How to Holiday like a Champion Along the Mozambican Coast

How to Holiday like a Champion Along the Mozambican Coast

Country & Town House's top picks for a sun-drenched holiday in Africa's hottest beach destination. 

"It is situated on possibly the best beach I have ever seen, with pristine white sand stretching as far as the eye can see. Eco credentials are taken seriously here – there’s no electricity or running water – but if you want somewhere a little quirky to stay then it’s a real winner."

Guludo Founder featured in Women in Leadership Guardian Article

Guludo Founder featured in Women in Leadership Guardian Article

Guludo founder, Amy, is interviewed by The Guardian for their Women in Leadership feature. Amy talks about how she came to set up Guludo, her motivations and what it takes to be a social entrepreneur in the tourism industry.

Conde Nast Traveller present Guludo with 3 World Savers Awards

Conde Nast Traveller present Guludo with 3 World Savers Awards

At the World Savers Congress in Singapore, Conde Nast Traveler gave Guludo a staggering 3 awards. This is the first and only time they have given 3 awards to one property and founders Neal and Amy, were deeply honoured to accept the award on behalf of the Guludo and Nema team in Mozambique. Here's what they had to say about us...

Mozambique Eco-Chic: Evening Standard

'The hot African sun filters through stable doors fitted with fishing-basket weave and bamboo slats as I wander sleepily around my vast, open bathroom. There's a recycled Gordon's Gin bottle filled with boiling water for cleaning teeth, a thermal-syphon and coconut-husk shower contraption that looks like a nodding donkey, and a double-chambered composting loo with views over the powder-white sands and pale-turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

'British architect Richard Nightingale has designed these new bandas at Guludo, in Mozambique. They're strictly eco, combining local materials and traditional techniques with the latest findings from the Centre of Alternative Technology in Wales. They have walls of mud brick, roofs of thatch secured with rubber from stripped-down tyres, and ceramic floor tiles made by a local woman's group. They're simple, providing everything you need and nothing you don't. They're also chic, with windows that open dramatically to catch the ocean breeze and chair backs with unevenly spaced struts to mimic the dappling of light.

"I never imagined we could make something so beautiful," says Mandela, the head of construction.
'Lovely as they are, the bandas are only part of the vision of Guludo co-founder Amy Carter-James, who won the New Statesman award for Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year two years ago, when she was just 25. Born in Woking, Amy decided she wanted to use "high-quality, low-quantity" tourism to protect the environment and alleviate poverty while teaching in Kenya during her gap year. In September 2002, she and her boyfriend (now husband and business partner) Neal drove north from Maputo to Cabo Delgado, the poorest province in a country still recovering from 15 years of civil war, with a list of potential sites. They knew Guludo was right the moment they saw it; looking at the 12km beach, it's easy to see why.

'From October, Guludo will have seven new eco-bandas, including two with mezzanines for families, as well as three of the original tented rooms, and a staff of 55 locals managed by four Brits. Getting here has had its challenges: for one thing, the average amount of education is two-and-half years and the local languages are Kimuani, a variant of Swahili, and Portuguese. But it's a gorgeous place to stay, with fresh fish or vegetarian food for lunch and supper; kayaking through the mangroves, picnics on Rolas Island, and sundowners overlooking the forested interior; where elephants are sometimes spotted.

'The marine life is extraordinary, offering regular sightings of turtles, sharks, rays and dolphins and humpback whales.

'A visit to nearby Ibo Island where, from the 17th to the 19th century, the Portuguese controlled the trade in ivory and slaves is utterly compelling. Ibo's crumbling mansions are being restored by USAID and assorted European NGOs, but for the moment it is still something of a ghost town, its walls choked by strangler figs. There is a surreal lamppost and lighthouse from 1764, an old customs house with log books from the 1940s and in the main fort, built by arab traders in 1754, 15 silver-smiths make delicate jewellery in the courtyard. The project is supported by the Agha Khan Foundation and Ibo Island Lodge, whose rooms, furnished with Goan antiques, overlook magical tidal flats.

'Guludo's support for the community is intrinsic to the operation - and is needed in an area where life expectancy is 38 and 30 per cent of children die before their fifth birthday. As well as running Guludo and developing Mipande, a treehouse bush lodge scheduled to open for Christmas 2009, Amy and Neal have set up a foundation, Nema, to "tackle all roots of poverty" in the area. The foundation has rehabilitated 26 water points, paid for 49 students to go to secondary school, and provided meals of porridge for primary-school children in Guludo village, increasing attendance from 80 to 300. Some 4,400 mosquito nets have also been distributed to pregnant women and those with children under five.

'Nema's next focus is to raise awareness of HIV and Aids by linking classes to football matches against other participating villages. This has all happened in two years, so the foundation's name ("Nema means when suffering is over and suddenly there's happiness", says Amy) is spot-on.

'The fat, malnourished bellies of the children stayed in my mind alongside drinks by a campfire under the blazing stars of the southern hemisphere.

 The great thing about Guludo is that you can do your bit for the environment and the local people just by having a good time.' 

Lisa Johnson
Evening Standard, 23 October

October 23rd, 2008

Guludo wins Tourism for Tomorrow Award

Guludo wins Tourism for Tomorrow Award

Who would have thought that Guludo would lead us to the tourism world stage... in Las Vegas. Guludo's co-founder, Amy, says,

Our dream was to demonstrate the profound potential tourism has to relieve poverty and address world issues. Receiving this esteemed, international award is not just a deep honour but helps to realise this dream and inspire the rest of the industry.

