Malawi : Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi is the third largest fresh water lake in Africa and dominates the small country. It has the biggest variety of freshwater fish in the world, including some of the rarest, and it is also home to different varieties of eagle and kingfisher as well as other birdlife. With clear waters, huge sandy beaches and remote islands it's a match to the Indian Ocean, and is one of the most beautiful spots on the continent. There are a number of excellent hotels and lodges scattered around the southern end of the lake which offer sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkelling, as well as the opportunity to get away from it all.
Danforth Lodge is a superbly owner-run and colourful guest lodge on the southern shore of Lake Malawi at Cape Maclear. There are eight spacious, en-suite family rooms, tastefully decorated in cool, nautical colours and all opening onto a large patio. The garden leads down to a clean, sandy beach and crystal clear water, and there is a small swimming pool and plenty of watersports on offer including snorkelling, PADI diving and chartering the lodge’s luxury yacht Mufasa, by day or overnight. It is a great lodge with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
“A lovely place to stay right on the lake and a nice village to walk through. Charming hosts and a lovely catamaran.”
James and Fiona, Buchlyvie
Pumulani is a very stylish luxury beach lodge on the west side of the Cape Maclear peninsular on the southern shores of Lake Malawi. The only luxury lodge in the world heritage site of Lake Malawi National Park and one of the finest lodges in Malawi, it has 10 chic villas strung along the hillside overlooking the breathtaking expanse of lake. Each villa has a large bedroom, a spacious living area and a private deck, while the very comfortable public areas lead out onto terraces which include a lovely infinity pool. With clean lines and contemporay comforts, it is for those who enjoy a more modern boutique hotel feel. The lodge is very well run, and is a wonderful place to enjoy watersports and relaxation on small private beach or by the pool. Activities include diving, snorkelling, sailing, waterskiing, kayaking, village and nature walks.
Kaya Mawa is a stunning luxury lodge on Likoma Island, just a couple of miles off the Mozambique coast. The name means 'maybe tomorrow', which is the perfect name for such a relaxing and laid-back place. The lodge is beautifully thought out and imaginatively constructed, with seven bedrooms and four private houses all built of local stone and thatch. The lake's massive boulders are incorporated into the various bedrooms and their en-suite bathrooms, some of which all have large sunken baths. There are romantic rooms for honeymooners and also two family houses, all uniquely and beautifully styled. All the furnishings are made locally at Katundu Textiles on Likoma Island. The main bar and restaurant is on several levels, and the bar has fantastic sunset views. Activities include snorkelling, kayaking, sailing, water-skiing and boat trips. You can also go for walks across the island, see some of day-to-day local life, and visit the amazing cathedral built in 1903 - an early morning rise on a Sunday to catch the 8am service, or part of it, is a must for anyone staying on Likoma. You can hear beautiful singing in any African church but the acoustics in the cathedral, which is the size of Winchester Cathedral, are incredible.
Kayak Africa’s Mumbo Island Camp is a rustic yet very comfortable tented camp off the Cape Maclear Peninsula, a wonderful island paradise where you can enjoy the beauty of the lake and its surroundings in peace and quiet, dipping you toe in for the odd swim or enjoying some more active sea kayaking, snorkelling or scuba diving. You reach the island by motorboat or more peacefully by kayak, which only enhances the sense of getting away from it all. The emphasis is on being eco-friendly and respecting the natural surroundings, built entirely from natural materials and with eco-loos and no electricity. The camp sleeps up to just 14 guests, with the majority of the accommodation on a rocky outcrop reached by a pontoon bridge from the main beach and dining area. The showers and loos are shared but don’t let this put you off. It’s a small price to pay for this slice of paradise. Kayak Africa has another simpler island camp, Domwe Island Camp, which is more rustic and has just three safari tents and a self-catering kitchen.
Club Makokola is a 66-room thatched beach resort built beside a 600 metre-long golden beach on Lake Malawi's southern shores. The thatched rondavel-style rooms are locally decorated and spread around extensive tropical gardens. It’s a fun, lively place to stay with a variety of watersports on offer including sailing, water-skiing, parasailing and scuba diving. As well as two swimming pools, there are also squash and tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course.
The Livingstonia Beach Hotel is small resort in a very pretty bay near to Salima on Lake Malawi. It was the first hotel on the lake and is a sweet old colonial place with a lovely beach and all the watersports. It is now owned by Meridian hotels and, while it’s run very well, it lacks a bit of personality. The food is simple but quite good and the rooms are clean. It's a very good place to have a night or two when you arrive into Lilongwe and to get over your flight as it's not too long a journey from the airport and it is a lovely old hotel.
Set on an unspoilt island Blue Zebra is the ultimate paradise getaway. With a mixture of spacious chalets and tents set amongst the spectacular surroundings of Lake Malawi you can spend your days relaxing on the beach, snorkelling to see the exotic and colourful endemic fish, exploring the surrounding wilderness either by foot or by kayak and spotting the prolific birdlife. It is the perfect place to enjoy a beach getaway in what is considered the most beautiful Lake in the Africa. A true wilderness experience with all the modern luxuries that promise a comfortable and unforgettable stay.