Exploring Sava Dunes in Mozambique

Posted on 31 January 2020

Sava Dunes, near Tofo

I flew in to Inhambane Airport on a balmy winter’s afternoon. The short drive to the lodge (4×4 only) was a treat in itself – the palm-fringed sandy track offered views of estuaries, cassava fields and immaculate vegetable patches guarded by neat houses.

Arriving at the lodge – a wood-finished oasis perched on a dune, a stone’s throw from the waves of the Indian Ocean – I was welcomed by a contingent of staff, a cold facecloth and a cocktail. Formerly called Blue Footprints, this idyllically located property was recently acquired by South Africans Conraad and Lily Loubser, extensively renovated and renamed Sava Dunes (sava is Shangaan for ‘sand’).

Sour fig and other dune greenery attract a lot of birdlife. Image credit: Em Gatland

There are five free-standing suites, all with ocean views. Mine was light, airy and unostentatious, and flowed onto a private deck with a dangerously comfortable hammock strung across it which, of course, I put to plenty of use during my stay. Your time at Sava can be spent in myriad relaxing ways: curled up with a book in one of the many inviting nooks in the main lodge; kicking back on the deck and spying whales and dolphins frolicking close to shore; catching rays on the sun loungers around the pool; or dangling off the swim-up bar. The sea is great for swimming, and there’s even a solid right-hand break for surfing or bodyboarding. Afternoons are for long beach walks. Sava is secluded enough that the stretch of sand in front of the lodge is almost an unofficial private beach. But a couple of kilometres’ walk either way delivers you to the bustling surfer town of Tofo in the south, or Barra’s sprawling strands in the north.

Seafood is caught in front of the lodge or bought off the boats at Tofo and Barra. Image credit: Em Gatland

It wasn’t all chilling, though. I signed up with Liquid Dive Adventures in Tofo for a drift dive and was treated to the graceful hydrobatics of four-metre manta rays, a colossal potato bass and a rare glimpse of the expertly camouflaged frog fish. The next day, an ocean safari brought sightings of a humpback whale and her calf, and while snorkelling we were joined by bottlenose dolphins. Whale sharks are also regularly seen. Another highlight at Sava is the food. Lodge manager Keenan Houareau is a qualified chef and an artist in the kitchen, using ingredients sourced daily from the sea – lobster, barracuda, blue crab and red snapper.

Art on the plate: a delicious watermelon, feta and balsamic starter. Image credit: Em Gatland

Best Feature

The swim-up bar, and the fact that I could spot whales while standing in the swimming pool, 2M in hand, made it more magical.
Cost R3  ,500 pp sharing full board (diving and boat trips not included). Special offer until 31 December 2019: pay for four nights, stay for six.

Contact 021-712-5284, savadunes.com

Rooms are off-grid but have solar power to charge your gadgets. Image credit: Em Gatland


Written by Richard Brown

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