Epic Air Safari: Liwonde to Vamizi Island
Today we will fly 532 miles from Malawi to Mozambique. We have flown 5,109 miles since leaving Campi ya Kanzi and have 1,691 miles still to go. The flight back to Chileka is spectacular again with Monet sunlight beams coming in from the dawn clouds and shining over granitic hills. We have a long leg to Pemba, but it passes quickly while we’re piloting, chatting, and listening to some good music! From Pemba to Vamizi, the flight is magnificent over turquoise water. It is just less than an hour, and we are all excited to land on private Vamizi Island.
We are staying in three different villas, and it takes us just twenty minutes to drive to them. They are spectacular. We have lunch on the beach barefoot. We are tired but happy. Dinner under the moonlight on the beach is simply magical.
Vamizi is a very special place. It is inspired by principles similar to Campi ya Kanzi’s. Here, the founders are trying to create sustainable income to preserve a magnificent marine paradise through tourism. There are more than 400 species of reef fish and 180 species of coral.
We dive at Ponta Papagaio and at the mythical Neptune’s Arm, a diving spot considered to be among the top ten in the world. And we are not disappointed! Great reef sharks and literally thousands and thousands of fish, ranging from small to large, including a massive grouper and and enormous Napoleon. But what is stunning here is the color of the water: ever-changing turquoise colors give way to deeper blue and light indigo. It is indescribable.
Back at the villa, we look at a very calm sea. I can only describe it as a reed lagoon, but it is enormous. Miles and miles long with powdery light, white sand. This is nicer than the Maldives: more wild and really magnificent.
Today’s is Lisa’s birthday, and we celebrate it with another amazing dinner under the stars. What an incredible experience we are having! This air safari is really epic!
Vamizi is the perfect place for our “long” stay — three nights instead of the regular two. My favorite place on the Indian Ocean has always been Kiwayu in Kenya. Today I feel like I am back there.
After a morning doing nothing but relaxing (the first time for me to enjoy a moment on my own with my iPod!), we go for a picnic on the eastern side of the island. Indescribable! The most beautiful spot on the ocean I have ever seen. We drive in the lush vegetation from our villa to the picnic site, passing some mangroves along the way, and then have a breathtaking view of turquoise water and white, sandy beach. There is a beautiful picnic house next to the water: a simple makuti roof over a wooden platform built with driftwood. Simple but somehow naturally glamorous. I think about my friend Alfredo Pelizzoli, the founder of Kiwayu. I miss him, and I think he would have loved this place. A turtle decided to lay her eggs on “our” beach in front of the picnic house. Her nest is defended by a small peg left by Vamizi’s marine biologist. On the left, a small bay created by the coral has calm, transparent water encircled by mangroves.
After a lovely picnic with lobster, prawns, and calamari, freshly caught at sea, we decide to burn some of the calories we have been storing throughout this trip and go for a three-hour kayak trip around the island. We pass an ancient light house and surf a couple of waves over the rift. We see three more sets of tracks in the sand on the beach of nesting turtles and then paddle in front of a seagull colony. Jumping fish keep us company. We make it to the bay in front of our villa in just under three hours. The sun is about to set, and we all feel light, free, happy and… well, I do not know, perhaps extremely lucky. This trip is simply phenomenal.