It’s Monday 11th April 2005 and the Romantic Popes

Well we are back and what a wonderful break it was. So much so I am going to share it with you.

Likoma Island

We flew to Likoma Island on the eastern side of the lake and very near Mozambique. After landing on a slightly surprising bush strip we headed off to camp by boat. The island was green, hilly and with many baobab trees – giving almost a parkland look. On a rocky headland, is the superb Kaya Mawa – a truly romantic lodge. We had a “cottage” on the edge of the beach with a very calming view. We slept and read, swam and swam and then slept some more. Ally, our hostess, was rather surprised when we asked for dinner everyday at four in the afternoon so that we could go to bed at seven for yet more sleep. We had all our meals in different places from cliff tops and the beach (below – a private dinning room in the lake!). Great for Robin and I to have a romantic time together.

We did venture out to the town for a morning – in the camp “banger” with a short and noisy exhaust, no first gear and us driving! And much to Robin’s delight the famous Ilala boat was moored in the bay. This boat was carried out in pieces in the 19th century, from England then across the Africa bush. What a feat. It was refurbished in the fifties and it is still sailing around the lake and carrying everything from chickens to cement to cars. Robin did the trip in the early eighties – with his short wheel base landrover parked on the front deck. He has always talked wistfully about the ship and there she was. We negotiated with a fishing boat to canoe us out and we boarded for a quick tour. Have to say….would not be on the top of my list of things to do but then I am not romantic about boats. Then we visited the spectacular feature of the island – a cathedral – really impressive in size and nearly a hundred years o ld. The verger, a charming old man, took us proudly round ending with a climb up the tower to ring the bells – still the original ones.

the famous Ilala boatthe famous Ilala boat

So after three days of chilling out we boated over to Mozambique, via a rather challenging immigration situation (due to the liquid that had clearly been consumed that morning). The wind was now really blowing and the swell was some four feet – an exciting forty minutes boat ride to the lovely Nkwichi Lodge at Manda Wilderness. More a camp and less a lodge than Kaya Mawa, this is built very naturally and off the beach (we had the honeymoon house!). The area feels really wild and the camp is part of a huge and ambitious wilderness program. Here we had a beach with good waves and we spent hours surfing with boogy boards. Great fun. And of course a wonderful bedroom for more sleeping! We returned after five days away feeling like we had had three weeks away.

So the beach addition to the bush is nearby and both destinations were superb. On the day that we returned, the designer and contractor of our new and exciting project – Safari Houses of Zambia – arrived and so it was good timing to get the break. More on the project next week….

Until then…..

Jo

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