How can you assist conservation by staying at Tongole Wilderness Lodge in Malawi?

Kate Pirie By Kate Pirie
07 Feb 2018
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What is it that draws you back to Africa? Is it the wide open spaces, the relaxed feel, the massive grin on your face when returning to a continent that you love?

For me it most definitely all of the above but it’s also about the friendly people who genuinely love their work as guides or in a safari camp where their salary supports on average 11 extended family members and of course, it about the most wonderful wildlife!

 

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If you have similar feelings or even if you have never experienced Africa before, then you should consider Malawi for your next safari destination and apart from having a marvellous time, you will also be supporting a much wider network than you could ever have imagined.

This part of the world does not usually feature on the ‘safari radar’, but certainly things are changing and for those looking for the Africa of old with fewer visitors and genuine experiences, then Malawi should be on your ‘to visit list’.

 

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Tongole Lodge in Malawi and Manda Nkwichi on the Mozambique side of Lake Malawi make for a good combination to stay at and are remarkable lodges.

Apart from winning the best safari guiding team, best walking safari and best location under Malawi in the Safari awards, Tongole is also simply a wonderful safari and relaxation destination in Malawi. Tongole lies in the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to the east of the country and has beautiful lush forests and woodlands and some open plains and also huge hills covered in dense foliage.

 

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This is a true wilderness that made headlines recently when over 500 elephant were translocated from other parks to Nkhotakota by African Parks, which is a most phenomenal feat. The Foundation also works hard with African Parks to reduce poaching in the reserve and to promote the wildlife as an asset to the local communities, thereby both benefitting.

Not only is Tongole preserving and looking after the wildlife in this part of Africa but they also have the Tongole Foundation that focuses on two core objectives:

  • To create a sustainable business (Tongole Wilderness Lodge), creating desperately rare employment and training opportunities in a deprived part of Malawi.
  • To found a children’s education charity that provides support to local schools.

 

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Sustainable business’’

The lodge employs from the local communities, works with schools, repairs staff housing, mending school roofs and builds toilet blocks. They also run a chicken project and baby net project as well as having students from the Arsenal Project coming out on a gap year to teach football to children in the local communities.

 

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Manda Nkwichi lies on the golden white shores of Lake Malawi and is not only a wonderful relaxing and very laidback beach lodge, but it also allow one to be active and your stay also supports the local people. There are only eight beach lodges surrounded by bushveld, with secluded beaches dotted along the coast were you can explore and not see anyone else.

Nkwichi is more than just a tranquil lodge, they are a primary part of the Manda Wilderness Project, which supports local communities and brings them together under three elements:

  • Tourism – the lodge that provides local employment and training,
  • Community development – that provides practical help to a very poor community and
  • Conservation.

 

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The Nkwichi Project covers 650 hectares and four kilometres of coastline. The communities are encouraged to look after and not poach and as a result some species are beginning to return to the wilderness including zebra, warthog, otter and kudu. But in addition to this smaller area another 120,000 hectares of conservation importance and protection has also been established and it is in here that they have seen elephant, wild dog, sable and bushbuck.

With the assistance of the project the villagers have agreed to stop hunting and to focus on tourism and agriculture.

 

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Your stay at Manda Nkwichi supports these initiatives and has so far raised funds to construct 12 primary schools, the districts first maternity clinic and organised sport and cultural events like the annual traditional wooden canoe race and a gospel choir festival.

Manda Nkwichi is so much more than just an African eco lodge on the beach – it is a support for a much larger community.

 

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