HELLO + WELCOME as we drive overland from Sydney to London, via East Africa, in our trusty old Landcruiser.
Kirst and I are now just over a year on the road. We have covered 47000+ kilometres, spent over $9000 on diesel and snapped 22000+ photos. Although this expedition of ours has been carefully planned it isn’t always going to be rosy so when we get a chance to unwind and relax… we take it.
It’s Gareth here today.
We love Africa. There is something about the sounds, tastes, the smells (ohh, the smells) and it’s people. And while we love roughing it while driving the length of the continent we also like to indulge.
So, when we were invited to stay with Robin Pope Safaris in Lake Malawi National Park at their luxury lodge Pumulani we were there quicker than Kirst could say OhMyGodWeAreSO…There.
:: The private beach at Pumulani
Pumulani is run by Robin Pope Safaris and we found our stay to offer exclusive accommodation, great food, a comfy bed and more.
The more being: an outdoor shower that drains into a boat, an infinity pool that was purpose built to laze around drinking cocktails and some cracker sunsets you imagine only exist in other peoples photos.
At night the lakes horizon is dotted with the kerosene lanterns of the village fisherman. They use a larger boat to move their mokoros (dugout wooden canoes) to deeper water and then fish ’till their nets and boats are full.
:: Shower boat
:: That pool. Wow!
:: Locals heading out for a night of fishing
On our second evening at Pumulani we were treated to a sail on their traditional dhow. A dhow is a boat used by past and present sea farers in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean regions to carry heavy items such as fruit, water spices etc. No fruit and spice on this one though. Only gin and tonics, wine and some delicious home made samosas. Plus, a couple of very happy Australians.
Yeah, Kirst and I were in heaven.
After we were blown across the lake, the wind dropped which meant the sail was useless. Luckily for us the dhow was fitted with a small out board motor. The rumble of the motor startled a small family of hippos amongst the reeds and we saw the mother, father and wee one run out of the water into the reeds. Such a cool sight to see them move so fast.
:: Our boat men
:: Hippo family running into the reeds
:: Sail down and sun down. Time for dinner!
Our stay at Pumulani was made even more memorable by the food that was dished up. It has made us drool many times since in times of cupboard shortages. “Oh I’d kill for one of those spring rolls” or “Mmmmm that malva pudding”.
The chef was cooking such great food that Kirst and I hatched a plan to kidnap him. We told him how we loved his food but didn’t mention the kidnapping thing . We could strap him to the roof!?
:: Home made spring rolls with chutney and a deliciously fresh green salad. There was no photo taken of my beef because I inhaled it before the camera was turned on
:: Malva Pudding: For all the South African’s reading this if you need a reason to visit Pumulani then this is it.
We spent the rest of our time relaxing on their private beach, paddling around on kayaks, walking in the National Park, drinking cocktails and swimming in the amazing infinity pool.
Pumulani really did live up to its meaning of ‘rest well’. This was made even easier with the attentive and friendly staff who were always on hand to pour those cocktails or serve that food.
:: The beach + floating pontoon we had lots of fun diving off in the distance
:: We badly needed a drinks break after all that hard relaxing on the beach
:: Have I mentioned the pool yet?
A big thank you to Robin Pope Safaris who hosted us and let us indulge in their magical lakeside retreat.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.robinpopesafaris.net
Thanks as always to YOU for tuning in.
We have been very fortunate in our travels so far and we are inspired every day by your words of encouragement. Not every day is like a magical Pumulani day so please keep them coming!
And if you haven’t already, click the link to receive a copy of our FREE eBook which showcases some of our favourite photos from a year on the road.