WORKING TOGETHER TO PROMOTE MALAWI
Danforth Yachting • Kaya Mawa • Latitude 13° • Mkulumadzi • Robin Pope Safaris • Satemwa Ulendo Lodges • Ulendo Safaris • Wilderness Safaris Malawi
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Congratulations to Emma & Chris (Mkulumadzi management couple) who recently tied the knot. Wishing them a happy and lifelong marriage! Back at the lodge their team has been having a variety of training programs preparing for the year ahead. After a refreshing break a few weeks ago, they are ready for a fun filled year.
Pumulani has just reopened for the new season and we are delighted to welcome a new management couple Alex and Karien. Both South African but with international and regional exposure, they bring a fresh touch to the Pumulani team. Cooking up a storm in the Pumulani kitchen is chef Elan who also is bringing an international flair to the team. The whole team has also being undergoing training workshops ahead of opening. It’s all systems go now and we look forward to another great season.
The bush is lovely and green from all the rain, with all the animals happy and healthy, and the sound of the Shire River so tranquil. We have had good sightings of hyena not too far away from camp and the birds are in abundance. The rain has cleared up; the sun has come back and started to dry up all the excess water. Buzz, our resident bushbaby, was spotted during the day taking shelter in a large shady lead wood tree with her baby. Unfortunately we believe her other baby has not survived as we haven’t seen it for a while.The remaining baby is healthy and strong and comes down most evenings with her. Majete's lions continue to stick around the north eastern sector of the park and have been seen scent marking and territory calling from the Mkulumadzi River to Twiti in the west and Thawale in the south. There's no hint of pregnancy yet but the prey species are very aware of them now and are acting as they should. Great experiences all round and look forward to even more activity the rest of the year.
The team at Pumulani is taking much deserved break and will soon be back doing renovations ahead of reopening in April. A reminder that this July marks Pumulani’s 5th operating anniversary and we are offering a celebratory discount throughout all our properties during that month - July is being offered at lower June rates. So come and celebrate with us as we look forward to many more successful year! Thank you for your continued support, from all of us at Robin Pope Safaris.
Despite their recent absence, as they have been exploring their new home, the lions were heard by some guests on a game drive over the Christmas period, making their return to the Mkulumadzi concession known. The guests had gone out to the hide for a possible sighting of one of the Black Rhinos. It wasn’t long after they settled when baboons nearby begun to alarm call and that set everyone on the alert watching to see what might be approaching. Braston was the one to spot "Shire" (the lioness), who approached the hide from behind and strolled around beneath them. She half-heartedly tried to catch a warthog and then wandered off into the bush to begin her evening’s foray. Needless to say, it was rather an exciting sighting! We look forward to another exciting year and hosting you. Best wishes for 2013!
Pumulani has recently become a member of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers to make a lasting impact in the communities of their travel destination. With just a few kilos of space in their suitcase, guests can make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families by bringing supplies for schools or medical clinics in need. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our projects.
We recently had an exciting week with Will and Lianne who have been here to film the Mkulumadzi promotional video (available online in the new year). The weather had been forecasted to rain so there was a mad dash and panic to try and get as many shots as possible done with good lighting. We decided to head out into the park to get some wildlife and river shots. On passing a particular large tree, Lianne whispered that she may have seen something, some sort of tail... which could possibly be a baboon or leopard (she wasn’t wearing her glasses)! We were all debating whether or not to go back, thinking surely a leopard wouldn't be found on the main road of the park in the early afternoon. But we decided to go back and, lo and behold, sitting in the top of the tree canopy was a beautiful leopard! We watched her for a while until she decided she had had enough and scampered down the tree into the bush with animal alarm calls ensuing with her departure. It was amazing! On that happy note, we would like to wish you all a merry and festive Christmas & New Year!
As 2012 comes to a close, we excitedly look forward to two major anniversaries in 2013. First, the great Scottish explorer, Dr David Livingstone's Bicentenary Birthday. We are celebrating with a trip through the renowned explorer's footsteps within 'The Warm Heart of Africa': A 10 night package following the Shire River from Majete Wildlife Reserve through Liwonde National Park and ending off at Lake Malawi which Livingstone romantically named 'Lake of Stars'. Closer to home... July 2013 marks Pumulani's 5th operational year, with some special offers. Please contact us or your travel agent for more details on both. Thank you from the RPS team for your continued support. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a most successful 2013!
The dry season is coming to an end with a few rain showers, which have livened up the bush already and started to cool everything down. Seasonal babies are dropping all around including some cute warthogs and gangly impala whose legs are too long for their bodies. A leopard has been spotted a few times at Thawale who’s obviously jealous of all the attention the lions are receiving. Speaking of leopards, the population is about to increase once again. A male and female are due to land at the new Majete airstrip on the 16th November. They will be fitted with satellite collars, as with the rest of the leopards, and will be released into the reserve on the 7th December putting them back in the limelight!
