It’s Monday 11th August 2008 and One Month at Pumulani

It’s Monday 11th August 2008 and One Month at Pumulani

Pumulani has been open for a little over a month now, and I asked Mark and Jenna (the management couple) to give us an update on the goings on … over to Mark and Jenna:

Pumulani’s first month of operation is under the belt and things are settling into a more relaxed pace on our piece of Lake Malawi’s shoreline. ‘Relaxed’ is hardly how we could describe the few days leading up to receiving our first guests on the 1st of July but it’s amazing how quickly a building site can be transformed into a lodge that settles beautifully into its surrounding environment rather than imposing upon it. The ten spacious villas can hardly be seen from the lake but are cleverly positioned to all have breathtaking lake views from the inside.

Pumulani from the lakeDhow

Most guests arriving at Pumulani are fresh from a South Luangwa Safari and are only too happy to swap dusty safari boots for sandals and sip cool cocktails on a beach lounger! Wake-up calls and game-drive times are soon forgotten. Sleeping in late becomes the norm and our version of a game-drive vehicle is a traditional dhow with a huge white sail. Honking hippos from across the bay and an abundance of birdlife remind us that it is not all that different though and we are still in the bush.  Lake Malawi National Park surrounds Pumulani in the form of steep Miombo Woodland covered hills, topped with huge granite boulders larger than houses. Looking from the lake the lodge is totally dwarfed by these hills and appears rather small in such grand surroundings.

Grey baobabs dot the shoreline and serve as perches for the numerous African fish eagles that keep a vigil over the blue water. With one of the densest populations of fish eagles in Africa we are often rewarded with views of these iconic birds in action as they swoop onto the lake and snatch fish from just below the surface. A nearby nest in a baobab holds a chick and we will be monitoring his/her progress over the months.

Beach, sun loungers and cocktailsPied kingfishers

It is not all cocktails and beach loungers though and mornings are often filled with snorkelling trips to the ‘aquarium’, waterskiing and tubing, or a walk through the local fishing village.

A popular activity has been a walk along a path through the hills. Encounters with bushbuck, yellow baboons and rock hyraxes are common and shy samango monkeys have shown themselves on a few walks. Some excellent birding opportunities offer bohms bee-eater, brown-headed parrot, Livingstone’s flycatcher, collared palm thrush and close-ups of fish eagles. The path ends at a secluded beach where some kayaks are waiting and we enjoy a paddle back to Pumulani’s beach. Spot-necked otter are sometimes seen, usually solitary individuals hunting along the rocky shallows. A resident otter family can be seen from the beach at around Gin and Tonic time in the evenings.

KayakingInner tubing

Lunch on the beach or on the deck of the main lodge leads into lazy afternoons and a sunset sail on the dhow. Everybody falls in love with the dhow and there is no better way to enjoy the blue waters of the lake than from this boat. Our staff have had the opportunity to put training into practice and a month of experience has honed a few skills and taught them that a big smile gets you a long way! Visitors to Malawi are often touched by the genuine friendliness of the people.

Big smilesMark & Jenna

The ‘to do’ list is growing for our second month: Add a few options to our menus, create a few more cocktails, open up some new walking trails in the hills, visit Msaka fishing village, explore a few more snorkelling spots and keep on looking for klipspringer in the hills and Pel’s fishing owl on the lake shore.

We’ll keep you updated……

Mark and Jenna

PS Thanks to Chrisl Nennstiel & Charles Bradbrook for sharing their photos with us!

A Pumulani sunset

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