Mayoka Village, Nkhatabay 

Saturday morning on the cottage veranda with Carys, Violet and Isabel (Natalia is making the coffees). I think I’ve gone deaf as they aren’t talking. Peace and tranquility on a perfect day in Nkhatabay, watching the fishing boats launch and hearing the town slowly come to life.

Not to worry, as Natalia joins us, singing, and the bees start buzzing. Brave is smart as he’s still asleep in his cottage. But the rest of us are up and it’s early so the trick will be to not go to fast too early as we have the main event tonight: my official birthday.

‘Official’ because my actual birthday (8th year in my 40s) is Monday and tonight is the nearest Saturday. Same system as the Queen.  So tonight, the wheels are off.

Not that last night was tame one. In the afternoon we walked over the hill (with some grumbling from one of the ladies) along the beach to the Njaya Lodge where we stayed for our first visit to Nkhatabay. We wanted to find Sam, say hello to the lodge staff and show Violet and Isabel the lodge. I felt a little like we cheated on them by staying at Mayoka but we were on a tighter budget and this weekend’s agenda requires close promixity to town.

Sam was on his balcony and gave us a quick tour of the expansion at Njaya that he’s been helping project manage. They’ve built beachside cottages that have the same charm as villas in Santorini. This is the place for a romantic getaway.

On the way back I was able to arrange a quick soccer training school with some local children. I may have retired from the competitive game but silky skills remain as I ghosted past a 5-year and nutmegged his younger brother. The girls were impressed.

Now with Sam, the evening had started. Friday is BBQ buffet night at the Mayoka and we all ate  like kings. I hit a food coma and snuck off at 8pm for a quick nap. While I was gone a local celebrity, Michael Mountain, sang his signature song “How Big is the Lake?” Luckily, the girls captured on video. He needs some new backing singers.

I was gently woken by Natalia and marched downstairs to rejoin the party. After a few drinks and I was back. And the party rolled on to a local club called Bay View. That was a mad house then, at last, an exhausted Brave and Carys arrived (10.30pm). Fortuitous as retreat and recovery was the best option at that stage. We crammed into their car (after a quick beer with Brave) and we called it a night.

That was the warm-up act.


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