São Tomé e Príncipe: Mucumbli – a perfect lodge

The Mucumbli Lodge, in Sao Tome is simply wonderful. Comfortable, friendly, well situated and totally relaxing. I loved it.

“The setting sun extinguished itself in the sparkling ocean …..”

One can read this sort of drivel in endless pieces about endless resorts, and completely lose sight of where a particular property lies, or how it can possibly be distinguished from another. In general, I like some resorts and dislike others, and even after forty years of wandering find it difficult to explain where the border line lies.

Mucumbli, however, not only lies firmly in the “like” column, I would go so far as to say that it is the most perfect resort that it has been my good fortune to visit.

Sao Tome
The Atlantic far below the Mucumbli Lodge

It is, improbably, in Sao Tome, a small and rarely pondered nation in the Atlantic Ocean, some 300 miles from the coast of Africa. The resort lies on the western coast, nestled one hundred metres above the sea in a rich and verdant forest.

A mile, perhaps two, from shore a dozen fishermen are out in their boats, behind us lie acres of trees; flowers are beginning to show, and the cacao fruit hangs in a multiplicity of colours. The sun shines.

The resort is both simple and luxurious; not the effervescent luxury of a Global Brand Resort, but the complete feeling of well-being that engulfs one when each detail has been addressed. There are five bungalows, with a total capacity of fourteen guests; interestingly, there are thirty-seven chairs on the terrace where one takes meals, and simply gazes at the horizon.

Sao Tome
A fisherman in the local waters

And what marvellous meals they are too; once again, not the finest haute cuisine of a five-star restaurant, but fresh and imaginatively prepared food made from the freshest of local produce; fine soups, wonderful fish, fresh salads, and an ample wine list.

Breakfast, included in the daily rate, is of fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, breads and cold meat with the finest Sao Tomean coffee.

Above all, the property exudes peace; the staff are friendly and efficient,

The daily rate of approximately €65 for a double room with breakfast is most eminently affordable.

Sao Tome is not terribly easy to get to but neither is it overly difficult. From North America one would fly to Lisbon, and then south on one of Air Portugal’s three weekly flights.

From Europe there are straightforward connections through the Portuguese capital, and combined with some day tours or a car rental, a week or ten days spent in this magical place will recharge the most depleted of batteries.