If you are reading this, then you probably had the exact same idea in your head as I did back in September 2012. Where to for you're honeymoon??? I was looking for an island along the coast of africa strecthing as far up as Zanzibar and as wide as the Comores and Mauritius. An island that can provide atleast half board but full board preferred with long white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. After carefully considering atleast 20 options, reading reviews and getting all information possible, I chose Medjumbe. Am I glad i did!!!
The Start :
Our holiday started off at OR Tambo Airport where we embarked on our journey to paradise. The flights for the holiday are as follows. Flying with LAM(Mozambique's Airline), you depart Johannesburg for a 1 hour flight East to Maputo. From Maputo you will fly approx 2 Hours and 20 Minutes to Pemba Aiport also with LAM. From Pemba to Medjumbe you will be flying in a charter plane which takes about 40 Minutes. If there are any passengers that need to stop at Matemo Island, they will fly with and a short stop over Matemo will be done. I'm sure SA Airlink also fly's to Pemba and Maputo but we flew with LAM. Once in Maputo you were given a priority pass and wait not more than 10 minutes for the flight to Pemba. On arrival at Pemba, there is a short delay in getting the bags on the conveyor belt. Just a word of caution. Pemba Airport is extremely small. The baggage terminal doubles up as the arrival terminal and space is very limited. The size of a big bedroom to put it in context. The entry to the bathrooms are also here, and the Men's bathroom door shut very loud. So all in all, a real experience in terms of other terminals. We stamped our passports at Maputo so the need to stamp it again at Pemba was not needed.
After an hour of sitting and waiting for all the passengers that were flying with to the respective islands, we got on the plane and our Captain relayd a couple of safety tips since we are travelling over a large mass of water. The flight is an amazing oppurtunity to be wow'd from amazing coral formations and crystal clear water. Be sure to have your camera on board since it looks incredible. As far as I know, there's about 27 islands in the Quirambas and all can be seen upto Medjumbe. They are beautiful. We approached the Matemo island and after dropping off some of the passengers, we were on our way to our own little paradise. Matemo is situated very close to Medjumbe and the flight is another 15 minutes. The breathtaking views as we approached Medjumbe, really got the excitement in 5th gear and the honeymoon just got a whole lot better!
As we touched down, we were greated by Victor, the manager of Medjumbe, at the airstrip and with a quick meet and greet, we followed him to the main lobby. One of the other honeymoon couples had their luggage removed at Matemo, which clearly were a mistake from the charter plane crew. Victor handled the situation extremely well and the couple had their luggage within 30 minutes. As we walked into the lobby, we were greeted by some of the staff with a cocktail and an ice cold cloth for our faces. Victor explained all the important things to us and one of the staff members, Abu, took us to our room and briefed us on our chalet.
The Rooms :
There are 13 rooms that are literally situated on the beach. Rooms 1-8 are above the Bar/Dining Area and Rooms 9-13 are below the dining area. I dont really think any of the rooms have a bad location, it just that some have better location. Most rooms face to the West, where the mainland Mozambique is situated. This makes for unbelievable sundowners in your own chalet! I would suggest any room but any rooms from 9-13 might have the upperhand due to it being better situated for bathing. Our room had a king size bed and a mosquite net. The duvet and linen used for the bedding were definetely fine egyptian cutton and I would suggest a very fine thread count on all bedding. This ensures a very smooth texture and could not find any fault in any of this. The bathroom has one toilet, a deep basin bath and a shower. There are also an outside shower for the more adventurous. The bathroom is fully stocked with "Maria Garcia" hair and body products. This included Lavender infused bath salts, Premium Shampoo, Premium Conditioner, Body lotion and wash gel. The chalet also had a fully stocked bar with beers, water, ciders and cooldrink. This was stocked daily and even if you were running out of any, you could just call the front desk and request a fill up. Infront of the bed, I opened the sliding doors to reveal the almost unreal scene that I once thought is only available in movies. Wow!!! It's incredible. On our left hand side, on the verandah, there were a small jacuzzi type splash pool. The pool is not heated(Believe me you wont need anymore heat), but contains jets similar to a jacuzzi. We used it everyday and everynight. The sea view is incredible whilst having a sundowner in our pool. The water is salt so I take it they use ocean water. I believe this is to limit the amount of still standing fresh water to keep breeding grouds for mosquito's away. The little splash pool in is cleaned daily by the staff members so no worries if there are little sand inside, it will be cleaned. The rooms also consist of a large automatic air conditioner. Believe me if I tell you that this place is warm! You will use the aircon 24/7. Well atleast we did. There are also a tv in the room with about 5 channels, one being Mnet. But this was not used, can't see it being used at all anyway. All in all, I would rate the rooms 10/10. The rooms wa spacious enough and I often hear people complaining about the luxury of rooms in hotels. Medjumbe offer a very basic room with all that is needed. As I mentioned earlier, I could not find fault with any of it.
