How far do you have to go to be alone? These incredible island hideaways and beach retreats embody the luxury that is seclusion.
Kaya Mawa, Malawi
In Malawi, Kaya Mawa is accessible only by light aircraft or boat. The name means “maybe tomorrow” and it’s a good reflection of how relaxed this place can make you feel. That said, when you take a chalet on the lakeshore, you might as well make good use of all of the opportunities for watersports, spending your days snorkelling, kite surfing, and kayaking. Learn to sail a Laser under the guidance of an instructor, or gently paddleboard around the island’s coast.
Fregate Island, Seychelles
Fregate Island offers carefree luxury in a Seychellois tropical paradise. Book the Banyan Hill Estate for private use, and enjoy the island to yourself. Think of Fregate Island as a cross between a tropical paradise and a wild isle befitting The Tempest. It’s a splinter from the former supercontinent of Gondwana, home of rare and exotic species. These include the Seychelles magpie robin, which the island’s conservationists have saved from extinction, and also the critically endangered Wright’s gardenia.
Nuarro Lodge, Mozambique
Mozambique’s Nuarro Lodge is caught between the wild bush and the Indian Ocean. This laid back eco resort — which was built by the local community entirely from natural materials — opens out onto powdery sand beaches. There’s a fully equipped PADI dive centre, which offers both beginners’ training and refresher classes, and you can also whale watch with hydrophones. The coral reef is a short swim from the lodge’s beach so you don’t have to go far to snorkel among the butterfly fish.
Explore, discover, and have a whale of a time on your island adventure.
Azura Quilalea, Mozambique
At Azura Quilalea, imitate Robinson Crusoe and castaway to this private island in the Indian Ocean. Kayak through the mangroves, hike between baobab trees, or snorkel and dive straight from the beach. Your island stay doesn’t have to be a passive experience, and there are so many ways to explore its ecosystem on land and below the waves. And at the end of the day, climb on board the wooden dhow to enjoy an incandescent sunset.
Fundu Lagoon, Zanzibar
Fundu Lagoon also offers adventures above and below the waves — it was recently rated the Best Marine Safari Property in Africa. It’s a luxurious boutique property on the island of Pemba in Zanzibar and accessible only by boat. A kayak safari is the best way to explore the coastal ecosystem; you can also take a fishing trip and cast your line on the reef. The mysterious ruins of Jambangome — Pemba’s ancient capital — are only a short motorboat ride away, and well worth a day spent exploring.
Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge, Madagascar
The Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge is in a dazzling location on the east coast of Madagascar. It’s surrounded not only by sparkling azure seas, but also by verdant rainforest. Watch whale from the lookout tower, canoe and snorkel directly from the beach, then after dark take a walk through the rainforest to spot chameleon and lemur. Walking through the forest at night is an exhilarating experience, and your senses of sound and smell are heightened.
Let yourself be at one with nature, experiencing heaven on Earth.
North Island, Seychelles
The most important characteristic of a beach retreat is a peaceful setting. Nothing compares with the combination of stunning views and pristine sand, accompanied by a soundtrack of waves lapping the shore. In the Seychelles, North Island ticks every box. Tropical palms and granite peaks dwarf your presence on this luxurious private island. Yours will be the only footprints on the beach. Your villa will look straight out across the ocean; think of this as your home away from home. Every guest receives a complimentary welcome treatment in the spa on arrival, and you can add to this Ayurvedic massage and facials, yoga classes on the beach, and energising workout sessions.
Ras Kutani, Tanzania
Nestled in a large deserted sandy bay along Tanzania’s remote Indian Ocean coastline sits Ras Kutani, an idyllic retreat of spacious beach bungalows. Each is open-fronted and made of timber, mangrove poles and palm leaf thatch, kept cool by balcony breezes from the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean. For nature lovers the tropical, coastal forest behind the lodge is a wonderful place to enjoy a relaxing stroll, watching out for the antics of the spectacular black-and-white colobus monkey.
Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
Just off the northeast coast of Zanzibar, experience the luxury of a private island at &Beyond Mnemba Island. Watch dolphin and hatching turtle, then sail out towards the sunset on a wooden dhow. There will be hours when you want to sit doing absolutely nothing — which we thoroughly approve of! — but at other times take a walk or watch the birds. It’s a romantic spot with just 10 beachside bandas, two of which are linked into a family suite.