Conservation & Community
Our commitment and dedication to conservation and the community lies deep within the history of the property. Since establishing a tourism business here many years ago, our family goal has always been to make the local communities the major contributors and stakeholders of The Retreat. Over the years, we have strengthened our long term commitment to the community. We have witnessed and proudly enjoyed the results, as mothers and fathers have welcomed and shared their knowledge with their children, which have now become part of the team. More than 300 hundred families find sustainability from the Retreatís activities.
When building The Makokola Retreat we believed that rather than bringing in outside contractors with no benefit to the local community, we trained local villagers. Our thatches for the roofs are sourced from local women, who we established in their own business to supply us.
While designing the style we wanted for the Retreat, we trained some local villagers to create what we were looking for. We soon realized they were full of inspiration for different projects. We helped create a ladies embroidery group and fabric painting team. We encouraged smaller groups to work on wood crafts, woven items, and recycled glass artwork, amongst other little projects which provide employment for the locals. Many of the furnishings were handmade by the local community, and as you look around The Makokola Retreat, many of the things you will admire will have been made by small communities from across Malawi. Another important contribution is the Retreatís active support to the nearby Koche Clinic, where many of our members of staff and their families are assisted and treated in different ways.
We have chosen to put great effort in growing our own fresh products. With this practice, we have transmitted these techniques to locals who are now able to supply us with sustainable goods. When it comes to selecting our fish, we support only a few local trustworthy fishermen, who have worked with us for many years.
Gardening is an important task at the Retreat, and we follow environmentally friendly schemes. All the water used to maintain our beautiful gardens is taken from the lake and eventually given back to the lake. These gardens provide the habitat of many species of birds, squirrels and monkeys. Our use of environmentally friendly products is a must for their conservation.