When someone says to you Lake Malawi... you automatically think sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, brightly coloured fish, the cry of the African Fish Eagle and who can forget the quintessential Malawi Gin and Tonic and a blood orange African sun dipping into the lake. Pumulani is of course all this and a whole lot more. We are lucky enough to be situated within the Lake Malawi National Park. The significance is that it consists of the bush and the lake. Once you have had your fair share of fun and sun on the water you can experience the other part of the park which is full of adventure. Filled with ancient Baobab trees that could tell stories from hundreds of years ago, to giant Granite boulders that are begging to be climbed. Trumpeter Hornbills cascade across the sky. Big eyed Rock hyraxes and Blue Tailed Agamas cast weary eyes for the African Goshawk that circles above. Our back yard is a playground for the young at heart as well as nature lovers.
With the rising temperature down in the lower Shire, it's a perfect time to enjoy an early morning walk and boat safari. Learn about all things great and small whilst out with your guide, finishing up with a water break before it gets too hot. We will then whisk you down to the boat to enjoy the rest of the morning out on the water, an amazing way to see the Elephants who come down to the river’s edge, mid-morning, to cool off. They are always at the ready to provide an exciting show. Mums, aunts, cousins and babies all line up and do what's natural to them; swish around and play in the water in front of anyone willing to watch.
2013 marks the legendary explorer, David Livingstone's bicentenary birthday. To celebrate, Robin Pope Safaris is offering a trip through the renowned Scottish explorer's footsteps within 'The Warm Heart of Africa'. A 10 night package following the Shire River from Majete Wildlife Reserve through Liwonde National Park and ending off at Lake Malawi which David Livingstone romantically named 'Lake of Stars'. From game viewing experiences, tracking the elusive rhino to relaxing on the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi, the safari is guaranteed to please. A perfect combination of land and water exploration in true African wilderness! Rates are from US$3802 per person sharing, full board basis; for travel from end March 2013 to Jan 8th 2014. Contact us for more details.
Our newly released lions are doing very well! They’ve been letting themselves loose on the naïve prey in the park and have managed to sample a variety of options on the menu including zebra, reedbuck, buffalo, waterbuck, warthog and sable. Chimwala and Shire were spotted mating twice which is very good news as it shows that they have settled into their new surroundings. Although they might not succeed this first time, it fills us with hope for a litter of cubs in the not so distant future. Everyone thought it would be Sapitwa, the younger but bigger male, to become the dominant male but Chimwala seems to have taken the lead which is a surprise. Watch this space for future developments.
For second year in a row, we are delighted to share that Pumulani has been named Malawi's Leading Hotel at the highly acclaimed World Travel Awards 2012. Thank you to everyone who voted for Pumulani.
Majete Wildlife Reserve is now officially the only Big 5 reserve in Malawi! Three lions have successfully been relocated from South Africa and currently in a boma, awaiting their release into the wild on the 25th of this month. There is a lot of excitement in the air as we await the release... more on this next month. While all the fuss is going on about the lions, the rhinos (not to be out shined!) had Lundu the dominant male rhino in the Reserve make a spectacular appearance for our guests at the lodge. Nina Lex, one of the guests, was able to take this fantastic image.
We had the pleasure last month of having a star/planet enthusiast staying with us to show more tricks on the telescope and told lots of stories about the glistening night sky. He has shown us the most amazing button on it where you can type in the constellation and the planet you would like to see and hey presto it automatically turns the scope to your planet of choice! Photographs can now be taken through the telescope, the picture of the moon was taken with our chef’s camera and one of the guests got some fantastic shots of Saturn with a clear vision of the ring going around it! We have a list of the most interesting planets which can be found for every month until 2022. Come and see us next month to find Planets: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn Stars: Cancer, Scorpio, Taurus and Virgo. Don’t forget your camera!
Winter is here and Majete is drying out, the river is a hive of activity, the elephants can frequently be found drinking and bathing in the river. The cool mornings are perfect for those that want to walk and with the thinned out vegetation the birding is fantastic. The days are wonderfully warm and the pool is the perfect place to keep cool, however after the chilly evenings the fire is just what is needed to warm up whilst discussing the sightings of the day.
Pumulani would like to welcome our new chef Miss Desiree Stephenson who has come up from our sister lodge, Mkulumadzi in Majete. Since she has arrived we have had nothing but great feedback, 'This is the best food we have eaten in Malawi, the flavors are out of this world'. Des trained as a chef in 2001 at the Institute of Hospitality Education, Cape Town. Since her training she has worked in some of the top lodges in Southern. The kitchen really is hotting up for the busy season!
The emerald season is fading and the bush is beginning to dry out, the trees are losing their leaves and the game is becoming concentrated along the rivers. Walking along the Mkulumadzi can turn up a lot of game including Sable Antelope, Eland and Buffalo in addition to the more commonly found species. The boat trips are frequently having great sightings of Elephants, wallowing in the river, playing and mud bathing along the shoreline and front row seats in our game viewing boat. The birding is also amazing, although the migratory species are all but gone, the great density of raptors including specials such as a resident Osprey, Pel's Fishing Owl and Palm Nut Vultures provide all of us "Twitchers" with endless entertainment. From the whole Mkulumadzi team, we look forward to your visit.
