‘Kisawa’ resort weaves hilltop thatched-roof villas into the sand dunes of Mozambique

The Kisawa Conservation Area in Mozambique combines innovation and tradition

Nestled in the lush tropical landscape of Benguerra Island in Mozambique, Kisawa Sanctuary immerses guests in a world where innovation and tradition merge. That resort consists of eleven thatched bungalows set amidst 300 hectares of forest, beach and sand dunes. Designed by NJF Design, the organic beach villas offer expansive sea views while gently bringing guests closer to the natural surroundings.

“Kisawa means ‘unbreakable’ and that defines our commitment: to build a connection between people and place, life and land.” writes the Kisawa team on the sanctuary’s official website. “Our mission is to carefully and comfortably bring together wilderness and well-being. In everything we do, we want to support our guests and allow them to do what they want, when they want.”


The resort takes shape as a cluster of organic thatched-roof villas | all images courtesy of Kisawa Sanctuary

cementless construction and traditional techniques

NJF’s vision was to integrate the resort into its surroundings rather than disrupting them. The Kisawa Sanctuary leaves only a small footprint on the land by adopting new ways of “conscious” building that replace traditional techniques, reducing the impact as much as possible. Its construction involved craftsmen from Benguerra and neighboring islands, using techniques such as weaving, thatching and carpentry to celebrate Mozambique’s heritage. That Protected area in Mozambique is also an example of cement-free solutions in construction.

The team worked closely with the community to create a high-contrast series of textured, undulating, biophilic shapes that were used to create the residences’ thatched roofs and the spa’s impressive ‘domes’. Local weavers wove grass into sliding doors and baskets, while craftsmen carved chairs and tables from local jambir and sambiri woods. Kisawa’s in-house artisan, Andre Antonio Zivane, created wooden decorative objects ranging from miniature figurines to oversized, organically shaped sculptures.

'Kisawa' resort weaves hilltop thatched-roof villas into the sand dunes of Mozambique
The beachfront bungalows offer expansive sea views

INTERIOR DESIGN celebrating African heritage

Unique artworks and antiques have been sourced from across Africa for the interior design to ensure historical artifacts are preserved and their origins on the continent remain. This includes locally made, custom-designed furniture that provides a thoughtful and authentic sense of place and connection to the natural surroundings, while also supporting local craftsmanship. This brand of revolutionary hospitality combines respect, connection and heritage through thoughtful and purposeful design. No two residences are the same, each containing different elements of furniture, antiques, objects, ceramics and an individual color scheme. The works are supplemented by selected commissioned works by young African and international artists.

Nina Flohr, lead designer on the NJF team, sourced clay water pots made by the Nupe tribe in Nigeria and chairs hand-carved by the Makonde people of Tanzania. The wood is East African Mahogany, carved in one piece – usually to pay respect to an important member of the tribe.

'Kisawa' resort weaves hilltop thatched-roof villas into the sand dunes of Mozambique
The resort gently brings guests closer to the natural surroundings

'Kisawa' resort weaves hilltop thatched-roof villas into the sand dunes of Mozambique
Each residence offers an outdoor deck with pool

'Kisawa' resort weaves hilltop thatched-roof villas into the sand dunes of Mozambique
View of the thatched structures

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