with internet access are available in the media room. Bandwidth is limited by the satellite connection.
- A laundry service is available daily and will need to be ready to collect by 9am each morning to ensure a same day return service weather permitting. Where possible laundry is air dried and a 24 hour turnaround cannot be guaranteed.
- Quilalea Island is part of a Marine National Park and conservation is a priority. We ask that guests do not pick up live shells or buy shells. National Park Fee is $20 per guest per stay
- Quilalea is in a very remote location, and certain items may not be obtainable from time to time. Understanding is appreciated.
- Our water supply is very limited, with all water being supplied by innovative rainwater harvesting and desalination. Water usage may be restricted when in short supply.
- Quilalea generates its own power, and in line with our Eco initiative the generators do not run at night unless too many guests elect to opt for the ‘Luxe’ setting at night. Basic villa amenities such as lighting and fans are still available at night.
Marine Life / Flora and Fauna
The Quirimbas National Park extends from just south of Quilalea, to just north of Rolas and Matemo Islands. A WWF study in 2007 concluded that Quilalea and its sister Sencar island were the only totally protected areas in the park, and an important breeding and nesting ground for Olive Ridley, Green and Hawksbill Turtles. The turtles breed from August, nest from October to January, and hatch up until April each year. Humpback whales can also be seen from July to October.
In the ocean surrounding Quilalea, there are near-pristine inshore and offshore coral reef; sea-grass beds, upon which the turtles feed; good stocks of pelagic fishes, and long stretches of sandy beaches, ideal for swimming, walking or just relaxing.
- Turtles year round
- Turtle Nesting Season: October to April
- Whales humpback – mid July to mid October
- Dolphins – year round
Quilalea is home to several ancient baobab groves, and a variety of flora and fauna, including a fascinating array of butterflies.
Azura has a small boutique; however the opportunity for shopping beyond this is not possible.
Quilalea Island has no formal infrastructure such as roads, municipal power, shops etc. there is no postal service to the island, and it is best to come prepared with most of what you think you might need whilst on the island.
Environment and the community
Azura is seen by the Mozambican authorities as a model for ethical sustainable community based tourism. Azura has a firm policy of upliftment, which means most hosts, housekeeping staff, gardeners and so on at the property are Mozambican. Azura’s Rainbow Fund is the first registered charity of its kind in Mozambique. It supports a variety of social and environmental projects large and small, from Azura Benguerra Island building a new school for its community, to environmental protection initiatives. At Quilalea, that particularly includes monitoring and marking turtle nests, as the island is one of the most important turtle nesting sites in the whole Quirimbas Archipelago, and ensuring protection of the reefs from local fishermen. Azura works alongside the National Park and local communities and have a dedicated environmentalist and community officer employed by the Azura group . Guests are encouraged to get involved with the projects as much or as little as they would like to during their stay and guests are also invited to contribute $10 per night at the end of their stay towards the Rainbow Fund. This will be automatically added to their bill on check-out, but is discretionary and can be removed.