On our way out, we headed back to see what the new development that our neighbours were at was like at Sunga Moyo. Fred and he’s German wife recently bought the lodge and renamed it Sunga Moyo. Where Makuzi mostly caters for lodge facilities, Fred is more into camping. Sunga Moyo has some lovely shaded trees, beautiful ablutions and almost on the beach meters away from the lake. Definitely a stopover when we visit Malawi again.
On our way to Nkhotakota, we stopped at a local “Peoples” grocery. We have never been in one, but we were desperate for some cold drinks. “Peoples” is a dark grocer where you can easily get lost … not your local Pick n Pay.
We first stopped at Nkhotakota Safari Lodge that appeared to be well equipped for campers – and which was also on the banks of the lake. The ablutions however were in a terrible state – and this made us head further to Nhkotakota Pottery Lodge.
Just before the Pottery, we bought a huge pineapple from a local selling them next to the road. It still looked green, but a day later when we cut into it, it was a tropical yellow and it was super sweet.
Nkhotakota Pottery is right next to the Nkhotakota Safari Lodge – but has recently split ownership. Harold Hildemann from Germany is now the owner, and you can see the difference he is trying to make.
The lodge side is in a very good condition, but he is still working on the camping side. This side has various unoccupied dome tents as well as rooftop tents he has situated on a cement platform that formerly formed part of the pottery. The pottery has moved to a smaller location next to the camping site.
But the one thing that amazed us the most about Nkhotakota Pottery was the ablutions for the campers. Access is controlled by keys that are issued to you upon arrival. The washbasins are all made of home painted tiles and the insides of the shower are tiled (painted by the pottery personnel) from the bottom to the top. It is really a sight to see.
We were the only campers in the area and we had a lovely shaded tree that we could set up camp under. The humidity at Nkhotakota Pottery hits you like a ton of bricks and setting up camp took us much longer than anticipated. The view of the lake is breathtaking and very different than what we were used to at Makuzi.
We really spent our first day getting used to the climate change and just lounging around. We had the odd rainstorm but nothing much happened.
We went to bed early as we had an appointment with the pottery to have two coffee mugs painted, glazed and baked the next day.
Apart from the private security company that is constantly around, Nkhotakota makes sure that warm water to the ablutions are ready very early. We woke up every morning to the smoke of the “donkey” being prepared. Also not sure why hot water is needed – the heat made us shower in cold water every day.
On day two I wanted to do some washing, but saw lake sand in the water – and only then realised that water was being pumped from the lake for washing, showering and the ablutions. Not the ideal because basically you never get rid of the sand in your clothes or hair …
We also got to paint our coffee mugs – and we very much realised that we were NOT artists. The manager of the pottery even grinned when he saw our art work. Unfortunately we will only see our end results at a later stage when our mugs will be couriered to us in South Africa. Some glazing and baking problems occurred and our mugs were not ready when we left.
On day two, some local fishermen also came around, and for the first time Pieter and I got to buy fresh fish (Chambo) to take back home. We even ordered some from the restaurant to eat later on. At Cool Runnings in Senga bay last year, we had amazing Chambo that the chef prepared for us – and we were hoping the same would be applicable to the Pottery. When our food arrived later that day, we were very surprised to find the complete fish (eyes and all) were dipped in boiling hot oil and served on a plate. We weren’t used to eating fish served this way, but nevertheless, it was delicious.
At this point in time, Pieter and I were seriously nursing some heavy inflamed tsetse fly, spider and mosquito bites. We were covered and nothing seemed to help. I remember last year round when Pieter injured he’s leg, the doctor in Chipata prescribed Iodine ointment. I took this from our first aid bag, and for the first time during the whole trip, we got some relief. At this point in time, we had already used up three cans of Peaceful sleep … and we had four cans in reserve. Africa definitely has the most persistent bugs and mosquitos ever.
We also had a swim in the lake – different from Makuzi as here you share the lake with the locals. Harold and he’s team (the security company) try their utmost best to keep the locals at bay, but Malawian law states that the beach and lake is owned by all.
Because of the heat and humidity, we opted to start packing up later that night. Pieter noticed that there were a lot less “lake flies” at the spotlight as the previous two nights. Previously he even took some video footage to show the amount of flies at the light. Much to our surprise, most of the flies were gathered in the bathrooms when we went to shower. Annoying and frustrating when you try to shower and millions of lake flies wants to join.
We went to bed early as the next day was a long trip that included a border post as well.