Mozambique's Quirimbas Archipelago
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Looking for a far-flung spot? Mozambique's Quirimbas Archipelago is as remote as you can get: virtually uninhabited islands, unspoilt tropical surrounds and waters
as gentle as an infinity pool, says Antonia Quirke
The island of Quilalea is occupied only by the Azura Lodge
Oliver Pilcher for High Life magazine
Most of the islands are uninhabited, others occupied by small villages of fishermen who live off nothing but the sea
The small plane flying from the northeastern tip of Mozambique across the Indian Ocean to the Quirimbas Archipelago is moving over a dome of crazily blending blue tints, 20, 30 shades of azure. Blues fired and deepened by the spring storms ranging in intensity from a slush-puppy fluorescence to the gaucheness of a robin's egg, and then, further out to sea now, as the islands begin to appear in their unbroken crescent from the mainland coastal town of Pemba 200km north to the far Rovuma River bordering Tanzania, tides that seem as violet-hued as the false contact lenses on a camera-mad starlet. From the air the archipelago — 32 islands in all — is complicated, layered.
Some islands seem to be entirely submerged. But then the water is so clear it's hard to discern land from sea save via clusters of bright coral and fish, dhows and dolphins. Or are they whales? My scale is off, possibly. But then nothing I'm seeing looks real exactly. Some islands are nothing — truly, nothing — but a sudden spit of white sand, snaking like sugar spilt by Arab traders on their long trek 1,000 years ago to such solitary distances. Who lives here now? Most of the islands are uninhabited, others occupied by small villages of fishermen who live off nothing but the sea, still using spears and dhows. Who visits here? Because this lies further than the escape routes frequented by even the most questing students...
Way to go
British Airways flies to Dar es Salaam from London Heathrow once a day. Flight time: about nine and a half hours.
Join the Executive Club and earn up to 23,316 Avios points when you fly First to Dar es Salaam (return). Or redeem your Avios points: you only need 50,000 to get to Dar es Salaam. World Traveller return, excluding taxes, fees and surcharges.
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