It’s Monday 7th March 2011 and four months till opening…

Last week we heard from Bettina and the work at Pumulani. There is more more excellent news this week from Malawi. Flying an hour and few minutes south from Lake Malawi, we will find at Majete Wildlife Reserve, where Jenna and Mark are battling to ensure that our new baby, Mkulumadzi, will be ready for our guests by the middle of July. Over to Jenna:
Arriving back at camp in early January, I could hardly believe how much had changed in the three short months I had been away on maternity leave. The grass was tall and green, the trees thick with leaves… and my veggie garden neglected and withered – eaten by hundreds of hungry new hoppers, whilst the Mkulumadzi team enjoyed an extended Christmas holiday!

Malachite KingfisherElephant couple

The building team returned to site rejuvenated and full of energy after their break and picked up where they had left off in December. The lodge is really beginning to take shape with all the chalets now up to roof level and the main lodge building almost complete.

Mkulumadzi lodge roomsMkulumadzi lodge bathroom

Mkulumadzi rooms balcony Mkulumadzi dinning area

Building in the bush certainly has had its challenges but many rewards too. You can imagine the builders’ surprise early one morning when they were greeted by three baby pythons that had fallen in to a trench during the night. Mark was quickly summoned to the scene to deal with the trapped trespassers. After snapping some shots of the wrigglers; armed with a thick sock, he managed to carefully lift them out of the trench and all three slithered off in to the tall grass.

baby pythonsbaby pythons

I’d like to think most of the hard work is behind us, but it strangely it still feels like we are just getting started and the to-do-list grows every day. With just four months to go till our opening date, planning for our guest experience is top of the list.

We start the construction of game viewing hides this month which will offer our guests excellent photographic opportunities. We will also be putting the final touches on the Old African style footbridge that serves as access to the lodge and expanding the road network within our 7,000HA private concession.

Sundays are our day for exploring and we always try to get out in to the reserve to discover what hidden gems Majete has to offer… we can’t wait to share them with our guests.

Boating safaris, birding trips on the Shire RiverWhite faced whistling ducks

African Parks Majete, who are responsible for the overall management of the reserve are also busy with building works this month. They are expanding the parks visitor facilities by adding an Environmental Education Centre and a Day Visitor facility to the existing Heritage Centre complex. Aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at school groups, the education centre will offer a library, natural history displays and conservation videos. The spacious thatch and Leadwood visitor centre overlooks a waterhole.

Mkulumadzi lodge common areas Mkulumadzi lodge common areas

As we are moving in to the final months before opening we are beginning to concentrate more on recruitment and training. We are currently looking to recruit an executive chef who will be responsible for delighting the taste buds of our future guests and I’m really looking forward to sampling what’s on the menu.

The Mkulumadzi guides are currently in Zambia at our Robin Pope Safaris camps undergoing a rigorous training programme and a few other key staff members will be visiting Pumulani and Zambia in the coming weeks to gain the experience needed to provide our guests with a memorable stay.

Lichtensteins hartebeestbuffalo

Thank you so much for this brilliant update and good luck with the works.

If you like to know more about this exciting soon-to-be-completed lodge, please visit our website www.mkulumadzi.com .

Next week we will be back to Zambia to the Western Province where we are getting ready for the Liuwa safaris, starting soon. Kathy Richardson will show us some pictures from her exciting visit in December and her trip to Kasanka to see the bat migration.

Have a great week!

Rita

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