Tour Likoma Island courtesy of Paulendo Adventures cruise

People who have not had the chance to visit Likoma Island can grab an opportunity that has presented itself that is being organised by local tour company, Paulendo Adventures for a Lake Malawi cruise aboard the historical MV Ilala from September 3-5.

Paulendo Adventures is enticing the public in a flier posted on social media and other platforms that this is an opportunity to visit and appreciate Likoma Island’s historical places such us St Peters Anglican Cathedral, which is over 100 years old.

Another attraction is a visit at luxurious Kaya Mawa Lodge as well as Mwala Belu (natural rock rings); Mwala Phadzi (footprint on a rock) and Fudwe Museum — which stocks Likoma Island history and its artifacts.

The fee is at K140,000 per person which caters for travel from Blantyre to Senga Bay in Salima via Lilongwe on September 3.

Departure from Blantyre will be from 06:30hrs from Chichiri shopping Mall setting to arrive in Lilongwe by noon before picking up Lilongwe guests for Senga Bay.

They will then board MV Ilala at 14:30hrs for the Lake Malawi cruise that will cover the whole night before arriving at Likoma Island around 10:30hrs on September 4.

Aboard, the guests will be treated to dinner and breakfast in the morning as well as various entertainment activities.

After visiting the various tourist attractions at Likoma, the group shall have lunch at another luxurious Ulisa Lodge and after several other activities, they shall depart at 17:00hrs for Nkhata Bay where they will breakfast and enjoy other activities such as boat ride, feeding fish eagles, tug of war, swimming and other personal activities.

After lunch, they shall depart for Lilongwe via the Lakeshore Road through Salima before heading back to Blantyre.

Paulendo Adventures manager, Yangairo Yangairo said the K140,000 fee will cover for the transportation — both on land and water — meals, accommodation and all activities to be enjoyed.

He said payments, which are allowed to pay in four instalments, can be made National Bank Paulendo Adventures account # 1006755417, Top Mandala Branch or through Airtel Money 0999650826 and Mpamba 0881034149 — to be done not later than August 25, 2021.

Likoma Island is the larger of two islands on Lake Malawi with a smaller Chizumulu nearby and are entirely surrounded by Mozambican territorial waters.

It has an overall area of 18 km², and is located in the north-eastern part of Lake Malawi, 7 km north-west of Cobue in Mozambique.

In 1880, missionaries from the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, founded in response to a plea by David Livingstone — who discovered Lake Malawi on behalf of the British — established their headquarters on Likoma Island.

Due to the presence of British missionaries, the island was assigned to Malawi rather than Mozambique when national borders in East Africa were established after World War II.

Despite a high population density, the natural environment of Likoma island is largely unspoiled. The coast is varied, with rocky slopes, sandy bays and swamps.

The interior of the island is mostly covered by grassland, with a large number of baobab trees and mango trees. Fauna is mostly composed of small reptilians, amphibians, birds and a number of invertebrates including scorpion spiders.

The waters around Likoma, as is usual in Lake Malawi, host a number of cichlids with some species, such Labidocromis caeruleus likomae that are endemic of the Likoma area.

Likoma is densely populated, with about 10,500 inhabitants dispersed in a dozen settlements, the main being the eponymous town of Likoma while the nearby Chizumulu has a further 4,000 inhabitants.

The most represented ethnic groups are the Nyanja people (60%) and the Tonga (25%), followed by smaller groups Tumbuka, Yao and Chewa, whose main economic activity is fishing — although agriculture (mainly rice and cassava is grown.

Likoma has no paved roads, and there are very few motor vehicles but it has a tarred airstrip but their main mode of transportation is provided by the MV Ilala and MV Mtendere that circumnavigates Lake Malawi, stopping over at all the main settlements on the coast and the islands.

In addition, The MV Chambo links the island with the town of Nkhata Bay on the west side of the lake once a week while smaller boats (including dhows cross the strait between Likoma and Chizumulu.

As Likoma is a relevant tourist destination in Malawi, there are a few hotels and backpacker hostels, usually based on ecotouristic principles.

Paulendo Adventures is a Malawian tour company that aims at promoting tourism both local and international through travel, hiking and sustainability of the environment and came to the fore last year when it organised a 360km walk from Blantyre to Lilongwe to raise funds for training of tour guides.

Paulendo Adventures organised the fundraiser as a social responsibility of giving back to the tourism industry and taking cognizance that there are many tour guide around but they don’t have the right etiquette to handle tourists professionally.

Yangairo had said since they earn their bread and butter from this occupation, training them was also contributing towards job creation.

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