The Activites :
There are motorised and non motorised activities that is offered by the staff on Medjumbe. The general rule is that all motorised activities is charged for. This includes Picnic to nearby island, Scuba Diving, Whale watching, Deep sea fishing, Sunset cruises and private snorkeling. As we were on honeymoon, they included 1 free sunset cruise and one free private snorkeling session. The activities manager, Jamie is very much focused on the safety of his guests. Jamie has been diving since young age and have made changes to the gear for the better. Our private snorkelling session was enjoyed thoroughly and we felt safe at all times. The sunset cruise was a brilliant oppurtunity to also see some of the local fishermen on their small boats. An explanation of exactly what they catch and how harsh the conditions can get was provided by Jamie. On our way back to the island, we were also suprised by a school of dolphins that were very close by. I can't comment for the Fishing, Scuba diving or while watching. But one of the guys that were also there said the scuba diving were amazing and he rated it as very good. The prices of the motorised activities are not that expensive and definetely a must for avid scuba divers. The non motorised activities included kayaking, paddleboats, snorkelling(Only gear), tennis and volleyball. Some people did try the kayaking and it looked like real fun. Of course you can just do your own little thing on the island and dont really need any activities for it to be fun. We went to the island to enjoy the relaxing and calm atmosphere. If you need to be busy with things being offered by staff members the whole time, I suggest you look at a total different holiday. This is pure tranquility and no rush to get anywhere. I enjoyed the activities that we had. 10/10. Some people might rate this lower, but this is all based on your type of holiday.
The Food/Drinks :
This is where Medjumbe excels!!! The food was by far the greatest I have had in a couple of years. Previous reviews mentioned repetitiveness of dishes. Really don't know what they meant with that. Breakfast was served each morning from early 7AM to 10AM. It mainly consisted of the following. Freshly baked croissant, pastries, rolls, and bread. You then had the choice of all items on your standard continental breakfast. Cheese Platter, Biscuits, Cold meat, Yogurt and assorted cereals. Also on the menu was the option of a omelette with fillings of your choice, a nice fry up breakfast or another breakfast items that included minute steaks, shallow fried patatoes, unions, beans etc. The breakfast was well prepared and out of everything at Medjumbe, was the only item that can really be improved. Not because it's bad or limiting, but only because everything else is soooooo good, the bar is set very high. I would strongly suggest to eat a small breakfast since the chefs really go out of their way at lunch and dinner. Lunch is normally served between 12PM and 2PM with light meals being available through the day after breakfast until 5PM. Lunch options was incredible and we almost always found ourselves having sharing a 3rd plate of food due to the choice just being to difficult to make. If you are a seafood lover, you are in heaven. All fish are freshly caught of the line and ranged from Baracuda to Red Snapper. Do not feel that you won't have anything to eat if you are not a seafood fan. There are always alternatives available. My wife had pasta, chicken burger, prego roll, grilled baby chicken and fillet for lunch and the preperation of these non seafood items were better than some local "speciality" restaurants back in SA. The seafood was awesome to say the least. The lunch consisted of crabs, line fish, lobster salads, prawns, crayfish, burgers, shrimp salads. Dinner was even better than lunch and setting that bar even higher each time, could not have been an easy job at all. Crayfish, Line Fish and Lobster were encountered on all dinner menu's and it was grilled and cooked to absolut perfection. I can go on and on about the food, but all I can say it that you wont be dissipointed at anytime. The way in which the chef prepared each dish was to international standards. Chef Lino, really prepared the most tastiets meals I have had in a while. Presentation and flavour of all the food were just amazing. Medjumbe island is normally sold as an all exclusive package and thus all drink are included. The only drinks that you will probably have to pay for are premium wines, premium whiskey's, all champagne and everything else not mentioned on the menu. They have a big variety of alcohol available. Most SA premium brand whiskey, brandy, rum and gin are avaialble. When I say premium, I mean things like Richiliue, Captain Morgan en Bells. They are all available. The barman, Adamo when were there, have a wide range of cocktails available and will gladly assist in any new combinations. Some shooters are also available on the house. Adamo makes the best Caparinha you will taste! Also try the medjumbe lagoon. A real winner. Overall, the food and the drinks can not be faulted at all. The food is of such quality that the taste often lingers in our mouth way after you have had a meal. Splendid job Kitchen Staff! You're food is nothing less than amazing!!! 10/10
The views and the weather :