Life is always sweet here on Lake Malawi, but this month it's been even sweeter. The kitchen team have been on tenterhooks the past few weeks, eagerly awaiting the arrival of a special guest - Martin Shenfield, a top pastry chef from the UK, has now arrived to coach the Pumulani chefs on the finer points of pastry and bread making. The team have been creating some delicious sweet treats, from fabulously flaky breakfast pastries to artisan breads and decadent desserts. We've been packing the new pastries and treats onto the dhow for a series of stunning dhow breakfasts. The lake is so calm and still in the mornings at the moment, it's almost like a mirror.
Winter is approaching and the bush is beginning to thin out, with any luck this will lead to great sightings of both Rhino and Leopard in the months to come. The natural water holes are also drying out and this means a greater concentration of game around the rivers and artificial waterholes. Nsepete hide will be a great place to spend time, waiting for animals to come for a drink in the cooler parts of the day and even waiting into the evenings during the full moon nights to see if any of the rhinos come for a sundowner.
With the imminent Lion reintroductions and the recent Leopard reintroductions there's no telling what you may see on a winters evening. From all of us here at Mkulumadzi we look forward to your visit.
The clear balmy starry nights have arrived with continuous amazing sunsets which can be seen from your balcony, the beach, the dhow, speed boat or up at the main lodge. Our star gazer has been in full swing with our enthusiasts Roy & Glyn. Talking our eager guests through the stars & pointing them out with our 'new toy' the lazer pen! We have had a lot of honeymooners this month so there have been lots of private dinners on their balconies, barbeques on the beach, dinner by the pool & breakfast on the dhow!
Our highlight this month was that we were on Top Billing, a South African TV lifestyle channel, highlighting the beauty of Malawi. We had a great time filming it with the crew and our celebrity staff are chuffed to be on telly! For those who missed it, please view it on YouTube. We are looking forward to welcoming many guests as the busy season arrives!
Easter has been and gone… what fun we had marbling Easter eggs and making funny bunny decorations. The Easter “Kalulu”, Chichewa for Rabbit dropped by on his way through Majete and stopped in also to see some of his relatives in the Park along the way. Guests also had an additional and enjoyable treasure hunt into the Reserve as they tried to spot our zebra, which had been evading them for a few days. From all of us here at Mkulumadzi, we hope you also had a very Happy and Fun filled Easter!
A full house over the Easter weekend has kept the Pumulani staff busy, with plenty of families coming to make the most of the holiday break. The team have pulled out all the stops to make it a memorable weekend, from the kitchen team building a clay oven on the beach to slow-roast the Sunday lamb, to plenty of waterskiing, snorkelling and funtubing to work up an appetite! The weekend was finished off in style with guests gathered around an open beach fire toasting marshmallows long into the night. Happy Easter!
We are welcoming in a new season at Mkulumadzi as the rains are beginning to pull away from our emerald valley. The air is clear of dust and the bush lush making all the animals look happy and healthy. The receding rains are leaving us feeling cool and comfortable too... Marulas are dropping all around which are bringing the elephants into camp for dinner, delighting our guests and occasionally causing some delays in going to bed! The Shire River is high making boat safaris a must along the swollen waterway. There is so much to see and do here, or you can also just kick back, relax and let us look after you. Hope to see you soon!
After a good couple of months’ rest, our team is back and busy getting the lodge ready for 2012 season. We welcome Luke and Laura, who have taken over from Emma & Chris (now at Mkulumadzi), our new management couple. Together with Mara they will be seeing to the smooth running of Pumulani. Luke already has his nose stuck into menu planning as the ladies oversee the spring cleaning… its promising to be a good season!
Why visit Mkulumadzi, Majete Wildlife Reserve? Here are just a few of the reasons:
- Small intimate wilderness lodge set in 70,000 hectares, of which 7,000 hectares is exclusive to our guests.
- Majete is a remote location with very little human traffic
- Relax in an idyllic location on the banks of the Shire River. The tranquillity of the setting is simply magical!
- Explore the wildlife reserve with expert guides, tracking endangered black rhino plus great variety of other game.
- Climb granite hills for majestic views across mature woodland and lush river valleys.
- View a vast array of birdlife including some rare species.
- Majete will be a Big Five Reserve by end of 2012 - awaiting lion reintroduction later this year.
- A stay at Mkulumadzi helps support a sustainable wildlife reserve, provides income for local communities and encourages further conservation projects.
February... the month of love! It is the perfect time to talk about the honeymoon experiences on offer with Robin Pope Safaris. Walking in remote areas of Zambia's South Luangwa, isolation coupled with luxury at Majete then ending off with a beach stay at Pumulani. The latter enjoys an exclusive setting within Lake Malawi National Park overlooking the crystal clear waters of Lake Malawi... what better way to end your honeymoon. Pumulani's honeymoon suite is ideally secluded and comes with befitting outdoor shower. Guests can be as laid back or active as they wish. We will throw in a number of treats, private meals and activities to enhance the romance factor. Please contact us for more details on exciting honeymoon packages we have.
