Built on a dream, run on passion with a true love story thrown into the mix. This is the
evocative foundation of Dunes de Dovela.
This intimate lodge is set on a crest of dunes, tucked into a verdant coastal forest and offers
magnificent ocean views and absolute privacy. It’s positioned just 80km south of Inhambane
in southern Mozambique. When it’s yours you will feel like you live on another planet, whilst
in fact, you have a whole world at your feet.
Three thatched, luxury en-suite bungalows with private decks overlooking the sparkling
Indian Ocean, and four cosy tents resting on wooden decks with shared ablutions, are dotted
around the central lodge area where you’ll find the welcoming restaurant and bar – all set on
a sweeping deck. Dunes de Dovela is renowned for its delectable cuisine and
Franco-Mozambican food is served alfresco, for lunch and dinner.
This is a space where you’ll enjoy lazy breakfasts whilst watching whales frolic in winter,
where you’ll head out to snorkel in a protected tidal pool, or walk, bird watch and kayak on
the nearby lake. There are also three 4×4 vehicles to take you wherever you need to go.
And it all started when childhood friends Thomas Bruneau and Frederic Bonlieu decided to
adventure together. When Thomas discovered Mozambique, he knew he’d found the perfect
location to build his lifelong dream of a sustainable, natural oasis. So the two friends scoured
the coast around Inhambane to find the exact spot. They drove and trekked, and when they
reached the top of the dunes and looked over the Indian Ocean, they were captivated. This
Fred moved to Mozambique with his family, Thomas alone – but not for long. Two years into
the five-year project, Thomas met his wife-to-be Alex on-site, when she arrived with a friend.
And so a childhood dream and a love story were both born at Dunes de Dovela. It offers this
Set on 5 hectares in an 80-hectare concession, the property is two kilometres wide, follows
the coastline for half a kilometre and borders the freshwater lake of Dongane. As the project
developed, the local community were taught the necessary skills to build and craft the entire
lodge and its furnishings; and these days the community remains close by. So, the staff is all
local and everyone lives in harmony. A Donvela school was also developed, from an old
church and a commissioned artist added a striking mural.
Significantly, it’s summer year-round in the area and the ocean is as warm as the local
Dunes de Dovela offers an idyllic lifestyle, lived comfortably and close to nature, off the grid
and on the beaten track. You can drive in a 4×4, most of the way in an SUV, and some of the
ways in a car. Or just fly into Inhambane and be collected. Just 90 minutes later, you’ll be in
a tropical paradise.
What breathtaking bliss.
Written by Keri Harvey
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