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Five of the best new coastal safari trips, from Madagascar to Mozambique

From a luxurious off-grid lodge in South Africa to beach bungalows in Mozambique, here's our pick of where to go.

The beach bar at Time + Tide Miavana, Madagascar’s ultra-luxury island lodge.

Photograph by Austen Johnston
By Emma Gregg
Published 10 Jul 2022, 06:03 BST

1. Azura Marlin Beach, Mozambique

Best for: diving and snorkelling

Rebuilt and relaunching in 2022, Marlin Beach on Benguerra Island in the Bazaruto Archipelago is the fresh and funky little sister of Azura Benguerra, Mozambique’s original Indian Ocean island eco-lodge. Set on the site of an old sport fishing lodge on Benguerra’s southwest shore, it has its own PADI five-star dive centre. Between scuba sessions and lazy boat trips by dhow, guests can relax in villas with crisp, beachy decor, right on the sand. 

2. Sundy Praia, São Tomé & Príncipe

Best for: jungle hikes and waterfall swims

This unique retreat on the island of Príncipe is wedged between the rainforest and the ocean in a little-visited UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one degree north of the Equator. Relaunched in 2021, it invites you to step out of your canvas-roofed beach villa and explore. Expect boat trips, visits to artisan cocoa plantations and expert-led jungle hikes, searching for endemic bird species such as giant sunbirds and the Príncipe speirops, then cooling off in crystal-clear waterfalls. 

3. Kisawa Sanctuary, Mozambique

Best for: marine conservation projects

Kisawa’s blow-the-budget beach bungalows, vast but cosseting in their minimalist comfort, opened on Benguerra Island in spring 2021 in a WWF National Marine Park. Carefully designed to blend in with the coastal forest and built by island artisans, skilled in using natural materials, each bungalow comes with a dedicated butler, infinity pool and kitchen. By staying here, you support Kisawa’s nonprofit offshoot, the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies, Africa’s first permanent ocean observatory. 

Left: Top:

A suite at Kisawa. Opened on Benguerra Island in spring 2021, the property's bungalows are located in a WWF National Marine Park.

Photograph by Elsa Young / Kisawa
Right: Bottom:

Food and drink at Kisawa.

Photograph by Kisawa

4. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, South Africa

Best for: whale-watching

Close to South Africa’s much-loved Garden Route, this luxurious off-grid lodge in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, opened in 2019, has soul-healing sea views and direct access to a pristine beach. Though only 45 miles northeast of Cape Agulhas, Africa’s southernmost tip, the Indian Ocean here is typically at least 2C warmer than the Atlantic in Cape Town. In migration season (July to November), you can watch southern right whales without even leaving your private deck. 

5. Time + Tide Miavana, Madagascar

Best for: ultra-luxurious lemur-spotting

Celebrating its fifth year in 2022, Time + Tide Miavana is still Madagascar’s newest ultra-luxury island lodge. Set on Nosy Ankao, in the Levens Archipelago off the mainland’s northeastern shore, it’s gloriously remote, with a spacious, stripped-down, beach-chic vibe conjured up by celebrated Johannesburg-based architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens. The environmental team monitors Nosy Ankao’s crowned lemurs, translocated here from an area of high poaching and habitat loss. According to the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, they’re in glowing health. 

Discover more safaris around the world

Published in the Jul/Aug 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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