Anvil Bay is the epitome of 'barefoot luxury', a tented camp set on a pristine beach flanked by dune forest and all within a private nature reserve. It is the result of a partnership between the local community and a philanthropic foundation, designed to promote the lowest impact tourism, to fulfil guests' needs for a perfect beach getaway and to benefit the local people and environment.
Whether you arrive by helicopter, light aircraft or by road, it's soon apparent that you're somewhere special. Your welcomed by smiling staff and settle in to your casinha, literally a 'little home'. It's built from local wood, thatch and canvas, and within you have all you need for a comfy stay. The bedroom leads to a bathroom with a hand basin, toilet and shower, with a further outdoor shower for good measure. Sit on your private deck as you enjoy a drink from the minibar and watch the ocean waves lap the shore.
The central areas comprise the lounge-bar, dining room and library. You are encouraged to make yourself at home and enjoy the relaxed pace of life. Most meals are served in the open air, with tasty snacks and drinks available at the beach bar. Days can be as active, or not, as you wish. There are lots of watersports to be enjoyed for novices and experienced practicioners alike, you can go for a cruise in a dhow, explore the forest and its wildlife with or wothout a guide as you wish and try out one of the fat sand bikes with a ride along the beach. Seasonal activities include whale watching tours (July-November) and turtle nesting walks (October to January), and you go swimming with wild dolphins year round. Staff can arrange day tours in Maputo Special Reserve where there are giraffe, zebra, kudu, wildebeest as well as the elephants for which the reserve was first established. However you spend your day, it usually concludes around the campfire on the beach as you sip a nightcap.
Open: Anvil Bay is open all year. Minimum stays of 4 nights over Christmas and New Year and 3 nights over Easter.
Location: Anvil Bay is in southern Mozambique. It is in the Ponta Partial Marine Reserve within the Maputo Special Reserve, rich in flora and fauna. The camp can be reached directly via a 25 minute helicopter transfer from Maputo. Light aircraft can land at the Machangulo airstrip, an hour’s drive from camp. Road transfers from Maputo take about 5 hours and from Kosi Bay in South Africa 3 hours. Self-driving is possible only with a 4x4 and is recommended only for those with experience of driving such a vehicle.
Rooms: There are 9 rooms, or casinhas meaning ‘little home’, with canvas walls and thatch roofs, built on platforms backing on to the forest and with views of the beach and ocean. 8 have 1 kingsize bed, 4 of which can be converted to twins, and the other has a kingsize bed and 2 single beds. Maximum occupancy is 18 guests. Casinhas are arranged to either side of the main area. Amenities include an en-suite bathroom with a shower, a separate outdoor shower, private dining area and a minibar and supply of drinks. The family room has a bath as well as a shower. The canvas sides can be rolled up for all-round views and then lowered again when you want more privacy. Rooms are cooled by fans and beds are equipped with mosquito nets. There are power points and adaptor plugs in rooms.
Activities: Water-based activities include swimming (possibly joined by dolphins), snorkelling, kayaking (adult, children’s and double kayaks are available), stand up paddle boarding, surfing and body boarding. The camp offers a 2 hour ocean safari, a cruise seeking out marine creatures that may include opportunities for swimming, Special cruises run from July to November to view humpback whales. Shore and deep sea fishing can be arranged. You can take walks along the beach, explore rock pools and climb dunes, head inland on trails in the dune forest behind the camp looking for birds and visit lakes to see hippos. Walks can be done independently or with a guide. Wildlife watching day tours through Maputo Special Reserve can be organised. The camp has special ‘fat sand’ bikes with wide tyres designed for use on the beach. Picnics can be arranged. Games of frisbee, beach volleyball and touch rugby can be organised. From October to late January turtles nest on the beach and the camp offers guided tours to witness this spectacle. Staff can arrange visits to a local community.
Facilities: There a lounge-bar and a separate restaurant, which form the social core of the camp. You are welcome to browse through the books in the library and play board games. Massages can be arranged on request. There’s a campfire where post dinner drinks are served each evening. The hotel offers a complimentary laundry service. There are no televisions at Anvil Bay, not necessary in such lovely surroundings.
Dining: Breakfast is a selection of fresh fruits, yoghurt, cereals, cheese and cold meats as well as a cooked breakfast or brunch, and is served on the beach. The Forest Restaurant can be used when the weather is inclement and you have the bonus of being able to watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen. Light meals and beverages are available at the beach bar.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Casinhas can sleep up to 2 adults and 1 child, and there is a family casinha with a king size bed and 2 single beds. And there are 2 neighbouring casinhas that between them can accommodate a family of 5. Most casinhas can take an extra bed that can sleep 1 child under 12. There are age restrictions on certain activities. Children aged 12 and under must be supervised by parents at all times.
Health: This is a low risk malarial area.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi internet access though this can be unreliable at times. There is a phone guests can use at the beach bar.
Notes: Anvil Bay is operated by the Chemucane Tourism Company (CTC), a joint venture of the Chemucane community and the Bell Foundation, a local philanthropic trust.
The only credit cards that are accepted are MasterCard and Visa.