We have started the year on an exciting note with introduction of two more leopards this month in Majete Wildlife Reserve. Watch this space for further updates on Majete becoming a Big 5 Reserve. Still on the game front, one of our safari guides was out with some guests and saw a caracal! Unfortunately no photographic evidence is at hand, but all the same a very special sighting indeed. Guests are certainly up for an exciting year at Mkulumadzi.
The festive season has been and gone, we trust you had a fantastic one. Pumulani team is now on annual break till end of March when we look forward to hosting you. Very best wishes for the New Year from all of us!
If rhino could read newspapers they would retreat to the most impenetrable thickets and hide their horns from humans. Luckily (or not!) our Majete rhino seem to be less cautious of our presence and are being viewed by game drives more frequently of late. Guides and guests have enjoyed some magical encounters with these shy brutes. Mostly brief encounters but occasionally when wind, terrain and luck are in your favour a rhino may give in to its natural inquisitiveness and approach the vehicle for a closer inspection. The only shooting that takes place is the cameras and rhino and guests part on happy terms.
'We have had a couple of mega storms on the Lake, like I have never seen before! The whole sky lighting up like it was day light. The locals are happy as their maize is starting to shoot through. The flowers that are coming through & the tress that are blossoming are beautiful & the scents that are coming off the trees when you walk around are breath taking. Although it is still very hot 'December' is starting to be my best month so far! The bird life is stunning especially on our dam the yellow weaver birds are busy making their nests before the rains start! We have our Christmas tree up & are looking forward to a fun Christmas & New Year! And we would like to wish you all a happy one too.
We have just said goodbye to the Edwards family from the UK who managed to rack up an impressive tick list during their three day safari at Mkulumadzi, Majete. Apart from the usuals, special sightings included: the elusive black rhino, nocturnal suni antelope, big herds of sable, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Nyala, porcupine, bushpig, starred robin, lilac backed sunbird and African Finfoot! Well done to Braston and Sam their guides.
We are delighted to announce that at the recent World Responsible Tourism Day at WTM, Robin Pope Safaris (Zambia and Malawi) was awarded joint Overall Winner of the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards plus winner in the Poverty Reduction category as well. A great achievement for us as there were over 1000 nominations!
Quoting the judges on our awards, '20 years of commitment to grass roots sustainable community development, like the successful Kawaza Village Tourism Project in Zambia, have distinguished Robin Pope Safaris as a pioneer in responsible tourism. Their contribution to local livelihoods in South Luangwa through education and business development has established an inspiring model that even now is being rolled out to Malawi, with the promise of similar laudable effect.'
In line with getting Majete Wildlife Reserve to be a Big 5 destination, African Parks has recently reintroduced 2 leopards into the reserve. These are the first of a total of 8, with the rest due to arrive before year end. 2012 will then see reintroduction of lions thereby making this a Big 5 Reserve. We are all quite excited about this development and looking forward to addition of the cats to our list of wildlife.
Pumulani was the brightest star at World Travel Awards 2011. We are delighted to announce that Pumulani Luxury Beach Lodge has been voted as Malawi's Leading Hotel 2011 at World Travel Awards which is the most prestigious and highly covered awards programme in the global travel industry, proven to substantially heighten Robin Pope Safaris' international profile. This worldwide award was described by The Wall Street Journal describes as the 'Oscars' of travel and tourism. This year, a phenomenal 213,000 industry professionals participated in the voting process, which is scrupulously monitored and independently audited. This triumph was officially announced in red-carpet awards gala ceremony which will took place at Egypt Hall at SOHO SQUARE in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, on the 16th September.
It has been a rewarding month for animal sightings at Majete with lots of elephants swimming in the Shire; the first baby warthogs of the season seen suckling on their mother and flocks of bateleur bathing in the Mkulumadzi river. The most exciting sighting however was witnessed by the Mkulumadzi staff right in front of the main lodge... The usually tranquil view onto the Shire River from the lodge's main deck was shattered one afternoon as a life and death struggle unfolded between a large crocodile and a female waterbuck. The unlucky waterbuck was crossing a narrow channel from the island back to the riverbank when the croc attacked. The struggle moved downstream where it appeared that the waterbuck would get the upper hand in shallower water but the strength of the crocodile proved too much and the reptile won in the end.
The lodge has been a hive of activity for the last two weeks as excitement builds towards the first wedding to be held at Pumulani. The grounds are looking beautiful and the whole crew here is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the bride and groom to be and their families. This is a great time of year for a beach wedding as the weather warms up and the south eastern winds calm and subside leaving the lake looking like a sheet of glass, this combined with the breathtaking sunsets over the lake, mean Pumulani lodge really is the place to be.
