It’s Monday 4th January 2010 and party at Pumulani

Luangwa Association Choir on Christmas EveRobin Pope Safaris at Luangwa Valley carols

A very Happy New Year to you! This week we hear from Luke and Bettina, the new managers of Pumulani but before I hand over to them…..firstly – remember my choir practicing? Well here is the choir at Christmas carols. They were superb. And secondly, last week, I somehow deleted the name of the snake Robin found in Liuwa Plain. It was a rhombic night adder. I had a number of emails asking for that and I am sure you have itching to know all week!

games at Pumulani, Lake Malawigames at Pumulani, Lake Malawi

Over to Luke at Pumulani….

So lots has been happening at the lake. Bettina and I have taken over from Mark and Jenna who are moving down south to Majete where they have some exciting ground work ahead of them. (Ed – RPS is starting a new project there…watch this space!) Last week we had our first staff Christmas party at Pumulani and it was a great success. We decided to have all wives and children in for some fun and games. This was an ideal opportunity to get to know all our staff and their families better.

games at Pumulani, Lake Malawigames at Pumulani, Lake Malawi

The kids where delighted to see where their mothers and fathers work and we had some very proud gardeners, waiters, chef and housekeepers showing their loved ones their workplace. Bettina and Kate were never to be found without babies in their arms or charging around playing tag. Seventy young girls and boys made the beach a vey happy place indeed. Afterwards we were treated to a wonderful welcome song in the local language Chichewa, led by the beautiful wife of our housekeeper, Innocent. We felt so touched by the warm heart of Africa! What a wonderful place to be!

games at Pumulani, Lake Malawigames at Pumulani, Lake Malawi

Later on things got a little hectic when preparing for the staff party in the afternoon, a goat to be barbecued, nshima to be stirred and DJ Dyson, our store manager, was busy getting his music ready. After a wonderful feast under the shady mango trees at the Pumulani beach with some goat gut sausages (?!) and other goodies it was time for the fun and games to begin…

We all had such fun and our sides were sore from laughing so much!

games at Pumulani, Lake MalawiJumping off Pumulani's dhow into Lake Malawi

Having replenished their batteries after a long season everyone was ready to get stuck into the grand finale, a full house over Christmas and New Year. And not wanting to be outdone by Zambia (where the President stayed in the Luangwa) we had our own president’s daughter Duwa coming for her honeymoon. Everyone was very excited to have her stay with us!

Life at Pumulani has been very exciting so far, a truly amazing place where the lake really does have a thousand different faces. Here there are just a few shots of the wonderful wildlife and special moments that we have experienced….

I was lucky enough to have grown up in the Luangwa Valley and remember the rainy season holidays on Lake Malawi. We stayed at a house just around the corner from Pumulani. I really love this time of year and always feel full of energy as everything is turning green and growing so fast.

twig snake at Pumulani, Lake MalawiSunset on New Year's Eve at Pumulani, Lake Malawi

New Year’s eve was a classic. Our local DJ from Monkey Bay, has just got back from recording his first single in Blantyre. He is also the pastor’s son. He played in 2010 with some traditional Malawian songs on his guitar and some hip shaking kwasu kwasu from the Congo on his mixing decks. Loyce had decorated the dining room with fish and stars that she made herself from banana leaves and silver spray. It was a wonderful evening with fireworks and a beautiful “blue moon” making the lake sparkle!! (Ed – for those who don’t know…a blue moon is a second full moon in a month. A blue moon on a NYE is rare, last was 1990 and next is 2028).

Pumulani will be closing from 11 January and reopening 01 April 2010. Bettina and I have been invited to Nkwali to help out with some staff training by Rob and Emily. We are both very excited and so happy to be back in Central Africa again!

Happy new year from everyone at the Lake

Luke & Bettina

So, back to the South Luangwa. Simon was up at Nsefu Camp yesterday starting the process of opening for River Journeys (Nsefu opens 22 January for boating and walking safaris). As the afternoon storms grow, the river rises and the bush continues to look quite beautiful…I wish you all the best for the week.


Sunset at Pumulani, Lake Malawi

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