29. November 2019
Scheduled to open in summer 2020, Kisawa Sanctuary is a new standard in luxury hospitality. Pairing cultural celebration with environmental conservation on Benguerra island, Mozambique, Kisawa’s ambition is to bring wilderness and service together, carefully and comfortably
A combination of 12 one, two and three bedroom lodgings, plus the owner’s property ‘The Kisawa Residence’, are positioned within a sanctuary comprised of a 750 acre stretch of forest, beach and sand dunes. Each bungalow is individually housed within its own one-acre plot, offering maximum privacy, minimum disturbance and optimum appreciation of the natural environment.
Every one of they uniquely designed and furnished bungalow’s has its own beachfront, 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. In addition to their private dwellings, guests also choose between multiple communal and dining venues across the sanctuary, including two beach clubs, a striking lagoon-style swimming pool, a Baracca beach bar on the cove side of the property plus a library, lounge, dining spaces, and an expansive main terrace.
Benguerra Island is situated 14 kilometres 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; an area 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. Kisawa’s diving centre will offer guests marine safaris both above and below the water.
When introducing development to the island the team’s core purpose has been to respect what already naturally exists. Kisawa’s founder, 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. At its heart, Kisawa is a handmade hotel. Over 1,000 jobs were created during construction; a sustainable design approach where everything possible was done by hand, with only the smallest amount of machine work engaged in a property that is redefining sustainable luxury. Kisawa’s architecture is where tradition meets innovation, with construction that incorporates groundbreaking 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 build, where this innovative technology is merged with Mozambican weaving and thatching, carpentry and textile skills, involving artisans from Benguerra and neighbouring islands. In addition to the construction of Kisawa, the 3D printer will also be deployed on the other end of the island for printing sand coral reefs and marine habitats for the sanctuary’s nonprofit organisation, Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS).
Kisawa balances the ease and comfort of feeling at home with all the benefits and amenities of an ultra-luxury resort. 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.
“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. We have used design as a tool, not as a style, to ensure Kisawa is integrated, culturally and environmentally to Mozambique. We have studied the local vernacular, its materials and techniques, making the best use of local craftsmanship and what is available in sustainable supply,” said Kisawa’s founder, Nina Flohr, who is also responsible for the design and creative direction of the property, assembling an in-house studio alongside a team of global experts to assist in executing her vision.
Guests are invited to feel their place in the natural world in a powerful way. The rhythms and rituals of life are dictated not by house rules, but by the natural order, the elements, the seasons, and ultimately, by the guest. 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. Kisawa’s intention is to be a light touch on the land but a deep engagement with culture and nature.
Images: Courtesy of Kisawa Sanctuary