Mkulumadzi lodge has opened after 18 months of intense planning, preparations and building and it was with much excitement that we welcomed our first guests' mid-July. Guests have been enjoying productive game-drives, boat trips on the Shire and walks along the Mkulumadzi Rivers. We have also had a number of good sightings of black rhino at the nearby waterhole. Animals have been reclaiming their patch around the lodge; 3 elephant bulls, 1 old buffalo, a hyena, a porcupine, waterbuck and the resident hippo have all been through camp this week, no doubt happy to find that a new lodge has not changed their old stomping grounds too much.
It's a great time for birding at the lake right now, the weather is turning for the warmer and the leaves are falling off the trees making the prolific bird life much more visible. Out on the lake there are plenty of Yellow billed kites, often seen arguing amongst themselves wheeling and diving trying to catch fish at the surface, and competing with the Fish Eagles. The Fish Eagles prove more dominant though and make for some spectacular photographs around Thumbi Island and all along the lake shore. The lodge is also bustling with activity, Bohms bee-eaters swooping down from their perches to catch a Dragonfly or Grasshopper which is then consumed with great relish. Twinspots and Waxbills keep the ground level busy, hopping beneath the bushes and amongst the leaf litter. Then in the evenings an African Goshawk, perches around the lodge waiting hungrily for the insectivorous bats to take to the sky. From all of us here at Pumulani, we look forward to seeing you soon.
Robin Pope Safaris is ready for its new African adventure! On the 15th July our newest project, Mkulumadzi lodge, opened in Majete Wildlife Reserve, southern Malawi. Undiscovered by tourists, Majete is a true wilderness where every trip into the bush with our team of experienced guides will feel like an adventure. Mkulumadzi lodge has just eight exclusive luxurious chalets, with private viewing decks for dinner under the stars. The area is home to black rhinos, elephants and buffalo, so the game drives should be as memorable as the hospitality. Guests can be as active or as idle as they wish. Head into the bush to track rhino, enjoy a river cruise, hike to the peak of Majete Hill, take a cultural tour of local villages or simply lounge by the pool, or on the shaded riverbank listening to the gentle grunt of hippos.
While on a dive around Thumbi Island last week we had a couple of fantastic sightings of the very illusive and strictly nocturnal 'Cornish Jack' hiding under rocks around the area known as the Aquarium. The diversity that is around at the moment is staggering, the cool weather and the southern winds are stirring up the waters and the surge of nutrients stirred up attract large numbers of chambo and chichlids and in turn predators, such as the 'Cornish Jack' and even some Ncheni which are normally open water predators. We were even lucky enough to see a small, fresh water eel which was keeping very still and hoping desperately to be overlooked as a twig or a piece of weed, drifting through the rocks. It certainly is a brilliant time to be at the lake!
The season is now in full swing for us and enjoying every bit of it. Our new stargazer has also quickly become popular with most guests. The Stargazer is electrically powered and controlled by a computer system that will allow the guide to find stars, nebulas and planets at the flick of a switch. The telescope is so powerful that when viewing the night sky the telescope must electronically track celestial objects otherwise the speed of their movement across the sky would make them very difficult to view. This telescope is one of a kind in Malawi and affords our guests an opportunity to see planets, stars and nebulas in the night sky that most will never see!
The rains have ended and we are now into the cool dry period of the year when the temperatures become soporific during the day and cozy at night perfect start of the season for Pumulani. The water temperature, as always, is balmy at around 22°. This allows for everybody to enjoy water skiing, swimming, kayaking, fun tubing, fishing, and try sailing with the experienced Pumulani staff. Of course one can also just chill out on the beach and enjoy a cocktail. With the rains gone the under water visibility is fantastic and the snorkeling in Lake Malawi National Park (a World Heritage Site) is a great all day affair. The new star gazer helps rap up a wonderful day with everyone contemplating the scale of the universe over a night cap.
TPumulani's new Stargazer has arrived. Preparations have begun to set up the new hi tech telescope. The Stargazer is electrically powered and controlled by a computer system that will allow the guide to find stars, nebulas and planets at the flick of a switch. The telescope is so powerful that when viewing the night sky the telescope must electronically track celestial objects otherwise the speed of their movement across the sky would make them very difficult to view. This telescope is one of a kind in Malawi and will afford our guests opportunity to see planets, stars and nebulas in the night sky that most will never see!
Dr Anthony Hall Martin, Director of Conservation and Development for the African Parks Network and respected ecologist, returns to Majete this month to assist with final preparations for the predator reintroductions. Plans are underway to source leopard from the Vumbwe area in Malawi where an African Parks team have been investigating reports of livestock being killed by leopard. Before the introduction the parks boundary fence is to be "predator proofed" to ensure the cats are contained within Majete. This is the first step in an exciting phase of predator reintroductions to Majete.
Slashing, weeding, painting, cleaning, repairing, tailoring and much more... we are busy getting the lodge ready for the re-opening after the rainy season on the 1st of April. Our maintenance and garden team are making sure that our grounds and villas are looking ship-shape when we welcome our first guests. The Pumulani team is well rested after their annual leave and everyone is looking forward to a successful 2011 season. We are also happy to announce we are now offering a new exciting night time activity at Pumulani - with our brand new "star gazer", that has just arrived guests can admire the stars of the southern hemisphere from a completely different perspective. Watch this space for more news!
