THE ADDRESS Magazine Summer 2014 - Page 387

Photo: Anisha Shah Essence of conservation – Nkwichi Lodge Named after the squeaky white powder sands, nightfall at Nkwichi Lodge is breathtaking; the epitome of paradise. I arrive at a tiny jetty nestled within a hidden cove in the bay. Backed by a national park, wildlife and wild animals are all around, whilst the shores of the lake are implausibly translucent and fringed by dreamy soft sparkling sands. A wonderfully warm welcome greets me as I’m led straight to my own private beach, Venus Beach, where water laps large boulders. This is the best spot to watch Venus setting. It’s also my allocated spot to dine this evening. A hand-carved table and chairs, of local materials built by lodge staff, is already set with oil lanterns and candles awaiting my arrival. At Nkwichi, dining can occur anywhere and at anytime. Reflecting the stars, Lake Niassa here is a glistening phenomenon and the words, ‘Lake of Stars’ resound in my mind. The moonshine seems to light a path straight to my lakeside seat. Nkwichi is a labour of love borne out of a passion for this untouched pocket of Mozambique. It strives to establish and carry out major local projects around conservation of the striking natural environment, sustainability of long-isolated local communities through eco-tourism and awareness of this region. More than simply giving back, Nkwichi’s purpose was to empower local communities to sustain and support themselves through skills training, education and access to healthcare. It’s now estimated to directly support more than 600 people, with all staff employed from local villages. Each of those staff salaries supports 15 more people of the family. Set up by an internationally formidable group of conservationists, including employees of the UN World Food Programme, UNICEF and a Scottish couple who genuinely embody eco-conservation, an impressive array of goals has alrea