The Zoological Society of London (along with the Mozambique government, a bunch of marine biologists and a cotton gin entrepreneur) recently opened a small ecoresort in the Quirimbas Islands, just off Mozambique’s north coast. The goal is to preserve the island’s diversity (marine biologist Isabel Silva says there are more species of coral here than in the Great Barrier Reef) and to support the local community whose fisherman monitor the green and hawksbill turtles, dugongs and humpback whales. In return, the lodge buys their fish and funds the local school and health clinic.
The resort has twelve thatched wooden bungalows perched on stilts. There’s no television or air-conditioning (cell phones do work), but to make up for it, guests enjoy sunken marble showers, expansive verandas and hand-carved Mozambican furniture and screens. Nelson Mandela and Leonardo DiCaprio are among the lodge’s guests who have hiked out to the island’s old Portuguese lighthouse, past yellow-bellied sunbirds, Samango monkeys and huge Friar butterflies.
Vamizi Island Lodge, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, 00 258 272 21299, www.vamizi.com.