We arrived in Cape Maclear very late at night, very tired and a bit lost.
We came accross Malambe and was welcomed by the very friendly owner Dawn even though the security guard had gone and woken her up to check us in - we booked into a beach hut ( we were asked if we would like two single beds or a double bed), were given two bottles of water and a couple of mosquito coils for the night. We said our goodnights and she promised to show us around in the morning when it was light.
We requested a beach hut with a double bed and it was great - all kitted out with solar lighting. We could hear the water but as it was dark could not see much.
On waking in the morning it was fantasic - I opened the door and looked straight out over the lake - it was a lovely surprise.
Off to the bar for some breakfast and more water and as promised we were met by Dawn who showed us around and provided information on what we could do for the days we were there.
Next Winston - our friendly barman took us skiing on their speedboat and snorkeling at Thumbe island. He reccommend a great place for lunch and we all went to a local restuarant Thomases which had great but simple food.
Sunsets there were divine - we sat outside of our beach hut to the sun going down, drink in hand and magnificent sunsets.
I would definaley reccommed this place as guests are made to feel at home.
The only issue that we came accross in Cape Maclear were the beach boys which seem to hassle one and all!
Comfortable beds with new matrasses.
Mosquito nets and coils in all beach huts.
Fully equipped kitchen for guests use.
Wifi internet access (although need your own PC)
Staff will pinpoint other places offering activities and give suggestions on places to see and places to eat at.
Chikondi Lodge is a cheap backpacker lodge on the south-western part of Cape Maclear. It's next door to the Chembe AIDS project. I was not there, but Chikonde Lodge is supposed to be a good alternative for backpackers. Maybe a good choice if you are a caring person and want to to something for the orphans at the AIDS project?
I think the place was a bit too far away from the center of the beach.
GAIA-HOUSE, Backpackers Lodge & Beach Restaurant is another good backpacker lodge in Cape Maclear with single, double or for all the familly, to accomodate up to 30 people and camping facilities.
Gecko Lodge is the place for young backpackers. The place is cool and noisy. I was sleeping here one night in a dorm with 10 other people and moved out to Fat Monkeys the day after because the lodge was fully booked. The price level was slightly higher than Fat Monkeys. The rooms and the area are not too spacious here. And the locals have their bamboo huts right into the place where the tourists stay. But it's not a problem for the tourists, rather than the locals. (see another tip for noise from Gecko Lodge).
The restaurant and eating area in Gecko Lodge are one of the best in Cape Maclear. The food taste good, but is a bit expensive for a "backpacker budget". The bar at Gecko Lodge rocks the night in Cape Maclear. Disco "PA-system" play loud music until 3 AM in the week-ends.
Fat Monkeys Lodge is in my opinion the best choice for mid-budget to low-budget travellers. I also stayed at Gecko Lodge and checked out other places like Gaia, Thomasses and the expensive Cape Mac Lodge.
The area of Fat Monkeys Lodge is spacious compared to Gecko Lodge, which is the second-best choice for accomodation. Fat Monkeys Lodge have some large family bungalows for 7500 MKW a night, and cheaper, smaller rooms and dorms. You have also the possibility to stay in a tent on their camping area. Overland trucks stays here. Fat Monkeys Lodge is more quiet than Gecko Lodge.
The rooms were clean, and the staff were friendly. The laundry is fast and done by washing machines.
The restaurant inside the area was driven by some locals who had their own business. The food could have been cheaper. Although the eating area and bar in front of the shore line was very nice. The sunset view is the best I have seen. (see other tip).
Cape Mac Lodge is a nice, but a more expensive hotel than average. The location is right on the beach. But the area of the beach is abandoned and completely dark in the nights. Looks like a private beach with nothing in it.
This hotel is a good choice if you are looking for a quiet place. The hotel has a nice french restaurant, called "Froggies".
I just red the information about Chembe aids project and was so mad!!!
i was a volunteer at the place on 2004 and been with Irit when she left.
Irit left because the Gaya hotel mangier stop his contract with her after getting money from different people (they pay more...)
irit left with no place lo stay!!! she had no money fro her self because she gave every thing she had for the people!!!
she left the village to 5 of her workers and left to her country for a month , when she came back she found out that her workers steal every thing she had : all the beds , books, money ...
she gave her life for this people , save so many life's and work all day with her hart!!!!
people can talk , but i was there and i was the one how told her that it is the time to take care of her self and she did.
i Kipp in touch with her , after Malawi she left to help people in Sri Lanka after the tsunami and this days she is working with the Sudan Refugee at Israel.
this girl is an angel!!!!
Chembe AID PROJECT
The besp Project i sow!!!
If you need a luxurious up market place and you can afford it: this is the place to be! Everything you desire can be found here!
Chikonde Lodge is part of the Chembe Aids Project. There are 7 small double rooms and a cramped dorm. The rooms are located around a nice courtyard. The shower and toilets were one of the cleanest in Malawi. Double rooms go for 5 US $, dorm beds are 2,50 US $ and a bit over priced.
Emanuel`s is one of the older places in Chembe Village. There are basic rooms for 3 US $ with common shower and toilet. Its possible to pitch up a tent. Emanuel is a very friendly and helpful man. There is a bar and a restaurant but it can happen for a couple of day that there will be no food!
Fat Monkey is a very popular place amongst travellers. Its located at the northern end of the village. Prices are about the same than everywhere in Chembe. Rooms are about 5 US $.
There is also a beach bar and a restaurant.
The name was changed into "Top Sands Resthouse", because now there is a restaurant with noisy stereos blasting Raggae songs all day long! Its simular than the "Stevens" but not that close to the lake.
Clean, nice place with very friendly staff!
"The Stevens" Guesthouse was the first place to stay in Chembe. It´s run by the two Stevens brothers Ernest & George, who look like twins.
Most of the rooms have a shower and a toilet. There are a few rooms facing the lake, but most of them don´t. (If you want to stay longer its worth checking with the house boy, to give you one of that rooms as soon as one will be available again. Give a tip to "Cruiser" and he will take care about you!)
There are also some places to pitch up a tent. At the beach bar are drinks and in the restaurant are meals available. Expect to wait a little while. Doubles s/c with nets are 3.60 US $
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