Most of you will know by now that we unexpectedly soon found a job in Malawi, which is why we have been a bit quiet lately!
While we were still driving through Zambia, we already digitally met with the interim manager of a lodge in Lilongwe and we were invited for a casual interview. As expected, the border post from Zambia to Malawi kept us longer than we hoped for, so we just missed each other, because she had to leave town for a few days. It wasn’t a big issue and now at least we had time to go visit Lake Malawi (see previous blog)!
Kiboko Safaris was established about twenty years ago by a Dutch couple as one of the first tour operators in Malawi. Back then they also owned a campsite in Lilongwe, which they later sold to start a hotel in the capital. They then also added a lodge just outside the city centre and currently the old hotel has been closed so they could open a brand-new lodge not far from the first. And now that one needed a manager.
Unfortunately, the vacancy was for one person only, but both of us went for the interview at this beautiful location, Mitengo House. Soon we discovered that the manager of Africa House, the first lodge, was actually too busy with many other things, including coordinating a variety of tours and the newly built lodge in Zambia. Since we unexpectedly showed up as a package deal, it seemed to be the right moment to move around some tasks within the company and both of us became lodge managers. Hessel at Mitengo House and Dilo at Africa House. Only ten days in Malawi and we already started our new jobs!
Both accommodations are more upmarket than we were used to and besides tourists, we also host many business people. Malawi is one of those countries where every imaginable First World charity is represented and they all need temporary accommodation in the capital city. So nowadays we have conversations with project leaders of UNICEF, Red Cross, Salvation Army and plenty of other lesser known guardians of a better world.
Another big difference with our experience in South Africa is that the lodges here have fifteen employees each. They were a bit distant at first, but now we know the names of all receptionists, chefs, cleaners and gardeners, it seems to be a nice team.
However, just the way we apparently attract it, big changes already took place… The new General Manager (who first managed Africa House) got another job offer and will be moving out of town in November. A few days after this news, the managers of the recently opened lodge in Zambia decided to leave for personal reasons, so everyone is running around to fill the gaps. We certainly know how to handle of bit of chaos and it’s also nothing new to find out most things on our own, so the long days are flying by and it feels as if we’ve been working here much longer than a month. It’s definitely a great start of our new life in Malawi!