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Mucumbli Ecotourism Lodge - A view from our expert author


Pico São Tomé in São Tomé and Príncipe by Marco Muscarà, www.marcomuscara.comMucumbli Ecotourism Lodge is a handy base for climbing the Pico São Tomé © Marco Muscarà, www.marcomuscara.com

Opened in 2013 near the Ponta Figo plantation, the Mucumbli Ecotourism Lodge (6 chalets; mobile: 990 8737, 990 8736; email: mucumbli@gmail.co, tizimari@hotmail.com) consists of new wooden chalets with their extensive veranda overlooking the sea: a personal little slice of paradise. A large mucumbli tree provided the name, sunbirds and weavers flit about, bamboo loungers and a hammock invite you to dive into true leve-leve relaxation, and the beach of dark sand is a 10-minute walk away. The water here is not crystal-clear but still offers plenty of interest for snorkellers. There’s hot water and comfortable beds, local materials and crafts, and you’ll discover unexpected design touches. Owners Tiziano and Mari Pisoni came to the island 20 years ago to work for an agricultural NGO, and the food they serve here is just what you’d expect from Italians passionate about good home-cooking and local ingredients.

Relax in these new wooden chalets with their extensive veranda overlooking the sea: a personal little slice of paradise.

Vegetarians are well served with carozeiro pesto, and in season you could ask for a safú risotto, or a mango risotto. Non-residents can book for lunch or dinner (€10–15). Meals are quite filling (pasta followed by main dish & a chocolate cake), so take your time: no-one will rush you. The banana seca you see in the solar driers is excellent and, at 25,000$, possibly the cheapest on the island. The garden is full of surprises, and Tiziano might bring his pet civet, Lagaia, over from town. Tiziano is a keen cyclist, involved with the annual bike race Volta do Cacau around the island, and has bikes for guests to use. In the future these will be available to non-residents too. The owners can also organise hikes and boat trips.

Mucumbli is a handy base for climbing the Pico and other excursions, such as the Volta a ilha. The road up here is scheduled for tarmacking by 2015. Last, but not least, another really nice thing about this place: the staff are clearly happy and are treated well, something that’s often missing in other places.

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