On the ebbing tide, set sail with local seamen onboard a traditional Swahili dhow. The destination is Ilha das Cobras, an uninhabited island with a hidden lagoon.

Arriving with the tide at its lowest point everyone pitches in to transfer the gear ashore – the first of many occasions when the kayaks prove indispensable. And then, its goodbye to the boat capitáo and on with our wilderness adventure.

Our camp is on a pristine, white-sand beach. Here the aquamarine sea is perfectly framed by a natural, coral rock arch which also provides us with refreshing shade. At low tide hundreds of rock pools form, trapping colourful tropical fish – your own private, real life aquarium. Crabs scitter about, and all manner of shellfish including exotic cowries cling to the craggy rock walls. A second beach, at the entrance to the lagoon we leave free for nesting turtles.

And now we have 2 days to uncover the secrets of this very special island wilderness.

Kayaking across the waters of the hidden lagoon and into the hauntingly beautiful, ancient coral rock cave system is just one of many highlights. In twos and threes explore the maze of hidden passages, the most beautiful of which is surely still waiting to be discovered.

Swim, walk, kayak, whale watch and simply laze on the beaches. Explore the myriad rockpools, try your hand at catching octopus and experiment with preparing local delicacies such as sea-urchins.

Meals are prepared for you using the finest local ingredients maintaining a ‘Slow Foods’ tradition and invoking the rich coastal trading history of this region.

Night time on the island is quite magical. Settling in around traditional clay-pot burners, it’s time to enjoy a sumptuous seafood meal prepared by the cooks. Overhead a billion stars combine to form the Milky Way and on every side you can hear the gentle roar of the ocean as it curls around Ilha das Cobras. It’s just you and the island, floating in the Indian ocean. Bliss.

Departures are governed by the tides and the moon cycles. The optimum times to travel to Ilha das Cobras are on the New Moon and the Full Moon.

We find a maximum of 8 people is perfect, but we can make special arrangements for larger groups of 9 or 10, please email [email protected] to discuss this. Its also a great family activity, fantastic for curious kids with energy to burn. Price is minimum $550 for up to 4 people, add $140 for each additional person.