AZURA AT GABRIEL'S
BENGUERRA ISLAND, MOZAMBIQUE
For an eco-lodge, Azura at Gabriel's, a six-month-old, 15-villa resort in Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, seems a little sinful. The place looks like it's straight out of a Corona ad, complete with white-sand beaches and a private pool in front of every villa. Visitors fly-fish for king mackerel in the shallows of the Indian Ocean in the morning, scuba-dive with dugongs (they're similar to manatees) in the afternoon, and watch the sunset from the bows of traditional fishing dhows in the evening. Oh, and then get massaged with tamarind, aloe, and marula oil in Azura's spa before settling down for sushi made from tuna caught right offshore. A little extravagant, perhaps, but Azura is as green as it is luxurious. The resort, founded by a director of Banyan Tree Seychelles, uses its gray water for irrigation, composts on site, and plans to go carbon neutral by purchasing wind credits. By its fourth year, Azura will operate with a 90 percent Mozambican staff to benefit the local community.
Azura has a guest-donated community-development fund that is financing a local school, a reforestation program, and a dugong-monitoring project. But just getting to the lodge will burn your quota of jet fuel for the next two years.
By the time you're done with the travel from Johannesburg to Benguerra Island's grass airstrip, you'll be ready to skip the fishing and head for the spa. From $450 per person, including meals; azura-retreats.com