The subject of a stream of articles, and (part) owned and run by Amy Carter, a first-class social entrepreneur, Guludo Beach Lodge is located on the mainland north of Pemba, in Quirimbas National Park.
Eschewing the attractions of an island based lodge, Carter founded Guludo in partnership with Guludo village. The village, located less than a mile away with a population of 1,500, has been involved in every aspect of the lodge – from laying its foundations and helping arrange its design to maintaining its facilities.
The lodge itself is strung along the beach, in what its architects describe as a traditional village model, with accommodation north and south of the main shared area. Shaded and arranged about a courtyard, the public buildings consist of a dining room and seating area, a workshop, a diving centre and reception. The dining and seating area overlooks the ocean contains a fabulous bar, and is constructed – like all the buildings – entirely from local materials. The wattle and daub walls, together with the bamboo mainframe, are both sustainable and perfectly suited to the beach climate.
FOOD AND SERVICE
Guests report a real sense of meaningfulness about Guludo, and from this springs a service that is attentive and relaxed. Guludo’s inventive cuisine blends Mozambican and Swahili with a distinctly international outlook. Local fishermen and farmers sell their produce daily, giving each dish the rich vigour that comes with absolute freshness.
The recently re-vamped en-suite adobe bandas share the quality design features of Guludo’s main buildings. High thatched roofs funnel the sea breeze down into the rooms, and the semi-permeable walls allow for a smooth airflow.
All the rooms’ furniture is made from locally sourced woods and stone, the water and electricity are solar powered, and the lodge’s only import a South African environ-loo; this is eco-chic accommodation of the highest order.
King-size beds on raised platforms look out to sea, spacious verandas with traditional Swahili style seating act as suntraps, and the fittings and soft furnishings are more a new brand of enviro-aestheticism than they are novelty designs.
There are, in addition to the bandas, a family suite (think a giant deluxe banda) and a number of tented bandas, which are the most traditional forms of accommodation.
The activities are both beach and park based, giving travellers instant access to marine and land safaris. This includes diving, snorkelling, island hopping, cultural visits and game drives.
Please note that this a malaria area.
Guludo’s defining trait is its environmental awareness, and proactive willingness to support and sustain the local community. In the lodge’s own words:
‘Our Model encompasses a commercial enterprise (Guludo Beach Lodge), which operates using fair trade principles and a charity (Nema Foundation), which partners with 12 local communities to implement projects.
The lodge stimulates the local economy and develops skills while the charity tackles the root causes of poverty and environmental devastation, which are funded by donations from the lodge, its guests and our charity partners.
Through our Model we have provided access to clean water for 16,000 people, a school meal every day for 800 malnourished children, secondary school scholarships for 127 scholars, construction of 2 primary schools, distributed 9,500 mosquito nets and household training in nutrition, malaria, HIV, hygiene and sanitation. The lodge has over 150 local suppliers, employs 80 staff and 8 local craft enterprises sell their products to our guests… and this is all just the very tip of the iceberg.
Now, because of the lodge, the local economy is developing, children are healthier, poverty is falling, environmental pressures are decreasing and there is a buzz of optimism in the region.
Our health initiatives have made enormous progress over the last 12 months and we have become the most active health NGO in the district, and potentially have saved hundreds of lives.
Over 400 students sit at school desks in two new primary schools, with more primary schools under construction.
Currently 127 students have secondary or vocational scholarships, with another 30 who have previously received scholarships.
The lodge employs 80 staff, 95% from a 10km radius, with no previous work or tourism experience. All staff receive extensive on the job training and, where needed, literacy training. English is also taught.
Accommodation is built entirely from local-materials.
Through our plethora of projects the gender imbalance is starting to reduce. Under our school feeding program all children can go to school to have education and a nourishing meal. The children eat more food at school than they would have harvested in the fields: parents now view school as very worthwhile.
Energy saving ovens not only reduce the amount of coastal forest cut down for firewood but also dramatically reduce the amount of time girls and women spend having to find firewood.
Guludo village resident, Idris Falume, says,
“The biggest difference since the lodge started is that people are not hungry any more. Before, everyone was hungry. Everyone knows when it is salary day. The money moves from hand to hand as people buy things from their neighbours and nearby villages. Last year I opened a shop with my brother and my wife makes floor tiles too. My children now drink clean water and love to go to the new, beautiful school and eat the “mataforme” (name given to the school porridge). Now our children have a good future and our village has “Nema” (translates as happiness when suffering ends).”
We have numerous projects that seek to protect wildlife in the Guludo region.
All water in the lodge is hand pumped and tanks are either gravity or manually filled. Grey water is sand filtered and used for irrigation.
We designed and implemented our own twin-chambered composting toilets.’