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Lake Malawi Retreats
Posted on: Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Blog Category: 'Responsible Travel'

Lake Malawi Retreats

As owners of The Responsible Safari Company we want to be able to recommend the very best lodges to our visitors. To do this we have to try them out...and what a wonderful job that is!

For further information about either of these lodges please email Kate and Dom


Nkwichi Lodge, Lake Niassa, Mozambique

14 hours drive from Malawi (7 hours on dirt roads), one border crossing, 5 cars passed, faded Portuguese architecture photographed, deserted streets navigated, incredible scenery, high speed boat trip and we were there. Nkwichi Lodge is a true wilderness experience and we have completely fallen in love with it!

The Nkwichi Feel: Goosebumps…walking across the white sand beach, swimming in the clear lake waters, the utter silence at nighttime, waking up to the sun rising at the end of our bed…Nkwichi has it's own unqiue feel, miles from anywhere this wilderness lodge has been remarkabaly designed to offer bare foot luxury in the middle of nowhere! Nkwichi takes it name from the squeaky sound of the fine white sand between your toes...

Rooms: Every room has a unique feel to it, with beautifully designed outdoor bathrooms, funky traditional artwork, private decks for romantic meals and steps down into the clear waters of the lake. The open air rooms are all original in their design and we quite wanted to spend each night in a different room just to test them out! We travelled with friends and chose to stay on the exclusive Songea beach- and had it all to ourselves!

Beach(es): The main beach at Nkwichi is idyllic picture perfect white sand gorgeous! The lake laps gently onto the shores moulding the beautifully coloured stones and creating a lovely sandy lake bottom ideal for playing frizbee or for families with children to play within their depth. Little sun shades have been cleverly positioned along the wide beach to offer private shade areas making it feel like you have your own private retreat! Some rooms even have their own little beaches and bays, very romantic and ideal for honeymooners.

 Food: Before each meal one of the Nkwichi staff ask you where you would like to eat and there are so may options! You can eat on your private terrace, at the main lodge, on the beach, on the decking, in the forest, on a private island….being so cut off from main food sources they do incredibly well to provide guests with delicious food. The menu is inventive and has it’s own unique twist to it! The homemade passion fruit ice cream was our favourite!

 The Nkwichi Commitment: The lodge is part of The Manda Wilderness Project and an integral part of staying at Nkwichi is learning about the fantastic work that is going on within the surrounding communities. Their model is community led and appears to be both successful and sustainable with the lodge contributing through a percentage of their bed nights going into community funds. During our stay we took a boat ride to a nearby primary school and chatted at length to the staff about the different community initiatives taking place and how guests can spend the morning walking to local communities, visit schools and healthcare projects and see first hand the impact the project is having.

After a farewell dinner with local singing and dancing we had one final night sleeping under the stars before waking early to take the boat trip back to Cobue. The sun was rising as we left the lodge and sleepily we all watched as the lodge disappeared back in to the hillside and this slice of wilderness remained hidden and untouched as I am sure it still will be when we next return.


Pumulani Lodge, Lake Malawi, Southern Lakeshore.

Tucked into a small bay just round from the popular Cape Maclear sits the unique design of Malawi’s newest lakeside lodge, Pumulani. Expertly designed and built by Robin Pope Safaris, Pumulani is reached by a bumpy track winding its way up the hillside to the grand reception of the lodge. A wonderful welcome both by the staff and the truly outstanding views down over Lake Malawi immediately offer the wow factor.

 The Rooms: Stunning views, luxurious designs, romantic romantic romantic! Each room at Pumulani has a unique design and the space created makes it feel as though you have your own private apartment with large open plan bathroom, living area and bedroom. Each area of your ‘room’ has been well thought out from a large power shower/wet-room area to the clever use of space and building design to create that feeling of privacy and romance!

Infinity Pool and The Beach: Teetering on the edge of the hillside is the lodge infinity pool, purely designed for sipping cocktails and watching the setting sun! After our blissful dip in the pool we ate lunch on the terrace and took a walk down past the rooms to the beach. Quite a walk! But completely worth it! Lake Malawi laps onto the shores and idyllically placed sun loungers invite visitors to while away the hours, watch the local fishermen and soak up the rays.

Dinner Under The Stars: A truly stunning Lake Malawi sunset completed our first day and Emma cooked up a magnificent meal for us that we ate on the terrace complete with a sky brimming full of stars. The terrace is ideal for a romantic dinner for two and the food, wine and excellent service left us idyllically happy as we sauntered back through the forested paths to our welcoming room.

Activities: Up early to the sunrise and an early morning guided walk through the forest following the lakeshore round to a small bay where our kayaks were waiting. Ideal way to wake up, stunning birdlife and such a treat to be able to walk one way and then get a kayak back to the lodge. After a laid back paddle we made it back to the beach and after a quick change we set off on our morning dhow sailing breakfast- what a treat! It was incredibly spoiling and very romantic to sail on the traditional wooden dhow with regular stops for swimming and snorkeling on route. It was brilliant fun diving off the boat and especially because the Pumulani staff all joined in and we ended up having a diving and jumping competition! With so many activities on offer we opted for one final boat ride, this time at high speed with Kate skiing along behind!

A truly wonderful stay and we would highly recommend anyone wanting a bit of lakeside luxury to come and stay at Pumulani Lodge!


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