February being the month of love, I thought it fitting to reflect on our romantic honeymoon at Bahia Mar Boutique Hotel, near the small fishing village of Vilankulo in Mozambique.
Given the choice again, to go to the Maldives, Tahiti or any other exotic island destination, I would opt for our original Vilankulo honeymoon escape, with no long flights, language barriers or hectic currency to dampen the romance.
Arriving on holiday in a relaxed state means you enjoy the experience from day one. Admittedly we arrived after our perfect wedding ceremony, in a euphoric state and it was easy to enjoy the warm hospitality and picture-perfect beauty.
As I was working abroad right up to the wedding, we used an online service called “Plan My Wedding” to put every aspect of our wedding together.
Touted as Africa’s only online wedding planning service, I explain it as the “Air B&B” of wedding planning. No fuss, no stress and no meetings. Just search the options... from dresses to décor, food to flowers, with smart diarised planning and practical guidance, inspiration as well as budget check lists. We even booked our air tickets and accommodation for Bahia Mar through “Plan My Wedding”.
On arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff and had breathtaking views over the wide, flat bay toward several islands within the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park.
The azure waters can be seen from the open plan reception, bar and restaurant, terrace, lawn or the infinity pool and its bar.
Accommodation is in four buildings on the slope, each with two sea-view bedrooms on the upper level and one enormous, luxurious beach suite below.
We had our own private plunge pool where we spent many a happy hour, just relishing our own company and the first few special days as Mr and Mrs.
The pampering continued as we hit the Wellness Centre and after an outdoor Jacuzzi, we enjoyed Ayurvedic and hot stone massages.
The pace of our tranquil first two days accelerated as a consistent wind picked up and my husband enjoyed kite boarding while I hit the gym for rigorous training with an instructor, followed by a yoga session.
Crystal clear water made snorkelling a truly memorable experience. No fins were needed as the current led us towards our exploration of a rock wall which dropped five metres, providing a backdrop to an abundance of colourful fish.
We played so hard each day that the evening meal didn’t come a minute too soon and massive seafood platters became the order of the day. A lasting memory will always be the crayfish cooked on the fire with a fragrant mix of cassava leaves, peanut powder, coconut milk, garlic and onions.
Our favourite dessert was Affogato Bebedo, a delicious combo of chocolate ice cream, cashews, bitter chocolate, rum and espresso.
We made the most of the ocean experience, travelling local style on a dhow over the sandbar, surrounded by flamingos. Our trip on the luxury launch, Mayara, enabled us to explore and appreciate the coastline.
Non-stop action included horse riding, surfing and stand-up paddling as we tried everything on the sporting menu.
Our last few hours were spent wandering through the market, choosing vivid fabrics and crafts to remind us of our perfect getaway, although the memories of our Bahia Mar honeymoon will remain forever in our hearts.