ECO GREEN LODGES IN MALAWI
Mumbo Island, Malawi
Mumbo Island is a pristine and deserted tropical island floating on the expansive waters of the Lake Malawi National Park. With a maze of massive underwater boulders, an incredible array of colourful cichlid fish and calm, clear waters, the park offers the best freshwater snorkelling and scuba diving in the world. In the words of one delighted guest “it’s like snorkelling in an aquarium!”
Approaching Mumbo Island by boat, the first view to catch one’s eyes are the elevated tents perched on rocks high above the lake, each with a balcony and hammock swaying lightly in the breeze. The tents are furnished simply yet comfortably with 100% cotton bedlinen, woven grass mats and en suite bathrooms constructed from reeds and wood with eco- friendly bucket showers (heated by solar) and eco-loos. Tents are set as far apart from one another as possible to guarantee privacy and are connected to the main island camp and main beach by a wooden walkway, lit by fairy lights at night, stretching over fifty or so meters of lake.
Mumbo Island is only 1km in diameter and has never been populated so it remains in a pristine, natural state. Kayak Africa run Mumbo as an entirely off grid, green camp so that it remains as unspoilt and perfect as it has been forever. The whole camp is built of timber, thatch and canvas, and is perched on high rocks overlooking the water, blending with the African bush to create a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ atmosphere of rustic charm. The main beach opens up into a pristine (wind protected) cove, ideal for snorkelling or an evening swim. Wild fig trees grow out of giant boulders all around the island, their fat roots creeping round and down to the lake below. All this is wrapped up in a shimmering ribbon of crystal clear, turquoise water, simply put- paradise.
OUR RATING: Comfortable
PRICE FROM: US$225
FAMILY FRIENDLY: Children welcome
SIZE: 14 guests
HEALTH: Malaria zone
WHY GO: To be on your own Robinson Crusoe style paradise island floating on a crystal clear lake with colourful fish all around
HOW MUMBO ISLAND IS SHINING A GREEN LIGHT FOR
NATURE: The pristine nature of the island is kept intact by Mumbo’s super “green” ethos. All lighting is by solar, paraffin lamps and wind-up torches; toilets are dry composter loos and all composted material is removed from the island, buried in pits for a year and then used as compost for gardens on the mainland. Kitchen waste is separated and recycled on the mainland. Water is pumped from the lake by a solar pump and filtered on the island. . Furniture and décor are made locally from sustainable sources, not rare hard woods and the tents and thatched decks can be easily removed leaving not a trace or footprint behind.
ANIMALS: Mumbo Island is part of the Lake Malawi National Park, a fresh-water marine reserve and Natural World Heritage Site. The lake contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world with the colourful cichlid fish population being of special significance.
PEOPLE: Fresh produce and fish are sourced from the local community who also make up the staff at Mumbo with five members now in the role of managers. There is an eco consciousness behind every decision: For example the cushion covers for the lodge were made by fabric from Lilongwe market by the village tailor and once faded recycled into clothes for children of the village. Community initiatives are supported wherever possible and there is a micro-loan scheme in place.