Lake Taganyika, Tanzania
October 4th, 2009
After the glorious safari tour in Tanzania, my last stop was to Lupita Island Lodge, a private island located in the middle of the world’s second largest lake; Lake Taganyika. A fresh water lake with a maximum depth of over a mile, Lake Taganyika is a skinny sliver running down the western coast of Tanzania and bordering Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia.
The Lake’s blue green waters are wonderfully vibrant while the rocky islands feature curious granite boulders and very little fauna. Then again, it was just before the rainy season and I’m told it gets more lush after the rains. Either way, after being hot, sweaty and somewhat tormented by flies in the Bush for a week, I was thrilled to be near the Lake’s cool water.
Lupita Island from the air
I arrived via chartered flight from Katavi National Park and landed on an airstrip that was stunning; in the purest form of the word. Just look at this arrival!
The small hut on the right served as the terminal where we unloaded our luggage and supplies for the Lodge. It’s also where we were met by smiling fleet of local luggage handlers – ready and eager to carry our bags down to the awaiting boat.
Most of this was food supplies for the Lodge
These adorable little boys insisted on carrying our bags and refused any sort of tip
Once on the boat, with the spray from the Lake cooling my sunburn, I could truly marvel at the size, color and overall magnitude of Lake Taganyika. I recall thinking: this is surely somewhere I could never have imagined. We zoomed across the chop to Lupita Island passing by locals shuttling on boats between the various islands and shorelines. Our first glimpse of the island was the wooden dock and perhaps the island’s most beloved resident, Roddy the goat.
The dock at Lupita Island Lodge
Once on land we were ferried up the hill in golf cars (if you squint you can see them parked under the center hut in the photo above). At the main house of the Lodge we were greeted by the two women that run the show. After a nice lime-flavored drink I, along with the group, was shown to my private cottage room. My room, number 5, was tucked down into the hillside, at the end of two separate paths and surrounded by acacia trees and chirping birds. The cottages are done in a treehouse-like style with open walls affording intimate views of the lake and direct (yes, direct) communication with nature. The views of the moon, however, are unbelievably stunning, as is the ability to actually ready by moonlight.
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The open-air plan with thatched roofing and wood deck flooring
The comfy plantation chair with the plunge pool on the deck below below
The best feature of my room was without a doubt, the bathroom. From both the shower and the tub the views of Lake Taganyika were uninterrupted. Even the john had a prime vista. I didn’t expect much from the place, I thought the rooms and the whole house was going to be in a really bad shape, but they told me they recently remodeled it and even did some foundation repair services so the rooms feels like brand new.
One of the best soaks in a tub I've ever had
As a special romantic touch, the staff will fill a warm bath with local flower petals, line the deck floor with candles and leave a champagne bucket right alongside the tub all as a delicious surprise for the guests arriving back from cocktails on the water.
Activities at Lake Lupita Lodge include kayaking, swimming, diving, snorkeling, plus there’s a full gym, gorgeous lakeside spa, a games room with table tennis, pool and darts and a Boma and huge terrace bar ideal for the transition from fireside cocktails to late-night dance parties. The island is well-suited for a family or group takeover with 14 cottages and two family suites. Having the run of the island makes every element even more enjoyable. And from our group’s amusing 3 night stay, we vowed that what happens on Lupita Island, stays on Lupita Island.