Kisawa and BCSS: a Partnership Between Hospitality and Science Recognised by National Geographic’s 2024 ‘Best of the World’ Guide

As part of National Geographic’s picks for BEST OF THE WORLD 2024, the brand’s annual guide of the most exciting, meaningful, and one-of-a-kind travel experiences for 2024, one Mozambican gem stands out. Located in the Bazaruto Archipelago, Kisawa Sanctuary is not just a luxurious escape but a haven where guests can reconnect with themselves and their environment, embracing local traditions and produce as part of a holistic wellness experience. The Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS), a research station & ocean observatory, is proud to be Kisawa’s sister property and the partner on the ground behind all the marine research, diving, and environment-driven decisions.

At Kisawa, visitors are guided by the rhythm of the ecosystem, and inspired by the rich biodiversity surrounding the sanctuary. The Nat Geo “Best of the World” 2024 guide introduces a new category – Wellness Experiences, and Kisawa Sanctuary proudly finds its place among the curated hotels, restaurants, and cultural spots deemed worthy of building a trip around.

Both Kisawa Sanctuary and the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS) were built in harmony with nature, using local materials to blend into the surrounding environment.

Resort to Research (R2R): A Groundbreaking Concept

Kisawa’s commitment to innovation extends beyond its thoughtfully designed accommodation. The Resort-to-Research (R2R) concept, a groundbreaking initiative in the hospitality industry, is a collaboration between Kisawa Sanctuary and BCSS. This initiative bridges the gap between hospitality, luxury, and science, creating a unique symbiosis that has garnered attention for its big picture sustainability goals.

The Resort-to-Research initiative bridges the gap between hospitality, luxury, and science, creating a unique symbiosis that has garnered attention for its big picture sustainability goals.

The partnership reached a milestone in 2023 with joint activities allowing Kisawa guests to engage in BCSS-oriented activities and scientific exploration. One highlight is the Ocean Mapping & Monitoring of remote seafloor areas, an endeavor that resulted in meticulously mapping 26 coral and rocky reefs in 3D, a first-of-its-kind achievement in the hospitality sector. Guests now enjoy curated world class diving experiences in remote reefs 3D mapped to facilitate pre-visualization. Another example is the co-development of an App with Artificial Intelligence (AI) that recognizes and classifies plastic items collected from any given ecosystem. Guests can now participate in this scientific experience with their own phones via Ai technology.

The Bazaruto Archipelago seascape is considered to host the second most biodiverse coral reefs, with more than 2,000 fish species and 122 shark and ray species.

BCSS Impact Report: Pioneering Marine Science

BCSS’s dedication to marine sciences is evident in the annual impact report. A staggering 1,489 diving hours were dedicated to diving expeditions, producing valuable data on species inventories, ocean acidification, carbon transfer, plastic impact, and marine population dynamics. All data are openly shared through an accessible platform, fostering collaboration with national and research institutions across the globe.

The BCSS Ocean Observatory concept is not just about research but also about partnerships. Collaborations with organizations like Universal Plastic, using AI algorithms and blockchain to track marine debris, showcase BCSS’s commitment to advancing marine science through technology. BCSS also partners with major oceanographic institutions (e.g. GEOMAR in Germany), and with government (MIMAIP, InOM in Mozambique) to deliver its science.

Mangrove, dune, mudflat, beach, forest and lake ecosystems cover Benguerra Island, making the second biggest island of the Bazaruto Archipelago incredibly varied.

Resort 2 Research (R2R): A Model for Sustainable Conservation

The R2R concept is more than a collaboration; it’s a commitment to long-term research endeavors for the country where the property is developed. This initiative provides a stable long-term platform for scientific environmental monitoring, ensuring financial sustainability and longevity.

In a harmonious relationship, Kisawa Sanctuary’s guests indirectly contribute to non-profit research, creating a nature-positive relationship between hospitality and conservation. The data and knowledge generated by BCSS guide daily decisions at the sanctuary, from construction choices to guest experiences.

A Pledge for a Sustainable Future

Kisawa and BCSS are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a 51% decrease in their carbon footprint, the resort and the observatory are keep transitioning to sustainable solutions, actively contributing to the prevention of marine pollution, supporting education, and promoting responsible consumption.

Kisawa Sanctuary and BCSS’s inclusion in Nat Geo’s Best of the World 2024 is a recognition of a pioneering model that seamlessly blends luxury with marine science. As travelers seek experiences that go beyond the ordinary, Kisawa Sanctuary stands as a beacon of responsible tourism, demonstrating that every journey can leave a positive impact on the world.

For questions about this article, please contact:
Iris Uijttewaal, Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies

Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies
Host of the first permanent Ocean Observatory focused on multi-ecosystem time series research in Africa, the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS) was established in 2017 as in independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to protect and support the fragile ecosystems of the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique. The research station is located on Benguerra Island, off the coast of Mozambique.

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