At the End of the World: &Beyond Benguerra Island
Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize-winning oeuvre is 1976’s “Mozambique,” a wistful tune that celebrates the southeast African country’s charms with lyrics about aqua blue skies and sun-drenched romance. Though much has changed socially and politically for the country since Dylan vacationed there, you’ll still find the magical land he sang about—particularly in the six-island Bazaruto Archipelago, which remains a relatively untouched paradise of white-sand beaches, crystalline Indian Ocean waters and pristine coral reefs. Benguerra, the second-largest of the islands and a designated national park, is home to just two hotels, and &Beyond Benguerra Island is the only luxury option.
The resort relaunched in 2015 following a total renovation, and thanks to regular service from South African Airways, it’s not a challenge to get there. U.S. travelers can fly to Johannesburg, then hop on a one-hour, 40-minute connection to Vilanculos, Mozambique. From there, the resort arranges quick helicopter transfers. Once in Benguerra, you’ll feel like you’ve landed in another dimension—which makes the posh touches and on-point services all the more impressive. The 13 casita-style accommodations feature plunge pools and extensive outdoor lounging spaces (including private beach huts with swinging beds), as well as colonial design elements such as hand-painted Portuguese tiles in the outdoor showers. Dedicated “house mothers” cater to all the details, from setting up a private meal in the lantern-lit gardens to greeting guests with towels, hot cocoa and cocktails as they return from a dive or snorkel.
Rates include all meals; activities such as sunset sails, horseback rides and village visits; and nightly drinks and tapas in the chic, alfresco Dhow Bar, which is set in a retrofitted wooden boat. Because the island is so undeveloped, &Beyond Benguerra can also arrange uninterrupted experiences, from scenic nature walks to “castaway picnics” on powdery, isolated beaches. During the latter, staffers set up tents, daybeds and gourmet spreads, then retire to a discreet distance, leaving guests with just a walkie-talkie as a link to the real world.