Ever seen those photos with crystal clear visibility, turquoise seas and azure blue skies? Well its even better in real life and I can honestly also agree with previous people comments. The photos do not do Medjumbe justice at all. You have to see it to believe it. It looks like the ocean is "photo-shopped", but in actual fact, it looks better in real life. Out of the 5 days on Medjumbe, we had great weather on all of them. This obviously added to the amazing breathtaking views. I can also imagine that the ocean will not look like that when overcast and rainy weather shifts in the monsoon season. However, I think Medjumbe enjoys sunny weather right through the year and overcast, rainy days are more the exception than the rule. We swam each day and one can easily walk upto 200 - 250m into the ocean without getting too deep. The "spit" allows for bathing right infront of your chalet at high tide and at low tide the island expands about twice it's size. Lovely for those long strols on the beach. One word of caution though. The SUN!!! Being way more up in Africa closer and closer to the equator means that the sun's rays will strike you more direct than at any place in South Africa. South Africa is already a very hot place and the lowveld can reach tempratures in the low 40's. Mozambique being no exception, is very hot and humid so be sure to bring more than one bottle of SPF 50+ sun tan lotion that prevents UV-A and UV-B. It's been almost 4 weeks ago, and I'm still peeling from sunburn. Just make sure to take more than 1 bottle. And make sure to use very frequently. The SUN is hot here and being sunburnt on an island like this, wil not be fun. 10/10
The Service of the staff :
If there is one aspect of the island that really surpasses all items above, it most definetely is the service from the staff that we have experienced. Our porter and house cleaner, Abu, was such a cheerful chap and carefully explained everything to us when we first arrived at the island. He took all our bags to the rooms, he cleaned the rooms to the highest standard. He's friendlyness from the moment we got on the island was exceptional! Thanks Abu!!! Keep smilin!! It's contagious. Our Barman, Adamo. There was nothing that Adamo couldn't make in his bar. We threw any request at Adamo, and he was smilin to help with each request. Never got irratated with anyone and never said, "NEVER" Always serving with a smile. It was great to also learn little bit more about him and his family as we asked him on his last night at the bar before taking a well deserved break. Thanks Adamo. Will never forget the best Caparinha in the world. Obrigado! Chef Lino and Chef Sumail was never seen in flesh, but prepared the best pastries and meals that I have had in a while. I'm sure Medjumbe knows what they have in a chef team like the one they currently have. AWESOME Food guys! We had a maintanance guy that worked on replacing a burst pipe under our chalet. I cant remember what his name was, but let me tell the story. After dinner on our first night, we went back to our chalet and shortly after entering the chalet, there was knock on the door. It was the maintanance guy and said that there might be a problem with our water since they can monitor it. He said that he will fix it right now for us if we don't mind, but I really felt bad since he had to get down udner the chalet at 10PM at night and try and fix the burst pipe. I said that he shouldn't worry, we will only be using the water the next day and he can come in the morning after breakfast. In the morning we woke up and the water was working 100%. When I asked him why the water was working, he said he came to fix it round about 3:30AM in the morning so that we can have warm water when we wake up. How is that for service??? Then of course there were Riqotto and Bento. They were our waiters from early morning till late night. Any special request(and we had a few), they catered for. They never had any problem or turned down any of our requests. As I mentioned earlier, there were a couple of times where we couldnt really make a choice between the good choices on the food but they made sure we tasted all of it and didn't have any problem with that. We had a romantic private beach dinner for only ourselves one night and the service was once again outstanding even though Riqotta had to walk up and down the beach, which is a good 250M walk both ways, and there was never any bad service during the whole night. Bento and Riqotta, you guys are the best. You certainly rate among the most helpful and punctual waiters in the world. Then of course last but not least, Victor. Now we first chatted to Victor when we arrived and after making copies of our passports, he explained a couple of guidelines and a few things we need to know about the meals served. He also carefully explained what is included and what is not included on the drinks menu. Victor was visible at all dinners, breakfasts and lunches and we were always greeted with a friendly smile everytime he saw us. Sometimes we would have a chat about a few things and I found Victor's knowledge about the sea and mozambique very broad. It was always a pleasure bumping into him and having a chat. He even taught us a couple of words in Portugues and we gladly used it to thank the staff in their own native tongue. Victor clearly knows what he's doing and I can only congratulate him on how he runs things on the island. Never did I see Victor being bad towards his staff and I'm sure his staff will say the same. Victor, thanks for making our time absolutely wonderful!
Well, I can truely say that we had the honeymoon of lives. Medjumbe is a dream island. The views are absolutely breathtaking. The Food was definetely the highlight for me, as we back in the mainland in South Africa, dont really taste any good seafood unless we head off to the coast. The service of everyone on the island and the friendlyness will make you feel so welcome and warm inside. If you want to experience the honeymoon of your life, go ahead and just book it. Believe me if I say that you won't be dissapointed. I also read alot of these reviews and google'd Medjumbe millions of times. There are not so much information on Medjumbe itself, but really give it a go. You wont be disapointed!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa is a small and remote 5 star and multi award winning Island resort. It is a 50 min flight from the nearest town Pemba. The island is 1km long and 300m wide at the widest point. It has no mobile phone reception due to its remoteness. It has some of the best diving in the world with pristine corals and a wide selection of fish. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa Mozambique/Quirimbas Archipelago