It’s Monday 1st December 2008 and the guides hit Pumulani

As a thank you for all the guides hard work over the season, we sent them off to Pumulani for a couple of days to relax on the beach.

The first guard was Zebron, Sebastian, Prince, Masumba and Bertram who headed off early in the morning to get their passes for Malawi in Chipata and cross the border and drive down the amazing Dedza pass into the Lake Malawi Basin. Upon arrival all 5 guides threw themselves with a passion into the activities available at Pumulani – although there may have been a slight hesitation as water activities are usually a strict no-no for Luangwa Valley residents.

Lounging by the  infinity poolMasumba and Bertie jumping off the dhow enjoying the  cool Lake Malawi waters

Everyone took an immediate shine to the golf-cart, and Zebron made sure he didn’t walk up from the beach and always took the lift, even if it meant pushing the golf-cart up the slippery hill. Masumba threw himself at every activity with gusto and practically had to be restrained on the dhow from leaping overboard for the 20th time. Sebastian also spent about 32 of his 36 hours at Pumulani in the water. Prince and Zebron preferred to keep their feet dry but Prince did get up the courage to hit the swimming pool – although he did ask for a lifejacket. Bertie laughed a lot and did everything there was to do. These guys managed to fit in a dhow trip, snorkeling trip, visit to Msaka fishing village and a visit to Cape Maclear. As a group their favourite excursion was the snorkeling as they could stare in wonder at all the fish. The kayaks were also popular, and those with previous experience from Lower Zambezi enjoyed showing off their skills.

Kayking in the sunsetGetting ready to snorkel

Next up was Kiki, Nyambe, Kanga, Jacob, Joseph and Gerald. Luckily Zebron had drawn a map from Lilongwe to Pumulani – although they did have to stop for directions. Luckily they found their way easily, otherwise they would have been the subject of teasing for many months to come.

Life on the  LakeKanga helping sail the dhow

Upon arrival they jumped on dhow and explored the fishing villages and were amazed at the different lifestyle when living next to the lake. They were very excited to taste Chambo fish and Nshima. Throughout the stay, the guides’ location could be located by their laughs – Jacob and Kiki probably have the most distinct laughs and could definitely be heard between the beach and the lodge! There were just not enough hours in the day to fit all of the activities in. A snorkeling trip, dhow sail and visit to Cape Maclear were all crammed into one day. Whilst out snorkeling Gerald took a break sitting on a shallow rock and a couple of fish came for a wee nibble. Gerald received such a fright that he screamed and was nearly walking on water! Everyone had a good belly-laugh (including Gerald). The speed-boat was a massive hit and was by far the most popular activity, especially when the built in radio was discovered.

Snorkelling  amongst all the fabulously bright fishEveryone loves the speed boat

The Pumulani staff had never encountered a group of guides before and didn’t quite know what to make of these enthusiastic, laughing people with binoculars dangling around their necks. Their mood is infectious though and they soon livened the place up a bit.

Back at Nkwali we are making plenty of progress with the chalets – the foundations are in, the new thatch is going on and the designers are making their last minute ‘tweaks’ so that the result is stunning! Next step is the new floor and walls for the extension.

Work at Nkwali

Hope you all enjoy the first week of December …



P.S. If you’re after a special gift that supports wildlife conservation at the same time, Kellie from AWDC has wildlife prints available to order. There will be one more print run before Christmas at the end of this month, so if you’d like more information or to order please visit the website or email Kellie – Kellie(at) . All proceeds go towards African Wild Dog Conservation AWDC.

Zambezi Morning  by Kellie Leigh

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