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Earth Day bucket list: Kisawa Sanctuary opens in Mozambique

A new eco-resort is opening on the island of Benguerra in Mozambique this week, with a commitment to preserving the environment and “people-focused hospitality”.

Kisawa Sanctuary is the first project for Nina Flohr
Kisawa Sanctuary is the first project for Nina Flohr

Kisawa Sanctuary is the first hospitality project from Nina Flohr, who said her mission with the new resort was “to create a bond between people and place”.


The property sits on 5km of coastline and features 22 bungalows and the Kisawa Residence, while wellbeing is also a key focus, with the large Natural Wellness Center taking prime position.


In its creation, Flohr said she sought to involve and create work for as many people as possible from Benguerra and the neighbouring islands, including local weavers, thatchers, carpenters and textile makers.


A patented 3D sand-printing technology, commissioned specifically for this project and based on the island, has been used wherever possible to replace less sustainable commonplace construction practices. The 3D printer and unique sand-based mortar create individually specified construction elements such as tiling and countertops, along with decorative items such as stools, tables, vases and vessels.


Unique art and antiques have also been sourced from across Africa, Flohr said, ensuring the “preservation of heritage artefacts and their remaining provenance within the continent”.


The seven culinary locations at Kisawa have a unified ethos – commitment to produce grown on-site, the practice of organic, seasonal gardening methods, a zero-waste policy and no use of processed ingredients. Kisawa has built a network of farmers and producers to ensure fresh local produce daily and also commissioned a report into local African flavours and ingredients to ensure these are woven into dishes.


Guests will have to access their own vehicle, such as electric Mini Mokes, to explore locally and will also benefit from a 24/7 personal service team, who can help on-site and with planning trips around the island and wider Bazaruto archipelago to explore the Indian Ocean, including on a traditional Mozambican dhow.


Kisawa is launching initially in soft opening phase today, with 14 bungalows and two dining venues, the Cove Mussassa – based on colourful local beach cafes – and the Barraca restaurant, plus the mobile Pizza Tuk Tuk.


The resort also features a Main Terrace with Robata counter, library, lounge area and wine cellar.

One of the island resort's bungalows, set among sand dunes
One of the island resort's bungalows, set among sand dunes

In further sustainability endeavours, Flohr – who previously worked as creative director of VistaJet, the private aviation company founded by her father – has also launched the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS) on Benguerra as Africa’s first permanent Ocean Observatory, in a model where the hospitality business will contribute directly to marine science and research.


As part of its “resort to research” ethos, the data and knowledge of BCSS informs the environmental decisions of the sanctuary, ranging from design choices, seasonal marine life and ocean awareness, to creating guest experiences, such as spending the day diving with marine scientists to monitor ecosystems, or helping to tag sharks from the research vessel.


Benguerra is 14km off the mainland of Mozambique, with the nearest airport Vilankulo connected from Johannesburg and Maputo. Guests will then take a 30-minute boat ride, or can arrange a private helicopter charter of approximately 5-10 minutes from Vilankulo.


Following the April soft launch, the grand opening of the rest of Kisawa will take place in July.

Cove Mussassa is modelled on local beach cafes
Cove Mussassa is modelled on local beach cafes

Stays are inclusive from €5,000 per night for two adults and include dedicated service team including private butler and chef; complimentary laundry and packing services; personalised arrival and transfer from Vilankulo; 24-hour Jet-lag Recovery treatment; all culinary experiences across five onsite dining venues, two bars and in-bungalow dining, soft beverages, curated house wine menus and cocktails; private use of a dedicated Kisawa Mini Moke vehicle; Kisawa excursions and experiences such as Benguerra island exploration and sunset dhow sailing; and water sports.

Covid clarity

Currently, Mozambique has opened its borders to travellers from all countries, with arrivals needing a certificate of a negative PCR test carried out within the 72 hours prior to departure, but it is of course still on the UK’s red list, and has its own restrictions in place.


All outbound passengers will also be required to present a new negative PCR test at airport customs before departure, which Kisawa will organise on the property; on arrival at Kisawa, an additional rapid swab test is taken in-bungalow.


In preparation for opening a Covid-era resort for the first time, the proprietary Kisawa medical clinic will be run by All Around Medical Solutions in Mozambique, overseeing all testing and protocols, with nurses and doctors on hand for additional support, the resort said. Enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols are in practice, including twice-daily temperature checks for all Kisawa team members.

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