Its Monday and a tale of masks and safari in Malawi

Hello there, hope you are well and have had an awesome weekend. Here in the Luangwa, it is warming up and the game has continued to offer us some amazing treats. Will save the details though for another week as I do not want to distract you from this week’s news. Conrad, who heads up our Operations in Malawi is sharing with us from his part of the world this week. Over to you Conrad…

“Back in March, with borders shutting and guests cutting safaris short to rush home, our conversations centered around closing camps, stockpiling basic supplies and erecting barriers outside the lodges – anything to minimize contact with the hustle and bustle of what to become our new normal. Now, in September, our conversations are about what colour of mask best matches our uniform and which hand sanitizer smells best.
So, what happened between March and today.

In March we decided to mothball Mkulumadzi completely. With vehicle batteries disconnected, furniture stored away and the pool going green; we waited patiently to see what the next step would be. How rapidly the virus would spread in Malawi and its neighboring countries? Which counter measures the government would introduce? How quickly the country would run out of fuel, face masks and, dare I say it, mayonnaise?

Staff had all been sent home and would take turns to assist in camp sitting. Other than the day we prepared for a national lockdown (that never materialized) and the day the lions blocked off the path to the footbridge, daily life was as normal as it could be. It was all about patience and routine.
By mid-May some of the answers to our questions started to surface. It became apparent that the virus spread would slower across Africa than what the rest of the world had experienced. We realized that fuel was still available, and face masks could be home-made. It also became clear that the novelty of kids not going to school and parents working from home had turned into a nuisance. We once again started receiving booking requests from people within Malawi.

In early July Mkulumadzi opened its doors to guests, and since then has been operating on weekends. It is far from ideal, but much better than some of the worst case scenarios we discussed in March; for that we are thankful!

The team have become experts at unpacking Mkulumadzi on a Thursday afternoon, welcoming guests on the Friday and packing it all up again on the Sunday. Wash, rinse, repeat (and by wash we mean disinfect) each weekend. The support we’ve received from the local travel community has been heartwarming and a massive thank you of each of them!

Even without the continuity of operating every day, Mkulumadzi has not lost its touch and with feedback like “An exceptional experience from beginning to end” and “We were pampered and treated like royalty” – we’re delighted to still be able to give our guests a place to break away from it all.”

Thank you so much Conrad! It seems you and the team in Malawi have your hands full and managing to enjoy the season with your guests.

We look forward to welcoming you and the rest of the world to Malawi as we note the increased flights in and out of the country.

On that lovely note, have yourself a fantastic week with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.

Emily
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