Our Story

Our service Philosophy

Coral Lodge originally opened in 2010 and in April 2017 became under new ownership and management. One of the key promises of the Coral Lodge management team is the highly personalised and ‘anything is possible’ mind-set of service delivered by the lodge's fifty team members, including our new butler service and resident tailor! The lodge team is drawn from the local village community of Cabaceira Pequena (little head!). We consider that nothing is too much trouble at any time for our guests.

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Our Team

The Coral Lodge family

Meet Filipa and Ricardo Freitas - our Portuguese lodge management couple. Ricardo comes from a well known restaurant family in Leiria and studied at the Estoril hotel school. Ricardo has a passion for cooking and gastronomy. Filipa graduated in social education and met Ricardo working in the hotel restaurant business. They relocated to Africa to begin their own restaurant and managing a guest house in Nacala. Filipa and Ricardo have been responsible for the management of the lodge and the team. Their real ‘Africa adventure’ began in January 2014 with Coral Lodge!

“We were young and ambitious people willing to work, experience new cultures and learn” Filipa recalls. At a personal level, two years ago we adopted a street child called Alito, he is fourteen years old and has been living with us for two years. Without a doubt it has been the best thing that has happened to us. We have adapted very easily into this culture and feel very welcome.We love living in Africa” she adds.

Nearly all of the team members are from the local community in Cabaceira pequena, and they really enjoy working with them and feel completely at home and love getting to know new people. Filipa and Ricardo will be at the lodge to welcome you.


The Local Community

The communities nearest Coral Lodge are Cabaceira Grande and Cabaceira Pequena. The names of these villages come from the Portuguese word “cabaceira” which means “head”; “grande” which means “big” and “pequena” which means “small”. These villages were founded by Bantu immigrants who settled here between 200-300 A.D. Between 900-1500 A.D. the Bantu people came in contact with Arab traders. They started trading products and the two cultures mingled through intermarriage.

The villages are populated by the Macua people. The Macua culture is the main and most influential culture in Mozambique and is characterised by worshiping their ancestors and the diversity and richness of their traditional beliefs, food, dress, entertainment activities and language which varies from region to region.

Their remote location means the inhabitants of these two villages have lived in isolation for many centuries. This isolation has sheltered them from the civil war on the one hand, which ended in 1991. On the other hand, they remain underdeveloped in terms of schooling and medical services.

The children greet visitors with the word ‘acunya’, which means ‘white’. The inhabitants are not used to seeing white people, so they will be very enthusiastic.

In the village, one can find the grave of chief Mussa am biek. It is said that when the great Portuguese explorer and navigator Vasco da Gama, who was the first European to sail around Africa, met the chief there was a misunderstanding. Vasco da Gama didn’t understand the man’s name, and instead thought that the country was called ‘Mussa am Biek’. That is what the Portuguese called it until later the new territory became “Mozambique”.

Once an Arabic trading centre, a 1786 census registered over 19,000 people (Arabs, Indians and Portuguese) living and trading with the Cabaceiras. It was thriving market place where one man’s unhappy fate made another man’s fortune: slaves, gold and ivory were stocked and traded.

The primary school in Cabaceira was founded by the Portuguese around the 17th century. The school has 350 pupils aged 4-21. In the morning, the younger children have school; in the afternoon the older children study.

Around 99 percent of the habitants in Cabaceira are Muslims. This small village has four mosques, each with its own rules and customs. Muslims pray four times a day, when they don’t have to work.


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