"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

All you need to know about Malawi this month
20 June 2007
Tucked away on the shore of Lake Malawi, with its own private cove backed by natural forest, is Safari Beach Lodge. In the last few years it has seen many changes, including ownership. Now it is just finishing a complete overhaul, expansion and range of improvements.

Firstly, the restaurant has been extended to provide both indoor and veranda dining together with a new bar. All the accommodation has been renovated. There are now three rooms in the main lodge, all air-conditioned and newly furnished while a programme of replacement of the lake-view tents is underway. As the tents come down, up go stone-built gazebos built on platforms with panoramic lake views. All are en-suite and feature cottage pane sliding doors and windows.

An innovative new feature of this Senga Bay Lodge is the construction of several very private spots in the garden where guests can really feel they’re owners of all they survey. Some have been given intriguing names such as The Scandal and the Eve’s Drop and all give wonderful views of the lake as well as providing a comfortable ‘hide’ to watch the many small mammals which regularly come into the garden.

The ‘inner’ man (or woman) has not been forgotten. Chef Jensen, formerly with Protea Hotels, produces freshly baked croissants for breakfast and is intent on producing imaginative and mouth-watering menus for all meals. Safari Beach Lodge really has come of age.

For more information, email info@safaribeachlodge.net.

MORE FROM MANDA

Nkwichi Lodge and Manda Wilderness, on the eastern shore of Lake Malawi, are pleased to announce the opening in August of two new houses available to rent. Songea House (6 beds) and Makolo House (4 beds) both have stunning views across Lake Malawi and access to their own private beaches on the lakeshore.

Another piece of good news from Nkwichi Lodge concerns visas. Located in Mozambique territory, visas are required. After many months of uncertainty and difficulty, the arrangements have been made plainer. Simply arrive on Likoma Island by plane or boat, take to connecting boat to Cobue and it’s a three minute walk to the customs post. Take a quick look around Cobue Cathedral and its back to customs to collect your stamped passport.

For more information, email info@mandawilderness.org.

TIME FOR TEA

More visitors to southern Malawi are discovering the delights of staying in one of the colonial ‘managers’ bungalows on the Satemwa Tea Estate with its views of Mount Mulanje in one direction and the Lower Shire Valley in the other. Now, the UK national newspaper, The Independent has ranked Satemwa among the world’s top five ‘tea hotels’. And there’s more good news. Satemwa is now a certified Fair Trade producer – the only one in Southern Africa.

It’s possible for guests to sample a selection of black, green and white (yes, white) teas as they look across the neat tea gardens and try to identify the birds from the hundreds of species that are resident or passing through the area. You prefer coffee? No problem, coffee is also grown here.

The Satemwa Tea Estate is a wonderful place to stay if exploring in the Thyolo and Mount Mulanje area. They have a new and very informative website: Satemwa.com

GOOD NEWS FOR FLYERS

Ulendo Safaris have launched an exciting new on-line booking service for flights. Called Epower it’s a first for southern Africa. Go to Ulendo.net/epoweronline.htm for the booking engine which allows prospective flyers from anywhere in the world to book flights. At the moment there are special fares from British Airways and South African Airways on the system.

All fares include relevant taxes and, after making the booking, a Ulendo agent will contact the client to finalize arrangements and arrange delivery. This service complements the rest of Ulendo’s tourism products.

A FIRST

The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre and Nature Sanctuary is destined to become Africa’s first Born Free Foundation accredited ‘People and Wildlife’ centre.

In the heart of the capital city, yet comprising a unique haven of indigenous woodland, the Sanctuary is home to monkeys, baboons, a range of small antelope, hyena and crocodiles – as well as many species of birds. The development of a 60-bed tourist lodge and campsite is in the hands of Land & Lake Safaris, one longest established companies in Malawi’s tourist industry. While the lodge is still building, the Wildlife Centre will be open from 1st July this year.

Initially open just three days a week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), the Centre is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year when closure, for maintenance, will be Mondays only. When completed there will be a restaurant and gift shop, an educational camp for local children and an animal adoption scheme.

This ambitious project includes a international volunteer programme and fund raising schemes. Overall it is an important and most welcome initiative of which Malawi, the City of Lilongwe and The country’s tourism industry can be justly proud. For more information, email Sanctuary@landlake.net

TAKING A LOOK

This month has seen two groups of journalists travelling around the country gathering copy for their newspapers and magazines. A total of eight journalists, representing some of the top names in the print media were hosted by members of the Malawi Tourism Marketing Consortium whose UK office organised the trips.

Kenya Airways provided the International flights and the group were treated to the comfortable experience of the airline’s premier class. The London-Nairobi-Lilongwe route to Malawi is one of the most popular for those flying out to Malawi from Europe.

Visit Kenya-airways.com for more information.

THERE’S MORE

• Club Makokola (Club Mak to its many friends) is up-grading all its Standard rooms to Superior. There are now internet hotspots around the complex including the pool area and the Terrace Restaurant – so bring your laptops, if you must!
• Danforth Yachting & Lodge now have three additional catamarans spruced up and ready for sailing. At this time the Nmwerea winds have started to blow giving ideal sailing conditions. If you’re off the water, the Lodge is wonderfully sheltered.
• You may be aware of the controversy surrounding the Nyika and Vwaza tourism concessions. The latest welcome news is that the Nyika Safari Company’s concessions have been extended to 31 October. The long term arrangements should be known next month.
• Luwawa Forest Lodge has opened up an old road from Chikangwa to Kande Beach by rebuilding a bridge over the Luweya river. This is a wonderful 4WD adventure drive with untouched wilderness and stunning views as you descend the rift valley escarpment to the Lake. Luwawa recently held its 42km Mountain Bike International race with this year’s winner, Jonathon Kaiy achieving a record time.
• Malawi’s only extreme sport event, the annual ‘Porters’ Race up Mount Mulanje takes place on 14 July. The race is now in its eleventh year and attracts an international field of hundreds. There’s still time to enter, email: hastings@mountmulanje.org.mw

To find out more about visiting Malawi, go to Malawitourism.com

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