One of Malawi’s brightest smiles belong to James Robert, a waiter at Pumulani on the southern shores of Lake Malawi.

Behind the smile is a story both him and Robin Pope Safaris are very proud of! Let’s meet the man behind the story. Some that have visited Pumulani might already know him, for his radiant smile, conspicuous laugh or possibly as the master of the traditional Malawian ‘Boa’ game.

Malawi Waves, Robin Pope Safaris, Pumulani, Malawi, Lake Malawi
© Robin Pope Safaris

Pumulani generously finances a multitude of secondary students who unfortunately, are unable to afford education. James, among only a handful of others, single-handedly passed each year from form one to four.

After four impressive years at Nhankwali Secondary School, James left his legacy there and was invited to train at Pumulani for six months. Gaining experience in all areas, including housekeeping, maintenance, guiding and kitchen, Management was extremely impressed by his skills as a general cleaner. In 2017, he officially joined the Pumulani team!

Just four weeks in, it was evident that James was a fast learner at Pumulani too. Throughout his short time in the Housekeeping Department he kept a close eye on the waiters. He envisioned himself to one day stand in their shoes.

Malawi Waves, Robin Pope Safaris, Pumulani, Malawi, Lake Malawi
© Robin Pope Safaris

For James, being a waiter at Pumulani has not only put a smile on his own face, but on the faces of many guests too. Interacting with guests and learning from them is what keeps him motivated to work hard. Learning is something guests also do from James. At Pumulani he’s known as the Boa Master. Something one must know about Boa is it involves a lot of thinking, similar to chess. A tip from James would be “count B, before you count A”. In other words, try to be one step ahead of the game and your opponent.

Outside his work environment, James is a single man who describes himself as a patriot. He loves everything around him in Malawi, both the good and the bad. Farming his staple food (‘maize’ aka corn), supporting the ‘Big Bullets’ football club from Blantyre and internationally Manchester United, it’s safe to say he’s a busy man after working hours.

The warm-hearted James aspires to become a business man in the near future. “I have to study”, says James firmly as he firmly believes this is the way to improve his nation. Creating a business will open job opportunities for the several people in his village; many have a variety of qualifications but struggle to become employed.

Malawi Waves, Robin Pope Safaris, Pumulani, Malawi, Lake Malawi
© Robin Pope Safaris

Lastly, James often advises guests to try ‘The Pumulani’ Cocktail, which he makes with passion, pride and;

  • 1 Shot of Malibu (25ml)
  • Ginger Ale (200ml)
  • Splash of Bitters

Hopefully you’ve had the privilege of tasting one or soon will when visiting Robin Pope Safaris at Pumulani in the near future.

Robin Pope Safaris



Phone: (Lilongwe) +265 993 504 600

(Lusaka) +260 957 090 441