Locally constructed cottages on a deserted beach
On the mainland coast very close to Matemo Island, Guludo is the place to go for that Robinson Crusoe Vibe
Guludo is an award winning Eco Lodge on the mainland coast very close to Matemo Island (about 20 mins by boat). No one will come to Guludo without knowing before-hand that its an eco-lodge, and you do wonder how specifically this will make your experience different. Yes, you expect village visits will be possible, and that the craft shop will have locally made handicrafts... but what about the food, the service, your room – surely these can’t be ‘eco’?
It doesn’t take long before you find out they can! Lets start with the rooms.... well ‘beach cottages’ would be a better word, as they are extensive structures. At the centre is a bedroom which opens out onto a large veranda with table and chairs, cushions and a hammock – with the sea beyond. At the back of the cottages there is an open air shower that looks like it came from the set of The Flintstones, but try and use it, and you find its 100% fit for purpose, delivering as good a shower as I had anywhere on our trip. And then finally, you walk up a short flight of wooden steps to a wonderful ‘loo with a view’. Its a wooden structure a few metres off the ground, enclosed on all sides, but with wooden shutters you can open at the front to scan the horizon for humpback whales and dolphins (I am not joking!!)
To begin with I found our beach cottage was a little spartan. This was because everything it was made from (and that was in it) was produced locally. Yes EVERYTHING, from the plaster holding the walls together, to the chairs, the coathangers, the toilet structure, the shower, the hammock, the bedspread. But the space soon softens up as you unpack your bags, and it acquires a ‘lived in’ feel – it then felt perfect.... a perfect robinson crusoe beach cottage, on a perfect beach in perfect weather. Bliss.
Guludo is set on a loooonnng stretch of beach... it must stretch about 10kms to either side of the lodge, and is utterly deserted save for the odd local village. Activities during the day include kayaking, fishing, snorkelling, whale watching, local village visits – sometimes taking in a game of football for anyone keen to get involved – and of course diving (the lodge has a fully equipped PADI diving set up).
All the staff at Guludo are from the local community – it does means service is a little slower and you have to be careful to make yourself understood sometimes, but this is balanced by a very ‘real’ interaction – these are no carbon copy graduates from a tourism school, and I found I got a fascinating glimpse into what life was like growing up in rural mozambique. In similar vein, the food was uncomplicated, fresh and delicious.
Guludo a great place to relax and unwind, but it won’t suit everyone... there isn’t an internet connection here, no tv in your room, no swimming pool except the sea, and no a/c except the sea breeze. But I do think anyone with an inquisitive nature (children and adults alike), that enjoys nature and is interested in different cultures, will absolutely love it. Speaking for myself... I found it utterly relaxing, thought provoking and – unlike so many of my other holidays that have blurred in the memory… I’ll never forget Guludo!
Charlie runs Campbell-Bell Communications, a successful London based PR / Communications business. Her clients include luxury lifestyle brands, celebrity representation, and travel brands including two properties in Kenya – Almanara Resort in Mombasa in and El Karama Lodge near Mt Kenya
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