African Parks Majete is 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 and is the ideal spot to arrive at after a morning drive for a tasty lunch, cold drink and some armchair wildlife viewing.
February... the month of love and romance! And speaking of romance, Pumulani offers the perfect honeymoon spot. We go the extra mile to make everything extra special and in true RPS style even the shower experience at Pumulani. A "small dhow" forms the base of the unique outdoor shower in the honeymoon villa. It is located in the lush green forest with amazing views of Lake Malawi and its surroundings - loads of privacy too. Taking a shower will never be the same, as you take in the smells and sounds of the forest OR gaze at the starlit sky and bright moon at night! Please contact us for exciting honeymoon packages.
As the count down continues to our 15 July D-Day, we are making lots of progress in construction. We have already set up some exciting packages to introduce the new member of the RPS family. Among these is our Honeymoon package, combining 4 nights Pumulani, 3 nights Mkulumadzi and 3 nights Tena Tena. A fantastic combination of bush and beach, offering such a diverse experience; the perfect honeymoon itinerary. Please contact us for more information.
Compliments of the season! Pumulani is having its seasonal break and the team is having a well deserved holiday as well. We are looking forward to another exciting year ahead of us. Great experiences are expected as always, especially with the opening of our sister lodge Mkulumadzi, Majete Nature Reserve. Combinations with Mkulumadzi and/or South Luangwa properties are guaranteed to be a hit this season. The remoteness of all the properties coupled with the diverse activities plus five star service offered will have everyone hooked to Africa. Please contact us for possibilities.
Rains are now in full swing and Majete is just magical! The lodge development is right on track and the buildings and features are beginning to take shape. Five chalets have roofs and the main building thatch is complete. The highlight for November was finishing the 80 meter deck on the foot bridge which will be used to cross the Mkulumadzi River. This memorable bridge will provide access to the lodge year round. At this time of year the Mkulumadzi rages underneath, swelling from its dry season ankle deep depth to large enough to carry small trees down its length! The wildlife seems to be accepting the lodge with waterbuck regularly coming through, bushbuck are resident; eland and sable also are constant visitors. Happy holidays from the Mkulumadzi team!
With the festive season starting and 2010 slowly coming to an end it is time for us to reflect on the past year and we would like to share some of the feedback of our guests who visited Pumulani this year:
"Fabulous luxury - what a way to end a safari trip" (Grant, USA)
"We have had the most fabulous week at Pumulani and must leave before we are too heavy to go on the plane home" (Falconer Family, UK)
"We came to Pumulani not knowing what to expect and experienced more than one can dream of" (Joey & Eric Haughton, South Africa).
Zikomo kwambiri to all our guests for these kind words and happy Christmas from Lake Malawi!
Completing one of the guest chalets at Mkulumadzi (Robin Pope Safari's newest lodge in Majete Wildlife Reserve) for a Dana Allen photo shoot, provided a glimpse of things to come. With a dramatic and unimpeded view over the confluence of two major rivers, the Mkulumadzi and Shire, the setting is complemented by the elegant and uncluttered interior of the chalet. Contemporary comforts such as an environmentally friendly cooling system and luxurious bathrooms are blended with rustic Leadwood balustrades, a natural pole pergola and a front facade that opens up to reveal the breathtaking view. The building sits comfortably in its surrounds and a vegetated 'green roof' not only ensures extra camouflage but has a natural cooling effect on the building.
Love is in the air... Pumulani is a truly perfect honeymoon getaway. Newlyweds can enjoy the privacy of their own spacious honeymoon villa tucked away in the lush green forests with magnificent views of Lake Malawi. To make the honeymoon even more memorable we have a number of special treats in store such as a private romantic dinner on the deck of the villa, our candlelight dinner on the rock, a sumptuous breakfast on our wooden sailing dhow or a romantic turndown service. We also offer a wedding package which is designed for couples wanting an intimate celebration in one of the most idyllic settings you could wish for. For more information please contact our reservations department.
It is becoming hotter by the day, what a beautiful place for chilling out on the shores of Lake Malawi. There is lots to keep you entertained, apart from our numerous water activities like our popular wooden sailing dhow and snorkelling trips to some world famous spots (amongst others). Mountain biking & kayaking combos have become increasingly popular. Also high on the list are guided trips to surrounding villages and to Nankwhali Mission where guests can interact with the local community and have a look at the church, schools as well as a little hospital. On the way back they can hop into kayak and paddle back across the bay to our beach. What a great way to spend a morning!
Apart from relaxing at the beach or on water Pumulani also offers a great wildlife experience. Our nature and birding walks in Lake Malawi National Park are among our most popular guest activities. Walking in the hills around the lodge has been fantastic in the last few weeks with highlights such as a troop of the rare Samangos monkeys, whose tails are a third longer than their actual body. For our keen birders we can report sightings of red-necked falcons, Livingstone's flycatcher and green-backed honey bird. Not to forget the Pel's Fishing-owl that roosts regularly in the trees near our honeymoon villa. This large species of owl is a real special and feeds nocturnally on fish and frogs snatched from the surface of the green waters of lake Malawi.
