Mozambique is third most-searched tourist destination in Africa, but...
White Pearl Resort in Mozambique
This fairytale beach resort by the Indian Ocean is the place dreams are made of.
If you’re looking for a self- indulgent break from reality, then there is no finer location.
Your personal butler? Check. Your own outdoor plunge pool? Check. Tailored five-star dining experience? Check. Stunning ocean view villa? Check.
It smacks of one those James Bond-style film locations where you expect to bump into Sean Connery and Ursula Andress walking hand in hand along the beach.
The helicopter arrival at White Pearl, to the south of Mozambique’s capital Maputo, is also a 007 experience. You swoop over herds of elephants and zebra on Maputo Elephant Nature Reserve before gently touching down at the resort.
What strikes you first at White Pearl — which is now accessible by a new road from Maputo in less than an hour — are three colours; turquoise, gold and green.
There are the warm turquoise waves of the Indian Ocean which gently lap against a perfect golden strip of sand overlooked by lush green Casuarina trees. The super-attentive staff will have you settled into your villa within minutes of your arrival.
My butler, Winston, ran me through the all-important air conditioning controls before pointing me in the direction of the mini-bar. And before long I was leaning on my balcony enjoying a glass of fizz as I gazed out over the shimmering Indian Ocean. I could get used to having my own butler.
At the touch of a button Winston was at my side. He anticipated my breakfast, lunch and dinner requests.
He would recommend which wines to choose, ask for laundry and query whether I’d be horse-riding on the beach today or whether I would like a beer. Don’t mind if I do, Winston, thank you.
If you fancy a spot of snorkelling or the chance to swim with dolphins on a sea safari then there’s no better place.
Afterwards you can fine-dine on the beach, the warm sand between your toes as you tuck into grilled prawns washed down with a chilled white wine under a sun canopy.
Just you, the beach, the sea, the endless blue sky and the finest lunch White Pearl’s chefs can rustle you up. The resort nestles neatly and discreetly into the gently sloping tree-covered dunes.
Each luxury villa is connected by wooden walkways which lead you to White Pearl’s fabulous dining rooms and bars with beach views.
The villas are sumptuous, with floor-to-wall glass doors which open out onto a sun deck with a plunge pool.
Inside there’s everything you would ever need — and more.
WiFi keeps you connected to the outside world if you need it. Or just relax on one of your villa’s oversize day beds. There’s nothing more pleasant than waking to the sun rising over the Indian Ocean while your butler organises breakfast at your villa.
There’s a fully equipped watersports facility if you want to take advantage of the warm sea waters. I went snorkelling around the bay after being measured for flippers and handed a mask and snorkel.
Or you can go scuba-diving along the vibrant coral reefs.
The calm Mozambique waters make for an ideal location for beginners or experienced divers.
Alternatively, the resort has its own motor launch which can take you further out to sea, where you can swim with dolphins under the kindly and experienced eye of resort guides. For horseriders, there are endless miles of beach to trot or gallop along.
And, again, the resort has it covered. They’ll provide you with one of their horses and the equipment you need — all you have to do is hold on to the reins and marvel at riding on pristine sand and through the lapping waves.
I am a complete novice but, after an hour-long supervised lesson, I was cantering with the best of them.
While the resort offers five-star luxury, it also puts back into the local community. During my stay at White Pearl I visited a local primary to see the funding for schoolhouse improvements.
It has recently added luxury safaris to Maputo Special Reserve and, a little further along the road, I spent a hugely enjoyable afternoon’s safari on the lookout for hippos at Lake Piti.
My resort Land Rover passed fishermen’s lakeside reed huts, African kingfishers darted between the trees and eventually I saw huge wild hippos snorting water from their flared nostrils as they bobbed in and out of the water to keep themselves cool.