And it is called Kumbali Retreat Lodge!
Fortunately and unfortunately we were lucky enough to spend some time in this wonderful peaceful place which rightly calls itself a “retreat”. The unfortunate part was that we only had 24 hours…
Located by Lake Malawi, hidden behind a sunrise viewing point and next to an iconic Baobab tree, thousands of Lodge 2 years old, you will find a truly hidden gem and good navigation skills are needed to track it down.
As a brief guide you’ll pass through a road which is currently under construction and then turn into a village that lies next to the lodge. But, if you call shortly before your arrival and the staff are free, they will come and lead you to the lodge.
They’ll also provide you with a detailed map and there are also signs pointing you in the right direction from the main street in Salima so if you keep your eyes peeled you should make it there without a problem!
We hadn’t even had time to turn off our engine and the staff were already there to collect our luggage. Welcoming us with huge smiles they led us into the main lodge that overlooks the beautiful private beach and the sparkling waters of Lake Malawi.
After we had been given a brief about our stay, like the times of each meal, that there is a bucket with a drinkable water in each chalet and yes, there is a hot water at the shower; yes, the canoes are there for us to use anytime; and yes, there are no other guests tonight so you have the whole lodge and staff to yourselves; and no, there is no Wi-Fi or mobile network; and yes, it is on purpose as you are at a ‘retreat’ lodge so let’s not let technology ruin your relaxation time and the ability to switch off from the real-world (we could not agree more with this rule). Do I need to add anything else?
After the brief we were taken to our lovely rustic but still spacious chalet with a view out on to the lake and without any time to loose we quickly changed into our bikinis and slumped our bodies into the hammocks on the beach. I guess you can imagine what followed, right? Really hardworking life activities – reading, “sunbaking”, swimming, eating, sleeping and reading, “sunbaking”, swimming, eating, sleeping and reading..
The highlight of the day was the boat ride which included an opportunity to feed the local fish-eagles as well as swimming as the sun set. It was incredible to see the magnificent birds swooping down to retrieve the fish just next Eagle2to our boat so close that you almost felt the air circulating from their wings. Then a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Malawi while the sunset took centre stage. Sounds like dream?
We actually felt like that and every single pinch to the skin just assured us that this was in fact reality.
Just a little advice if you get asked by the captain “Are you brave enough to swim back to the beach?” make sure your feeling fit as the distances from the water are pretty distorted but am happy to say that I safely made it back. And so the very delicious three course dinner was well-deserved.
Did I mention that the food was amazing, freshly cooked with the veggies and herbs used from their own garden? And for the chili-lovers out there make sure you try their own chilli and garlic olive oil which goes amazingly with their homemade bread!
If you think that the experience could not get better, trust me it could. The next morning, after a quiet relaxing night we were woken up with the light sound of the waves mixed with omnipresent birds and somewhere far in the distance the fisherman’s chatter as they returned from their overnight fishing.
We got up excited for the guided hiking to the sunrise view point that we had decided to do. Leaving a bit late (at 5:10am) we hurried up the steep hill as the sun was already rising but after 40 mins of heart-attacking heart-beat tempo we reached the top; we climbed a final huge stone and were gifted with such a spectacular view that you immediately forgot about your whole body muscle pain and aching thighs which will I am sure we’ll feel over the next few days of recovery.
Rewarded with a huge delicious breakfast we enjoyed the remaining few hours by watching the powerful storm overcoming the lake at the distance while the fresh air was breezing our faces as we rested at the hammocks once again.