Wrapping up 2015 with a camping trip to Domwe Island
The metal blades ripped through the turquoise water, leaving a trail of bubbles in its wake. The porter sat perched at the front of the boat, perfectly balanced and at ease with the bobbing lake waves. The friendly skipper steered the old wooden ferry towards the not so distant Domwe Island, leaving the bustling mainland to it’s every day chores and taking us further and further away from all pressing matters.
It’s sometimes a bit of a risk going to a remote, off-the-grid island and sharing it with a few other strangers. Arriving is like opening a lucky packet. Who you going to get? Two women stood standing on the island, waiting for us, taut and upright with a pinched expression on their faces that seemed strange and out of place for such beautiful surroundings.
“Hello,” I said with a smile on my face, “How are you?”
“Well actually, you’re half an hour late. You’ve inconvenienced us and we’re very annoyed!”
And promptly shouldered their way past me, and climbed onto the boat. For a moment, I felt like I’d just stepped off a late London tube, that had without doubt, completely and utterly destroyed thousands upon thousands of people’s day! Thankfully the ferry took them off to the exclusive Mumbo island where I hope they managed to enjoy their stay!
We set up camp and cracked open a cold Carlsberg Chill beer, settling in for 3 days of camping, snorkeling and kayaking along the pristine waters of Domwe Island. We’d booked my husband’s parents into the furnished safari tent while we erected our own family dome tent on a tent site which included a platform and a thatch roof. Our camping spot looked out towards the lake and was perfectly positioned for sunset show time! The private beach, sheltered by huge granite boulders on either side and with a bushy back drop of Mountain Acacia and Baobabs, cast it’s island magic upon all inhabitants. With almost immediate effect, ‘time’ seemed not to matter. It’s booming, intrusive voice, became muffled and irrelevant, disappearing altogether with the sun’s dimmed rays.
Soon we met our fellow island inhabitants – a group of friendly South African students who had travelled up the Mozambican coast on a shoestring budget and whose final destination was Domwe Island. And later that day, the ferry returned yet again, with the last load of island inhabitants – a family group of 5. With the island now complete and all inhabitants stationed – a kitchen and meal time routine seemed to effortlessly unfold, each group learning when to give space and when to come together. Well most of the time! My children seemed to take a liking to the other family and joined them for chats whenever possible!
At night, a fire on the beach was lit for those of us wanting to cook our dinner on open flames. Solar powered lanterns shone brightly well into the night, and the smell of freshly baked bread wafted down from the communal kitchen, courtesy of the island staff. No doubt, the gorgeous smells of barbecued meat and bread, attracted a few unusual visitors. The island is also home to a small population of unobtrusive civets and fat, fairly passive bush pigs that would cautiously appear at night, yellow eyes gleaming in the shadows, hoping for a share of the pickings!
“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
– James Baldwin
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
– H.D Thoreau.
“Come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”
– William Shakespeare
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
– William Arthur Ward
“So I close my eyes to old ends and open my heart to new beginnings.”
– Nick Frederickson
I loved this short holiday. It was the perfect place to end off 2015, a year that seems to have been quite a tough one for many! A place to clear the mind and to escape. A place with no distractions from what was most needed; spending time with family, making precious memories, living for today and basking in the warm, tranquil beauty of the lake. I left Domwe Island feeling refreshed, inspired and ready to take on a new and exciting year with many big changes in the pipeline for me and my family. A move to a new country! Or in actual fact, an old one. We’re coming home, South Africa!
Happy new year to all my readers! May 2016 bring happiness, peace and new beginnings.