Pairing cultural celebration with environmental conservation on Benguerra island, Mozambique, Kisawa’s ambition is to bring wilderness and service together, carefully and comfortably. Benguerra island is situated 14 kilometers off Mozambique, on the Eastern coast of Africa. Part of the Bazaruto Archipelago, this WWF National Marine Park is home to some of the richest and least explored subtropical ecosystems in the Indian Ocean.
A dramatic 150m high sand dune overlooks the sanctuary; a place more than 145 bird species, including flamingos, call home. Orca, manta rays, dugong, whale sharks, marlin and an assortment of dolphins are either regular visitors or permanent residents. The island’s warm, crystal clear waters are also a globally significant nursery for mother and calf humpback whales, along with five species of nesting sea turtles.
My mission for Kisawa is to create a level of hospitality and design that, to my knowledge, does not exist today. A place that inspires feelings of freedom and luxury born from nature, space, true privacy and considered design — Kisawa Founder and Creative Director, Nina Flohr
Kisawa is a combination of 12 one, two and three bedroom bungalows, plus The Kisawa Residence, positioned within a 300-hectare stretch of forest, beach and sand dunes. Each bungalow (380 square meters of internal space and 560 square meters of external space) is housed within its own one acre plot, offering maximum privacy, minimum disturbance and optimum appreciation of the natural environment.
We invite our guests to feel their place in the natural world in a powerful way. The rhythms and rituals of life here are dictated not by house rules, but by the natural order, the elements, the seasons, and ultimately, by the guest — Chorten Wangyel, Kisawa General Manager
Each uniquely designed bungalow has its own stretch of beach front, a private swimming pool, shaded day area with outdoor kitchen, massage hut and pantry stocked to guest preferences. A 24/7 personal service team, plus dedicated vehicles – including a colourful fleet of electric buggies – means the experience can be intuitive and self-directed.
Guests also choose between multiple dining venues across the sanctuary, including two beach ‘cozinhas,’ a lagoon style swimming pool, beach bar ‘barraca,’ a library and main terrace. At Kisawa there is no set schedule; guests decide their own agenda. Everything from dining hours, treatments and access to activities are customised to the individual’s needs. Furthermore, a stand-alone spa specialises in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic offerings with striking architecture inspired by the island’s thatched village houses and central community buildings. Additional facilities include a gym, sand-clay tennis court and diving centre.
Nina Flohr’s introduction to Africa at a young age inspired a dedication to protect and celebrate the culture, community and environment of Mozambique, by pushing the boundaries of innovation, investment and collaboration. Kisawa’s intention is a light touch on the land but a deep engagement with culture and nature. When introducing development to the island the team’s core purpose has been to respect what already naturally exists.
For example, Kisawa’s architecture incorporates a patented 3D printing technology, commissioned specifically for this project, created by a mortar comprised of the island’s sand and seawater. This revolutionary eco-friendly building material is used throughout the property. In addition to the construction of Kisawa, the 3D printer will also spend time on the other end of the island printing sand coral reefs and marine habitats for the property’s nonprofit organisation, Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS).
At Kisawa, this innovative technology is merged with Mozambican weaving and thatching, carpentry and textile skills, involving artisans from Benguerra and neighbouring islands. An upbeat, earthy colour palette references 1970’s Mozambique and is complimented with patterns and prints inspired by regional traditions.
Kisawa balances the ease and comfort of feeling at home with all the benefits and amenities of an ultra-luxury resort. Guests are prioritised in every decision to ensure they never feel compromised by the logistics of operations, creating a natural spirit of generosity while visiting the property.