A World of Good: Intelligent Life

The Economist's quarterly magazine, Intelligent Life, features Guludo in an article titled, "A World of Good".

"Charity can begin away from home, too.

Rosanna de Lisle picks out hotels with a social conscience...

"Hotels are under increasing pressure to green up their act. Where once it seemed enough to cut down on towel-washing, these days discerning guests expect renewable energy, waste recycling, water conservation and local produce.

But eco-consciousness is only half the story: to be ethical, hotels need a social conscience too.

While many hotels employ local people and support charities, the five featured here actually exist to improve the lives of their neighbours. It's no coincidence that they are all in the developing world, since that is where the worst poverty - and hence the greatest scope for tourism to relieve it - is found.

"What does a hotel with a social conscience offer guests? The chance to meet local people, join in community projects and go home knowing that your holiday didn't just do YOU the world of good. The only guilt involved is the flight. But Justin Francis, who co-founded and the Responsible Travel Awards and recently denounced carbon offsetting as a "medieval pardon", gives this advice:

"If you're going to fly, make it count and go somewhere where you'll do more good than harm."

"In 2002 Neal and Amy Carter-James asked the people of a village on the northern coast of war-torn Mozambique if they'd like to create a hotel to relieve their poverty.

"Guludo Beach Lodge now affects 15,000 people for the better. Through its Nema Foundation, funded by a 5% levy on bills plus donations, Guludo provides clean water, education, health care and malaria nets and won the 2009 Responsible Tourism Award for Poverty Reduction.

"The nine beachside bandas are chill-out havens but most guests are moved to visit the village rather than flop." 

Intelligent Life.

Travel Africa Magazine: Ahead of the Game

Amy Carter-James may not yet be a household name in the UK, but in Mozambique’s Quirimbas National Park she is well known to thousands of people for transforming their lives through tourism. Here, she talks with Sue Watt.

We first met in 2009 at London’s World Travel Market, where she’d won the World Responsible Tourism ‘Best for Poverty Alleviation’ award for work with communities around her lodge in Guludo.

Under the African sky in Mozambique - Evening Standard

"...The beguiling and slowly regenerating country makes other more established Indian Ocean destinations such as the Maldives, Seychelles, Zanzibar and Mombasa seem tired and overdeveloped in comparison. While Mozambique boasts many remarkable attractions, it's the Quirimbas Islands in the isolated far north of the country, near the border with Tanzania, that offer the most luxurious and spectacularly laid-back holiday options.

"East Africa’s best kept secret" - Style Bible July 2010

Remote and untouched by mainstream commercial developments, northern Mozambique is the perfect setting for a relaxed tropical getaway. by Daniela Marchesi

Set within the picturesque archipelago of the Quirimbas National Park, for as far as I could see at Guludo Beach Lodge, there were kilometres of palm-fringed white-powdery deserted beaches. I was happily stranded, and who wouldn’t be?
The brainchild of Amy and Neal Carter-Jones, Guludo (along with its associated charity – the Nema Foundation) was created in 2002 as a sustainable model to help relieve poverty and protect the environment. Over the years their hard work has seen them win a range of awards commending their efforts to develop responsible tourism in the area, from ‘Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year’, ‘Best in Poverty Reduction’, to being crowned this year as the ‘International overall most Responsible Hotel’. When talking with Amy about her work, the passion that fuelled and sustained this project nearly ten years ago, is still as strong today as it was back then. 
With the help of Cullum and Nightingale Architects, Guludo was built using local building materials and utilised (and still does) the skills, knowledge and techniques of the local residents – empowering and developing the local capabilities. Indeed villagers have now been trained and employed to work at the Lodge. 
Spaced out along the empty white beach, there are nine bandas (bungalows) each with panoramic views through the nettled walls, creating a feeling of being outside while inside. 
The king-size beds are on raised tiled floors, sitting under an expansive palm-thatched roof opening upwards and outwards to the sea with its cooling breeze. Also, each banda has a quirky alfresco marbled bathroom with inventive showers made out of coconut gourds and cane that rely soley on sun-warmed water.  Falling asleep on my first night to the gentle sound of crashing waves was exactly what the doctor had ordered – complete relaxation. 
Guludo also has a well-equipped PADI dive centre along with a great team of dive masters and instructors. Being able to dive reefs where I was the only person there along, with my buddy was incredible, and of course the shoaling fish, turtles and the cute clown fish playing hide and seek amongst the anemones made it all the better. The mixture of coral gardens and the drop-offs with strong currents mean that the diving here is ideal for both beginners as well as the more advanced and those curious to discover new dive sites. 
Other activities also include snorkelling, beach archery, pottery with local artisans, bush walks, day trips to neighbouring islands, sunset dhow sailings (the traditional Arab sailing vessel) and for the ultimate pampering session, a selection of beauty treatments can be enjoyed on the beach. 
For those who want to take in the wild African bush, there is also a nearby mirador (viewpoint) which overlooks the northern part of the Quirimbas National Park, and is one of the very few places where it is possible to view elephants during the day. 
However, workaholics listen up – at Guludo, there is no electricity, though a generator is operated a few hours a day. So no televisions, laptops or mobile phones – bliss, non?
Through the Nema Foundation, Guludo also runs education programmes and projects in the village and there is the opportunity for guests to help out if they so wish. For more information on the Nema Foundation, 

See the full article at

Amy on July 20th, 2010