Just off the African coast of Mozambique, the calm, warm waters of the Quirimbas Archipelago once attracted Arab dhows and Portuguese galleons as they plied the trade routes of the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese dubbed the islands Ilhas de SĂŁo LĂˇzaro and established outposts to acquire such things as maluane cloth, indigo, ivory, timber, and manna (an edible gum).
Places of note:Â On Vamizi, a long finger of jungle-covered coral at the northern reaches of the chain, the legacy of those early colonial days survives in the ruins of a fort and a church, though the islandâ€™s chief draw is decidedly more contemporary. Opened in 2005, Vamizi IslandÂ is a castaway-chic lodge with timber kitalas (villas) strung along powder-white sand. Together with an exclusive enclave of private beach houses designed by Cape Town-based studio COA, the resort shares the island with just three small fishing villages and an impressive menagerie of wildlife. Snorkeling excursions, dhow cruises, and nature walks are just some of the diversions.
When to visit:Â Visit between May to September during the dry season.
How to get there: A private plane will take guestsÂ at the Dar es Salaam airport in Tanzania or the Pemba airport in Mozambique to the island, where they will then continue theirÂ journey on a 4×4 landrover ride.