It’s Monday and Mkulumadzi turns 10!

I do hope that you are all fantastically well and have had a lovely weekend and are now sitting comfortably ready and raring for the week ahead. Here in the Luangwa, well it’s been non-stop with wild dogs literally scooting around all over the place and camp surrounded by elephants but this week instead of tales from here I am handing you over to Ton and Margaux as we celebrate 10 years of Mkulumadzi. Ton and Margaux over to you:

“This July we celebrate Mkulumadzi’s 10th year in operation and what a wonderfully eventful 10 years it has been!

After negotiating with African Parks for a 7000 hectares private concession within Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, preparations for our dream lodge started to become a reality in late 2009.

With projects like this, location is everything – where should the lodge go? There’s so much to take into consideration: the site, accessibility, the views, noise pollution, the layout, the vegetation and so much more. After choosing the site, more planning and decision-making followed; materials, budgets, timelines were put together, contractors found, electrics, generators, game vehicles, hot water geysers, décor and furnishings etc etc. We often think back and wonder, how on earth did we manage!

Looking back, we can certainly vouch for the location as it is one of the most picturesque setting for a lodge; after all, what better place than on the confluence of the 2 rivers: the Shire River and the Mkulumadzi River.

Mkulumadzi means ‘big water’ in the local Chichewa language and we thought it was a very fitting name to give the lodge considering it is surrounded by these two spectacular rivers. The lodge is shaded by giant Leadwoods and surrounded by lush forest with view on pods of hippo’s and crocs in the river in front.
We wanted our guests adventure to start long before they arrived at the lodge and what could be grander than crossing our magnificent suspended footbridge, which sprawls out over the Mkulumadzi River. Once at the lodge you come face to face with the iconic Shire River which flows all year round right in front of the lodge.
The lodge has a wonderfully cozy atmosphere, the open chalets are perfectly placed with stunning river views as well as some fantastic wildlife viewing all from the comfort of the private deck. The main building is of a good size and beautifully designed by Ton himself.

Another element of Mkulumadzi that we love is the infinity pool which aside from giving some much-needed relief in the hotter months is also a fantastic place to relax with a book as you watch the Shire River amble by. The fire pit is another popular place to congregate for a night cap and share stories, laughs and more.

About 1 – 1.5 km away from the main lodge, is the Star Bed – a small platform (1.5 – 2 meters) above the ground. There is a bed with mosquito net and a bathroom. It’s a beautiful and amazing experience to be out in the bush and sleep under the glorious and star-filled stars!

When we first opened our ‘doors’, game viewing was not as prolific as other parks, but boy has that changed! In our 10 years of operating in Majete Wildlife Reserve we have had front row seats to a conservation success story unfold (Watch: Operation Majete) and were also so privileged to be directly involved when the historic return of lion to the park (Read: Lions return to Majete)! We have seen the arrival of leopard, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe to name a few and are looking forward to another iconic species being introduced later in the year. Prior to African Parks take over in 2003, Majete Wildlife Reserve was nothing but a wasteland due to poaching and mismanagement but today it is one of Malawi’s most influential game areas, a big 5 park and is even supplying other protected areas within the country with wildlife. We commend African Parks for the amazing work they are doing!

There have been plenty challenges in operating Mkulumadzi lodge, mainly to do with water; from washed away bridges, to vehicles stuck at river crossings, no running water in the lodge and even flooding in the chalets! But hey, this is Africa: it’s wild, adventurous, ravishing and no day is the same!

We are extremely proud of 10 years of operating this special lodge, we are proud of the transformation Majete Wildlife Reserve has gone through , we are so proud of our great team and most of all, we are proud to have been able to share this special piece of Africa with you for the past 10 years and look forward to seeing you when travel opens up again.

Thank you!
Ton & Margaux”
Wonderful thank you both so much and for any of you who are now desperate to visit Mkulumadzi and haven’t already click on this link for a virtual tour of camp: Escape to Mkulumadzi Lodge!

While on the subject of Majete, just 2 days ago the reserve welcomed 3 male cheetahs to add to the existing coalition that were brought into Majete Wildlife Reserve in 2019. They will be held in a predator boma to acclimatize before being released into the Majete wilderness! We will keep you posted on their progress.

This leaves me with very little to add except have a wonderful week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one-another.
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