By Janis Theron
What does it take for a lodge in Mozambique to win an award? And what kind of awards do lodges win? There are some pretty great accommodation kings and queens out there which deserve all kinds of awards: from the eco side to the community angle, the luxury facility side and the best value for money angle. There are some huge global lodge competitions out there including the Safari Awards, the Deserted Beaches Award, the Best Small Hotel Award, the Best in Community Empowerment Awards, the Responsible Tourism Awards and the World Luxury Hotel Awards – to name but a few. Let us take a look at 5 of the top Mozambique Lodges which have won awesome awards during the past 5 years:
1. Ibo Island Lodge
Ibo Island Lodge is faring rather well in the awards stakes – they won the Best Marine Property in Africa, runner up, at the 2014 Safari and in the Mozambique country section the lodge also scooped the following:
• Best Mobile Safari Operator: Winner Ibo Island Lodge Dhow Safaris
• Best Community focused Property: Winner Ibo Island Lodge
• Best Marine Safari Property: Winner Ibo Island Lodge
• Best Safari property in Mozambique: Runner up Ibo Island Lodge
• Best Value Safari Property: Runner up Ibo Island Lodge
Well, it all goes to show! Aptly described as “one of the most magical, atmospheric and unique lodges in Africa”, Ibo Island Lodge is made up of three beautifully restored ancient mansions, situated on prime seafront land on the fantastical and idealistic Ibo Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago National Park of northern Mozambique.
The best part about staying at Ibo is the daily boat transfer to the stunning secret sand bank beach. This is also one of the only islands where you can enjoy guided historical tours with a strong cultural emphasis and, wait for it, Ibo is the only lodge in the Quirimbas to offer mobile island hopping dhow and kayak safaris! Book the recently upgraded Villa Paradiso for your out-of-this-world family holiday – complete with five luxury bedrooms, a private swimming pool and stunning garden, own chef and butler, own private dhow and skipper!
2. Azura Quilalea Private Island
Voted finalist in the ‘Best New Safari Camp’ awards, Azura Quilalea is a holiday waiting to happen. This tiny, private island is totally undeveloped, except for the presence of the lodge which has thoughtfully been built using environmental principles. Those who love solitude, scenic beauty and diving come here, to paradise.
The nine rustic chic villas have been cleverly designed from natural coral stone and makuti thatch and all boast the latest facilities in spacious settings. Picture indoor and outdoor showers, private decks, day beds and sun loungers… Stay in the Kaskazi, the Kusi villas or the private Villa Quilalea up on the cliff. Relax in a hammock all day or go snorkeling from your deck to discover fascinating marine creatures. The camp is quite new in comparison to other Quirimbas Island lodges and has been tastefully decorated to pamper and indulge guests in a casual kind of manner. Rest at the cliff-top African spa, enjoy beach picnics alone, take a nature walk or see the local people at work in the coconut plantations on nearby islands.
3. Guludo Beach Lodge
Did you know that this luxurious, advanced and worldly beach lodge is situated on one of the world’s top 20 Deserted Beaches? This is thanks to The Observer in the UK – and it is true. It is also not the only award that Guludo Beach Lodge has won. The list is very impressive:
• Conde Nast Traveler: Best Small Hotel 2012 (including the Best for Health initiatives)
• Tourism for Tomorrow Award – from the World Travel and Tourism Council in 2011 for the best example of tourism in the world that does benefit the local community
• Conde Nast Traveler: World Savers Awards 2010 – Guludo was best for Povery, Education, and Overall Best Small Resort.
• Travel & Leisure Global Vision Award 2010
• Conde Nast Traveler World Savers Awards 2010
And the list goes on. What does this say about Guludo? The lodge is tenacious, dedicated and committed to responsible tourism – which also adds value to holidays in Mozambique, of course! Owners are definitely “single-minded” and bent on combining philanthropy and environmental ethics to create a successful tourism model – you have to see it to believe it!
Guludo Beach Lodge is proud of its setting on a 12km long white beach, lined with palm trees and close to some of the poorest people in Africa. When Guludo was established, the lodge set out to assist those in the area – there was virtually no access to clean water and few children made it to school, many of them dying very young. The Nema Foundation is a partnership between the 16 local communities which is now able to provide clean water, food for the school, schools, health care and much much more. The mere presence of the lodge is bringing money and caring people into the area and it seems that poverty is not as bad as it was. Eco tourism, sustainable tourism, responsible tourism – these are the buzz words and principles that Guludo Beach Lodge adheres to and works towards.
4. Nkwichi Lodge Lake Malawi Awards
Situated on the spectacular Lake Malawi on the Mozambique side, Nkwichi Lodge is surrounded by beautiful rocks, untouched forests and stunning beaches – successful Mozambique accommodation built using community skills and resources with an earthy beach atmosphere. And, to crown it all, the lodge has won many awards, some of them being:
• 2012 – Winner Conde Nast Traveler World Saver Awards – ‘Doing it all’ Category for Small Resorts
• 2011 – Winner “To Do Awards” – International Contest for Socially Responsible Tourism
• 2011 – Winner “Best in Community Empowerment” – Kutoa Community Impact Awards
• 2009 – Winner “Africa’s Leading Responsible Tourism Company” – World Travel Awards
• 2008 – Winner “Best Small Hotel” – Responsible Tourism Awards
• 2008 – Finalist “Green Spaces Travel Award” – Times Newspaper
• 2008 – Gold “World Quality Commitment Award” – Business Initiative Directions
• 2008 – Honourable Mention “Education” – Conde Nast Traveler World Savers Awards
It all started more than 20 years ago when two brothers initiated a tourism development that is the epitome of responsible and sustainable tourism. How does a luxury lodge assist the poor people around it, who need to benefit from tourism development in their areas? Lake Nkwichi is a win win lodge in Mozambique and it was born when the brothers found the ideal setting on the Lake, an untouched wilderness so like real beach and opening doors to outdoor activities in nature. The lodge has been designed to blend into its magnificent environment and the owners have not only attracted tourists to the lodge year in and year out, but so too have they managed to start the Manda Wilderness Project where tourism and conservation join hands to help local people and ensure this beautiful place remains unspoilt.
The name says it all – Blue Footprints Eco Lodge is dedicated to eco tourism and fair trade in tourism, hence its recent nomination for the 2015 World Luxury Hotel Awards! The lodge is committed to training and mentoring their staff to improve their skills and follow their dreams. They believe in responsible tourism and want to share this beautiful place in Mozambique with all travelers but still protect the natural environment.
“Blue Footprints is a conservation-orientated and Ecotourism Company dedicated to responsible tourism within the Inhambane area in Mozambique… We believe that in protecting the marine environment, and including the local communities in this process, we can make a difference to the people who call Inhambane home and make steps toward a greater understanding of our underwater environment…”
This award winning lodge uses renewable energy where possible, recycles its rubbish and uses an environmentally friendly drinking water system. It is also off the grid using solar power.
What more is there to say but to mention that these 5 award winning lodges deserve every accolade for their hard work and commitment to the Mozambique people, environment, economy and global tourism! Have you visited one of these lodges yet? Contact us today…