Mumbo Island, Malawi

Mumbo Island Camp is an out and out eco resort. Sort of place with no generator, nothing but solar power. And toilets without water flush, you use a shovel full of sawdust after each use. There are 7 tents with shaded decks, hammock, hot bucket shower and the "eco-loos". There is a dining area with bar and a watersport gazebo. The whole camp is built of timber, thatch and canvas, and is perched on high rocks overlooking the water. The island is located within an exclusive concession area, guaranteeing privacy as there is nothing else on the island. Well actually there are a number of fishermen who camp on beaches around the island, and the lodge has not yet been able to solve this problem.

The lodge is reached by their ancient ferry from Cape Clear that tends to run just twice a day, and takes 45 minutes. You check in at Cape Clear which is their shore base. They tried to get me so sign a waiver - I refused as this lengthy and overly legal document was grossly unfair t the client and was to absolve them for anything up to gross negligence - and remember that this is essentially just a hotel on an island without wild animals. Once at the island we got a very standard welcome form the manager. This was the only time for any practical purposes that the manager acknowledged our presence for the two days of our stay on the island. She devoted all, and I mean all, of her time to only 2 of the 6 guests oat the hotel: she ate breakfast, lunch and dinner with them both days, chatted to them all the time, and effectively ignored the other 4 of us. Quite extraordinary.

This is unashamedly an eco hotel. The huts are basic. The separate bathroom hut, as well as the dry compositor toilet, has a bucket shower - you ask for warm water, and they quickly deliver it to your hut. There is no hot water in the bathroom otherwise. We also took the "sunset trip" in their small boat and hour round the island with a stop to watch the sun go down.

We were given a solar torch at night, but could not use it to read in the hut, as the light attracted millions of tiny flies, that were so small that they got through the mosquito net. So you adjust your day to go to sleep after finishing dinner at 20.00, and get up at dawn - no bad thing really

The food was the poorest of the 8 hotels we stayed at in Malawi - and we stayed in places more remote than this. There was a camp fire the first night, but they did not bother with it the second night. Prices for the (expensive) drinks are in US dollars, but when I paid they would only give me change in local currency - which as I pointed out to them was useless to me as we were heading straight for the airport to leave Malawi.

On the plus side the views from our hut were truly fantastic and there was a nice little beach for swimming. We took the marked walk round the island, which takes just over an hour, and includes good view points.

Anyone going here has to balance the pluses and the minuses For me, the lack of any warmth or interest by the manager, tilted to balance to the minus side. with a good manager it could have been a plus experience..




With that it was off to Lilongwe Airport and the flight to Dar es Salaam