One of our dedicated wait staff members, Loyce has recently been expanding her arts and crafts products. Starting with simple paper-making over 10 years ago, Loyce now spends the majority of her time away from Pumulani making paper crafts, woven home decor, picture frames, water bottle holders, clothing and accessories, and of course her famous and most popular banana leaf baobab replications. Loyce now often accompanies guests on trips to visit nearby Mbeya Village and tour her home workshop where she makes her elaborate paper and woven crafts. While Loyce's creations make a great addition to our guest shop, they also help to support the village orphans she has independently chosen to assist. Thank you to Loyce and the rest of our wonderful Pumulani staff!
Toasty, flamboyant, yet elegant with a prominent core of pear fruit aromas, tropical notes, & oak with a tight line of natural acid & a dry minerality... in vino veritas! This month it is all about wines at Pumulani. We are happy to announce that we have just received a great selection of handpicked wines from the most renowned South African wine estates. We now offer a range of premium quality reds and whites that are delight to every connoisseur - like the Bateleur Chardonnay from the De Wetshof estate, Hamilton Russels Pinot Noir or a Rupert & Rothschild Baron Edmund Carbernet-Merlot or a Sauvignon Blanc Cecil John Reserve from Boschendal.. and many more. Cheers!
It's done! Pumulani now proudly presents big dhow versus small dhow. Besides our popular wooden sailing dhow that guests can take out for a romantic sunset cruise or for a special breakfast on the lake; we have now also found good use for our "small dhow" which forms the base of our new very special outdoor shower in our honeymoon villa. Our new dhow shower is idyllically located in the lush green forests with monkeys playing high up on the trees and amazing views of Lake Malawi and its surroundings. What a treat to take refreshing shower outdoors while taking in the smells and sounds of the forest or while gazing at the starlit sky and bright moon at night!
Zambia meets Malawi! For the last two weeks we have had two guides over here from Robin Pope Safaris in Zambia. Fred and Julius have just passed their guiding exams in the Luangwa valley and have come to us learn the ropes from Glyn our boat guide. The two Zambian bush boys spent most of their time in and on water - snorkelling, driving the speedboats, going on dhow trips, kayaking and sailing - and have notably enjoyed their time at the lake. Earlier this year Glynn was over in Zambia for some training and to get know the RPS camps that side. Glynn was over the moon seeing his first leopard and many other animals that he had never spotted before, the only thing he really missed was good Malawian fish.
Pumulani is very excited to announce the arrival of our new head chef James Hollenbach. The 30-year old American from Maryland can look back on an impressive career in some of the world's top restaurants in the United States and most recently in the Cayman Islands. He was trained at the renowned Culinary Institute of America in classic French cooking and under the celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Mark Miller. We can't wait to surprise our guests with his culinary delights - tricolour potato gnocchi, watermelon chicken curry or fried milk with homemade coffee bean gelato and much more. Bon Appetit!
Pumulani is getting ready for a new & exciting 2010 season! We re-open on the 1st of April. Our team is well rested and fully motivated for the upcoming season. Waiters, housekeepers and chefs have received extensive training during the closed period and are eager to show what they have learnt. To put the icing on the cake our tailor is busy getting their new uniforms ready. We have also done some extensive gardening on the lodge premises and our maintenance team has been giving the villas some tender loving care. Vegetable and herb planting has been going on as well, since we want to have our own fresh produce garden this season - baboons and monkeys allowing…!!
In line with our tradition of special interest safaris we are proud to announce 'Nyika Safari with Robin Pope' - yes the legendary safari guide. Fantastic 10 night safari combining South Luangwa Zambia, Nyika Plateau, ending at the luxuriously Pumulani! We are still running our annual Yoga Retreat at Pumulani, led by a professional yoga instructor. What a way to enjoy the perfect relaxation holiday! This safari was infact named as one of 20 breaks with a difference by Zest ('UK Women's Healthy Lifestyle Magazine') - in the world, wow!! With a little over 100 days before the FIFA World Cup, we have released some discounted safaris in line with this. For further details on all contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The festive season is over but we will keep the some fantastic memories of joyful moments here at Pumulani. We started our celebrations with a staff Christmas party at the beach. We had invited all our employees' kids & wives. Apart from a big braai feast we had organized fun & games such as apple bobbing and sac hopping. Our new year was ushered in by DJ Douglas from Monkey Bay who had just come back from recording his first single. A tasteful mix of unplugged guitar music and African vibes made the evening for all our guests a very special one. A big thank you also to our chef Kate who kept surprising us with her delicacies! Pumulani will be reopening on 1st April!
