Nkwichi Lodge is set up on the untouched shores of Lake Niassa in Northern Mozambique. It’s truly one of the most spectacular places I have ever been to in my life and also a huge tick off of my bucket list. It is a part of the Manda Wilderness Project which is highly involved in community projects and which you can read more about on their link. Our journey started at Nkatha Bay at 15:00pm. We went to Aqua Africa, parked our car and had some lunch before heading off on the Ilala Ferry. We promptly went to the ticket office as soon as it docked and bought our tickets before the top deck was sold out, as that is the best spot to be. You can also buy tickets for the cabins in second class which I can only describe as very ‘simple’ or else a very cheap third class ticket which gets you an incredibly squashed standing spot in amongst goats, chickens, maize meal and a whole lot of people that have ‘interesting’ body odors. Once we had boarded there was much waiting around, first back at Aqua Africa where we had lunch and then we boarded at around 17:00 and had a 3 hour wait before departing. There were just so many people loading everything from maize & chickens to cement & plastic buckets and mattresses… I didn’t think that there would be space for even one person after seeing all that stuff but amazingly they all fitted in.
Okay so a trip which on any normal day is supposed to take around 3-4 hours and is really quite a pleasant experience was not the case with our journey. According to the captain, we happened to be on the ferry in the worst weather he had ever experienced in his 30 years as captain! The water was incredibly rough and I decided that filling my stomach with some food and then getting into a horizontal position as soon as possible was the only way I was going to avoid my oncoming motion sickness!
On arrival we saw the Nkwichi boat on its way to collect us and there was just a sigh of relief to the end of a terrible night. An adventure nevertheless…We were welcomed onto the Nkwichi transfer boat with a cooler box full of ice cold Mozambican beers at 6am which just made our entire day!!! First stop was Cobue immigrations before heading off to the Lodge. Nkwichi truly is a hidden gem in practically the middle of nowhere. It is high up in the Niassa region of Mozambique and completely wild.
We were given welcome drinks on arrival and shown to our room which was aptly named Niassa too. The room is built around stone and rock that was already present and has minimal impact on its surroundings. I spotted the sunken outdoor rock bath and it was time to wash the Ilala ferry off my body and bird watch from the bubbles for a while…
After lunch we retreated to our room for an afternoon nap to try and catch up on some lost hours from the night before. We were absolutely knackered to put it frankly!
We woke when it was dark but just in time to join everyone for dinner. The evenings started around a big bonfire with lanterns hung up all around & then we were treated to an enticing 3 course dinner on the beach under the stars! The food at the lodge is incredible and ranges from scrumptious, fully laid out breakfasts on the beach to an array of lunch choices like Moroccan salads, freshly baked bread, spaghetti’s, quiches you name it! Every meal is set up in a new venue so you can really enjoy all the secret little nooks & crannies hidden in this paradise.
We fell into bed early and listened to the sound of the lake’s waves crashing onto the big boulders that line the beach and when we woke the next morning it was to a glimmer of sun shining through the reed walls of the room onto our mosquito net. After breakfast we went for a snorkel in the tropical blue waters in amongst the jagged rocks looking at the cichlids and then lazed about in the sun soaking up the absolute beauty of this wild and untouched piece of Africa… It’s just so peaceful…
On our departure day we had an early start as two other people had to get to the Likoma airport for their flight. It was amazing traveling towards Likoma Island with Mozambique on our right, Malawi on our left and the huge mountains of Tanzania ahead of us in the distance. It’s surreal to actually be here after so many years of bucket list dreaming sitting behind an office desk looking at pictures that other dream makers have taken in far off Neverland places. It really takes some time for reality to sink in, but when it does you are in absolute awe of the reality… Don’t let this place pass you by!