I was recently invited to visit the northern Mozambique port of Pemba in Cabo Delgado province and then take a short flight to Medjumbe Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Anyone who has visited that part of the world will know what an odd mix of true Africa and tropical paradise it is. But for me the highlight was Mozambique’s friendly people.
Just a 30-minute flight away by small aircraft was Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa, but it felt millions of miles away from the bustle of Pemba. Medjumbe is a tropical island in the Quirimbas Archipelago with the signature turquoise sea and creamy white beaches, nothing to do but dream the hot days away in your private pool on the deck of your cabana, take a beach walk to the lighthouse, go by boat to a neighbouring island for a picnic lunch, or knock yourself out with water sports from sea kayaking and snorkeling to windsurfing and fishing.
Worlds away from Pemba in every way but one: the people, warm, welcoming but never intrusive. There are 38 staff members on the tiny island, just 1km long by 300m wide, and each had a gentle smile that lit up his face, whether he was a barman, a waiter or the guy who cleaned your cabana.
Gabriel has worked at Medjumbe for two years, having worked and trained for 12 years at a bakery in Maputo, which also sent him to Angola for added experience.
Third and best of all was interacting with the warmly friendly locals who work on the island and were so ready to share their abundant good nature.
I was a guest of AVANI Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa for a night and Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa for two. My flights were sponsored by Airlink, which offers 5 flights a week from Johannesburg to Pemba.
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