December ~ Pumulani was listed in the 2010 Tatler Travel Guide, 101 Best Hotels
"Step away from the housewives' choice for a much more insider safari. First stop, the unspoilt beauty of Zambia and then this, the perfect beach add-on ... On the entirely surprising - and delightful - blond lick of beach, eight pied kingfishers argue like children. There's waterskiing and snorkelling, but also a fat-bellied dhow for vodkas with fresh lime. At night, you can hear the villagers singing and banging their drums." - Tatler.
November ~ new faces
Luke and Bettina Evans are the new faces at Pumulani and will be replacing Mark and Jenna as the Pumulani management couple. Luke spent his early years in South Luangwa and Kafue National Parks and schooled in Ireland before moving to Austria. Bettina is Austrian and spent time with Luke in Ireland before they both ran a ski and spa lodge together in the remote Austrian Alps. Swapping snow clad peaks for the blue waters of Lake Malawi is an exciting change for this dynamic couple and a bit of a homecoming for Luke who has been itching to get back to the African bush ever since he left it. Mark and Jenna remain with Robin Pope Safaris and move on to new projects in Malawi.
October ~ guest reviews
"Stunning views, peace, tranquillity; Pumulani sooths the spirits - a truly magical place; simply stunning. England, 25/08/09"
"The most peaceful part of my trip to Malawi. The stunning sunsets & cool fresh water is hard to leave behind. Great food & friendly service were just the icing on the cake. Perfect. London, 26/09/09"
"After our exciting & hectic time at Nkwali Safari Camp, we really enjoyed this stunning location. The villas are so spacious, the food fantastic. All the staff were so friendly & helpful. We'd love to come back some day. Ireland, 15/09/09"
A big thanks to our guests for all your kind words!
September ~ Picnic on the dhow
The latest, greatest idea whilst staying at Pumulani is to take a picnic breakfast out on the dhow. And picnicking Pumulani style includes: freshly baked croissants, muffins and nutty fruit loaf, a bacon bagel that melts in your mouth, granola pots with chilled yoghurt and honey, fruit smoothies and breakfast pies! On boarding the boat a "Bloody Mary" is served and breakfast is washed down with fresh fruit juice or filter coffee. The experience is completed with a swim in the lake. This is how life should be! A gourmet picnic served up on a beautiful wooden dhow on the bluest lake in Africa.
August ~ Camp Fire
Many guests, when thinking of Africa, think of chatting around a camp fire. Even when at a lakeside lodge. So Pumulani has set up a camp fire area, up on the hillside near the swimming pool. On a dark night the lake will sparkle with the fishing lanterns, reflecting the stars and on a moonlit night the moon reflection will sparkle across miles of water.
July ~ Weddings at Pumulani
Pumulani now offer a wedding package. The package is designed for couples wanting an intimate celebration in one of the most idyllic settings you could wish for. The ceremony can be held in a variety of locations. Tie the knot in a beautiful garden setting under the big trees on the edge of the lake, have a romantic barefoot beach wedding or exchange vows on the main lodge deck with a spectacular lakeview as your backdrop. The occasion can be as simple or as detailed as the couple wish. Take the pressure off and let Pumulani organize the whole day. .
June ~ In praise of Baobabs
Trees are the oldest living things on the planet. It's rather humbling to lean against a baobab that Livingstone may have rested under in 1859, and before him a Shona trader in 1303, moving gold from Zimbabwe to sell to Persian Arabs at Kilwa in Tanzania. Around 2000 years ago a slightly built pygmy type person belonging to a people long extinct could have collected the fruits of the very same tree that we now sit under! Lake Malawi National Park may not have herds of elephants or prides of lions to photograph and admire but what it does have, and in great abundance, is spectacular trees. A variety of spectacular trees shade the villas of Pumulani. The value of these ancient assets is hard to calculate, most of the larger ones have been standing here for hundreds of years, some for thousands.
May ~ New Chef
The Pumulani team is very excited to announce the arrival of our new head chef, Kate Wright. Although Kate has only been on board for one week she is already starting to spice things up. Visitors to Pumulani can look forward to enjoying their sundowners on the dhow with chicken satay and peanut sauce or slow roasted tomato & mascarpone wrapped in cucumber slices. Her delicious Thai fish curry is also not to be missed and I won’t even begin to describe the rich chocolate brownies with homemade dark chocolate ice cream, topped with zabaglione... hmmm, time to tuck in!
April ~ Mountain Bikes
Pumulani are developing a unique mountain bike ride and kayak combination - an adventurous way to spend a morning exploring the lake as well as the surrounding woodlands and farmland. The bike trail will be designed to take in the beautiful woodlands of the lakeshore as well as giving guests an opportunity to see rural Malawi, away from the usual tourist beat. Routes can be altered to suit the fitness level of the cyclists. The ride will finish on the lakeshore, across the bay from Pumulani, where bikes are swapped for kayaks for the final leg. Team up with your partner or guide, or opt for a single kayak and paddle acro! ss the protected Kasanka Bay back to Pumulani’s beach for a refreshing swim and a cool cocktail.
March ~ Searching for otter
Two species of otter occur along Lake Malawi’s shoreline - spot-necked and African claw