Vamizi Island is an eight-mile long finger of jungle covered island, fringed by idyllic sandy beaches and pristine coral reefs. It also happens to be about the most idyllic barefoot luxury destination on the planet.

Image of Louisa Fisher
Image of Neill Ghosh

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It might seem odd to start with the 'negatives' but when the positives of a place are so overwhelming, it starts to make sense. So, there is no pool (why would there be, with the stunning warm waters and soft sand of the Indian Ocean on every doorstep?), no official spa (but the lodge can rustle up massages, treatments and yoga sessions), and not a huge range of activities (Vamizi is all about diving, fishing or not having an excuse to do anything but chill right out).

The Vamizi Island Lodge consists of thirteen enormous and supremely elegant thatched beach villas, set well apart from each other to ensure privacy. Each faces its own stretch of beach complete with Swahili day beds and also has a private sun deck so large you could land a helicopter on it. A walk along the beautiful fine white sand beach to the main lodge, watching fishing dhows return as the sun sets, is pretty much guaranteed to relax both body and soul.

At the main Vamizi Island Lodge, the restaurant serves good quality contemporary cuisine, with fresh seafood supplied from the fishing village on the other side of the island making up a good part of the menu most days.

If you can muster the energy to do anything except relax, marine activities include sea kayaking, dhow sailing, deep-sea fishing (on a tag and release basis), snorkelling and world-class diving. Over 350 species of reef fish are found in these waters, as well as humpback whales, whale sharks, and the endangered dugong. Two species of endangered giant turtles also nest on the island's beaches.

Vamizi Island is not a one trick pony, but nonetheless, there is one dive that really stands out, the aptly named 'Neptunes Arm'. A 40-minute boat ride away (accompanied by humpback whales and a glimpse of mating turtles) lies a sunken island whose surface is about eight metres down. Swept by currents, this is not a dive site for the easily intimidated or indeed novice diver (you do need an advanced ticket to partake).

The diving here is incredibly varied, ranging from the long pristine gentle house reef which you can graze over, to the more alarming but exciting Neptunes Arm and if there was ever any encouragement needed to do your Advanced PADI, the prize of Neptunes should suffice.

As well as the Neptunes there are sites closer to home: Skunk Alley, Cave Wall aka the House Reef, which offer really gentle, easy diving with excellent corals, turtles, schools of barracuda, nudibranchs and all the usual suspects and given the variety and sheer quantity of marine life in these seas you are very likely to be surprised.

Why we love it

Image of Nick Newbury

Vamizi is home to our company founder, Tim Simond's best ever dive, Neptune's Arm. Do you need any more excuse to visit?

Nick, Original Diver

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Key Info

Number of rooms

32

Eco Rating

5

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Coral Lodge

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Nuarro Luxury Eco Lodge

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Original Travel's dossier (restaurants, sights, useful tips) arrived through our letterbox before we left, and we sacked off TripAdvisor for the entire trip.

Lucy

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