Chasing chimulimulis, the latest news from Manda Wilderness
Nkwichi Lodge

H2Oh Yes Please!

Lake Niassa, one of the world’s largest and cleanest remaining fresh water reserves, is the lifeblood of the local Nyanja people (Nyanja means ‘Lake’). However 7 of the 16 villages of Manda Wilderness are situated inland and some lack vital access to fresh water.

Magachi is one of these villages, high in the mountains and reachable only by foot in the rainy season, when the makeshift road becomes impassable. The people of Magachi have always had to make do with the murky river waters during the wet months and desiccated pools, resembling warthog mud-baths, in the dry months. Manda Wilderness Community Trust  and The Anglican Church have recently teamed up to install a new bore-hole in Magachi, with everyone in the village helping to gather materials needed and assist in its construction. Overjoyed at this vital addition, the village are now aiming to finish construction of their first school and receive its first teacher from the Government. Several villages in Manda Wilderness still require bore-holes and MWCT will continue to try work with local partners for their establishment.

Carving a place in the world

Migrations have always played a special role in Africa as animals and people moved freely, unaware of future frontiers and maps, in search of greener pastures. Manda Wilderness is fortunate to contain one village, Luwiga, of the semi-nomadic Ngoni tribe, vestigial descendants of the great trek northward led by their Chief Zwangendaba in the 19th century, fleeing from the advancing Zulus. Nkwichi has just started working with a renowned carver from this village as part of a crafts initiative to foster interest in a younger generation and introduce new, marketable styles for guests.

Estevao Lepote has certainly led an itinerant life; he first learned his skill whilst travelling and working in Southern Tanzania with an elephant hunter after escaping the Mozambican civil war. With the end of the war, he returned to Mozambique and worked with carvers from the Makonde tribe, renowned for their intricate style. Eventually moving back to Luwiga, Estevao occasionally sold carvings to Nkwichi over the years, but is now to be based part-time on-site, at the Manda Wilderness Agricultural Project. As well as giving training sessions for local carvers, Estevao  will be delighted to show off his skills and stories for guests visiting his workshop. 

Can I kick it?
The Manda Wilderness Football Team has shown once again their unmatched mettle in a series of friendlies against rivals Metangula and Lichinga, proving for another year they are a force to be reckoned with in Niassa Province. Coincidentally both victories finished a fantastic 5-1, including a scintillating second goal against Lichinga; an overhead scissor-kick which threw the local Nyanja supporters into frenzied celebration. Plans are afoot for the Manda Wilderness Community Trust to coordinate a Champions League-style event in 2012, gathering several provincial teams together in what will raise the profile of local talent.
The Manda Wilderness Football league, made up of 16 village teams, also had its season finale last November. Football is a contentious sport the world over, Africa notwithstanding, and this year’s league was struck by some strange occurrences, including a bizarre semi-final whereby one incensed team stopped playing, claiming the ball had been cursed with magic. Both sides agreed to a replay of course, and a worthy winner eventually progressed to the final, won 5-0 by Chicaia village in an enthralling match-up with rivals Chilola. 

Guests arrive at Nkwichi a variety of ways; some walk the ancient lakeshore path, once a major slave-trafficking route, and turn up on our doorstep, others paddle in on their own canoes, completely out of the blue. In October staff were treated to a different spectacle when some guests touched down on the beach in their own helicopter, covering a cheering welcome committee in swirling sand.

The guests kindly treated one of the staff to a Fish Eagle’s-eye view of Manda Wilderness on their departure. Francis Makawila, Nkwichi's inimitable Guest Manager, hitched a ride to Cobue, a journey which usually lasts 2.5 hours on foot but was completed in just less than 5 minutes. Now we’re just waiting for someone to parachute in… 

In brief:
Full Monty Python
 Staff were treated to a surprise in the bush when this immobile African Rock Python was found stuffed with a dinner which should last a month or so!
Building Bridges A bridge over the Micalanga river was finished last month after a kind donation by Gerard van Dijk. People from Mbueca village now have a safe passage during the rains.

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Now it's even easier to reach Nkwichi with our 2012 special offers:
- FREE Return Flights Lilongwe-Likoma for stays of 7 nights or more
- Pay 3 Nights Stay for 4
- Families: Kids Under 12 Come Free
- Honeymoons: Brides Come for Half-Price
  Please contact to find out more. Conditions apply.

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