The first of our many nights in Malawi, booked for us by the fantastic Responsible Safari Company, was spent at Lukwe Eco lodge. In Chichewa, ‘Lukwe‘ means ‘place of natural beauty‘, it is rare a name so encompasses its bearer. A peaceful haven of nature, perched on the edge of the Livingstonia mountain amidst a homegrown forest of trees. Homespun treetop bar, restaurant, safari tents, drop toilets and showers boast prime-position views of the sweeping landscape; across the valley from the lake on the right to mountain peaks on your left. Soul refreshment comes instantly from breathing in this incredible view from the dangling ledge swing, your balcony or whilst fulfilling a call of nature on the compost toilet. Honeymooners can do their business in a double compost toilet- there’s nothing quite so romantic as taking a dump whilst holding hands 🙂
Water is filtered from the stream, food grows in abundance of colour in the thriving garden next door, tumbling down the hillside bearing tempting fruits, nuts, vegetables and tended lovingly by locals, being taught essential gardening skills and knowledge by the owners.
There’s intricate attention to detail, from the plants sewn beneath the bar (to deter the flies that seek to feed from the moisture in people’s eyes) to the wooden surrounds built and designed-as with everything here-by the owner, Oke.
That night, as fires were kindled across the dark hills, peppering the landscape with gold and the air with acrid smoke, we relished cold bottles of ‘Special Brew’ over several games of ‘Ome Jacques’ with Spanish Carlos and Dutch Danny. The pair had been overawed by the beauty of this little retreat and opted to stay rather than trudge back down the mountain in the stifling heat. Danny had learnt the game from his grandparents so, danke Opa and Oma Lefferts!
Oke regaled us with tales of the local deadly wildlife before we padded to bed in the blackness of the night, paraffin lamp in hand, desperately trying not to disturb any lurking black mambas…needless to say, my late-night, open-air wee was a hurried and particularly terrifying experience filled with visions of the wriggly demons.