Guludo Beach Lodge snapped up the 2010 Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Award in the category of “Poverty Relief.” With the help of UK-based Kilburn & Nightingale Architects, owners Amy and Neal Carter-James have built a stylish lodge that's more than just a pretty place.
It’s about a four-hour drive from Pemba (the nearest airport) on the northern coast of Mozambique to Guludo, and when I arrive in the mid-afternoon, it’s obnoxiously hot. The humidity is not helping me maintain my poise.
Thankfully, my private chalet, or banda – a whitewashed half-moon enclosure facing the sea – is a cool and spacious sanctuary. There’s no electricity at the lodge. In other words, no air-conditioning. Using only local materials, and some thoughtful design techniques, the breeze from the sea flows unobstructed through the fishing-basket weave windows and bamboo doorframe to cool the interior.
These passive methods of cooling, used to best advantage in the architectural form, are the type of innovative thinking that earned Cullum & Nightingale the BCCB British International Expertise Award in architectural design in 2005.
The high A-frame roof covered with makuti (cocunut palm fronds), for example, has been extended at the front of the chalet to create a large shaded porch area. And a hammock has been strung up, making the porch the most perfect place to lie and listen to the waves.
The real value of this type of roof construction can truly be appreciated in the morning. In the middle of a Mozambican summer the sun rises early and heats up quickly. Even though the banda is east-facing, the temperature outside is barely noticeable. This suits me perfectly as I am never in a hurry to get out of bed – especially when on holiday.
A trip worth doing
There’s plenty to do, or not do, at Guludo depending on the type of break you have in mind. I’m content to sidle down to the beach with a book and take my pleasure in reading. Although, a day trip to Ibo Island is well-worth doing. Now an architectural relic, the island was once-upon-a-time a major trading post for the Arabs and later the Portuguese. The lodge also offers picnics on Rolas Island or scuba-diving trips for the more adventurous visitor.
During my stay I have the opportunity to attend an HIV-awareness play being performed in one of the nearby villages by a local drama group. When Guludo Lodge was established in 2005 it was with the intention that the lodge should be part of a larger model that works towards alleviating poverty and improving the welfare of the local communities. The Nema Foundation, which is partly funded by the lodge, was established to tackle the task in consultation with the 16 local communities.
The theatre group is just one of Nema’s initiatives. Also worthy of mention are the 8 000 mosquito nets that have been handed out to mothers with children under five years old, the 30 water-points that have been established or rehabilitated bringing safe drinking water to 15 000 people and the school-feeding programme that feeds over 800 children per day.
My dollar has made a difference. Now that’s something I’m happy to ponder, perched on my compost toilet gazing out at the sparkling blue Indian Ocean.
Article by Nicole McCreedy
VISI - Decor, Design & Architecture