By Duncan Mlanjira
Winners of the MultiChoice Malawi’s DStv Easter promotion for an all-expenses paid Easter holiday have described their experiences during the expedition as one they shall always cherish having been privileged to visit three exclusive visits at three different Sunbird Hotels.
They started their expedition on Friday with Sunbird Thawale and Mwembezi Restaurant that is located in Majete Wildlife Reserve in Chikwawa before traveling to Ku Chawe Inn in Zomba and ending their expedition with a visit to the lakeshore hospitality resort at Senga Bay in Salima, the Sunbird Livingstonia Hotel.
At Sunbird Thawale, the MultiChoice guests were treated to game viewing where they sampled three of the game reserve’s big three, the lion, elephant, buffalo as well as many other wild animals.
And at Ku Chawe Inn they went for a Jeep excursion along Zomba Mountain tourist attraction trails.
But whilst at Livingstonia, they had a special treat when they visited a crocodile farm which is stocked with over 18,000 crocs of different ages in secured pens.
From the crocodile farm the group visited Gwiriza Cultural Village where they were treated to traditional dances including the famous Gulewamkulu. And they were allowed to pose for pictures with the famous Makanja Gulewamkulu, a very rare opportunity from such a strict traditional Chewa culture.
“This beats everything,” said Golden Kang’oma, who was accompanied on the trip by his wife Sophie and kids Tamanda, Tisekere and Takondwa from Lilongwe. “We were really in a cultural village, mixing with the villagers like we have always been here. Wow! What an experience to tell my friends out there.
His son, Takondwa said what remains engraved in his memory of the trip is the Williams Water Fall at Ku Chawe, saying he was at peace with nature.
Takondwa’s sister Tisekere said she just enjoyed every part of the expedition, but being so close to the lions at Majete was something so unique.
The other guests were Michael Maliro and his wife Esnath from Blantyre; Idana Chimombo and his wife Susan from Mzimba and Kenneth Kamwamba and his wife Sellina from Blantyre, all of whom said they were very blessed to have drawn the lucky ticket that brought them together for this exclusive Easter Holiday.
“This is really maximum entertainment. I never expected to have such a pleasant four days of adventure,” said Maliro. “I never planned anything special for Easter at all and this opportunity is something I shall always cherish.
“I really feel honoured to be rewarded like this. I have learnt so much from what I have experienced starting with the game viewing at Majete, the crocodile viewing, the traditional dances and also having the feel of our precious Lake Malawi.
“This was an Easter holiday with a difference, all thanks to MultiChoice,” he said.
At Gwiriza, they were taken on a tour of the village where they experienced women weaving baskets and brooms and brewing the traditional alcohol spirit, Kachasu, which they were given to sample.
After that they were treated to the traditional that included Chisamba performed by elderly women, Chiterero by younger girls, Chinchezeretso by a mixture of girls and older women and the grand final of Gule Wamkulu that was spiced by a special entry of a Makanja.
The group left Salima on Monday full of excitement, saying Malawi is really endured with huge potential for tourism and that it has to start with Malawians themselves.
“This was also one way of attracting local Malawians to sample for themselves our tourism industry so that we can market it better to foreign tourists,” said the group’s host, Multichoice’s sales executive Deborah Chauta.
MultiChoice launched the competition last month in which it asked subscribers to stay connected throughout the month up to April 10 to stand a chance of winning the exclusive holiday.
MultiChoice’s Head of Commercials, Yuk-yen Au-Yeung they initiated the competition in order to pay back their customers’ loyalty who stay connected to their DStv subscription.
Thawale Lodge in Majete wildlife reserve, situated in the Lower Shire valley approximately 70km from Blantyre, has 7 tented chalets planted within Majete around a serene floodlit waterhole that attracts different ranges of wildlife.
Sunbird Ku Chawe’s attraction is the pristine Sourthern Region Water Board’s Mulunguzi Dam water reservoir and also Jeep treks up some trails of the Zomba mountain while Sunbird Livingstonia, formerly called the Grand Beach Hotel, is located on the lake shore in Senga Bay, Salima, 125 km from Lilongwe.