The best way, to my opinion, is to rent a house near Lake Malawi, and make trips from there every day.
We rented a house near Palm Beach at the south side of the Lake.
It was a spacious house with 7 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.
These houses are not posted in magazines or on the internet.
You have to rent them thru the grapevine circuit.
As we stayed with people who live in the country, they know where the good bargains can be done .
So ask the people when you are around and they'll tell you.
Of course they will add a little commission for their efforts !!!! What efforts?????
And, the house comes with a swimming pool and a great cook. We had 3 meals a day, prepared by this great person.
This hotel belongs to the Meridien group and is called "Le meridien Zomba).
It must have been a very nice hotel in the early days, when is was built. Now a days, it still has the looks of a great hotel, but , as often in Africa, the maintenance is not done very well, it could use some paint and lots of repairs everywhere. It is rather expensive and you need a 4x4 to get there.(in the raine season).
It is close to the Zomba top and from the outside terrace you have, when the weather allows it, a great view on Zomba.
Try the hot chocolate. Made with real chocolate and not expensive.
We stayed with some friends which gives you the opportunity, to participate in the daily lifes of the locals.
But there are a lot of possibilities of accomodation. Around Lake Malawi you will find lots lodges.
In the south Sun and Sand , near Palm Beach is of a good standard.
To visit the Liwonde National Park we stayed just south of the park at the westbank of the Shire River near the village Liwonde in the Kudya Discovery Lodge.
The lodge is a 20 minutes walk from the Liwonde barrage.
The rooms are good value. There is a nice bar-restaurant with good views at the Shire River and the hippo's around.
Boattrips at the Shire River to the Liwonde National Park.
When you go to your room, you have to be aware of the hippo's, they are all around.
During our stay there was a young one in the hotel garden, just before attacked and wounded by a crocodile.
Upon arrival here and after getting a key to my hut a women came and asked me if i wanted my clothes washed and if i wanted any ganga i said thanx on both accounts but just got my clothes washed boy did they need it i was greatful handwashed and folded for a couple of bucks while that was happening i was sipping on cocktails at the bar and talking to locals,they have good entertainment of a night here .The huts are very cosy with mossienets theres no phones here so i cant leave you a number but everythings easy here, it was around 10$u.s.they serve great food here aswell, theres also camping grounds if you wish to pitch a tent for a few dollars..
great views of the lake, not far to town,excellent meals and cocktails :)
This gentleman, is THE chef of the house.
He has one guy to help him out, and he prepares all the food. Food you have to bring yourself.
Toi my opinion it was better than a 5 star restaurant.
This guy was a real magician.
We stayed a few days in the Golden Sands Rest Camp run by the parc department.
We slept in lovely roundavels (round African huts) right on the beach.
There are central showers and toilets. After nine there is no electricity, so bring you torch.
There is a bar and kitchen. They can prepare you a meal or you can cook yourself.
We went also to the nearby crowded Stevens Resthouse , a very popular back packers place at the beach, to have dinner and a drink.
Wonderful views and sunsets.
Very easygoing place.
Monkeys jumping on the roofs of the roundavels in the early morning.
There are lots of beautiful camping sites along Lake Malawi. We spent five nights in two different ones, Steps Campsite in the southern end and Chitombi Beach in the northern. We were literally camping on the beach! Beaches were lovely and the water clean and refreshing, with no dangerous animals to be afraid of. This little guy visited us often in the first camp.
The first night I woke up of a strange noice, it took me a while to realize it was raining. As usual we had left the covers of the top "windows" of the tent open to let the air in and to be able to admire the stars above. I ran outside to close the covers, but the tent was already flooded! And as we were tenting on the beach, it was already full of sand. So what do you do in the middle of the night when your tent is full of water and wet sand? The simple answer is: Nothing. You just say the old indian serenity prayer:
"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
The ground was slightly tilted, thus there was a small corner a little less wet than the rest. I just curled up in that corner and slept through the rest of the night.
The second night we chose to sleep inside Froggy, since all our stuff was still wet.Not that it was much better, poor Froggy was full of water, too.
There were fences around the camp sites, the locals were not allowed in. But my son got befriended with some kids of his own age and a little older on the beach of the second camp, and helped them selling home made souvernirs to our group and other camping guests. He was a good salesman indeed, and as a reward he was given necklaces enough to give away to all his friends back home :-)
The resort was located right on the beach and consisted of a main restaurant area as well as a choice of single huts (rondavels) or small multi-roomed dwellings. Lake Malawi is so big that it is like a small sea, with cool water and big waves, when the wind is blowing. The beach was bounded on each end by rocky outcrops making for a secluded relaxation area. Photo of Torben and I taken in front of our hut!
A fantastic sandy beach, cool water and great meals available in their restaurant.
This photo shows the more extensive type of accommodations available, which I used the second time around when Sue and I stayed at the resort with our two children. These buildings had two bedrooms and a nice bathroom as well as a living area. As with the huts, you could step off the veranda and head straight into the Lake! It was great being able to sit out on our balcony in the evenings sipping wine as we watched the Lake sparkle in the moonlight. As mentioned in my Restaurant tip, the hotel provided a baby-sitter to look after the children while the adults began their evening restaurant meal at 7 PM (just after it gets dark, this close to the Equator).
This place, let me tell you I have seen Africa, I get in with the nuts and bolt, and turn up all the leaves... when you walk into a beach bar on the fresh water Lake Malawi, totally shagged from a straight 18 hrs non stop drive over night through the mountain ranges, sit at the bar down 2 beers almost fall off your bar stool and stagger back to camp...
Wake up in the morning to find your wallet is missing.... go to the same bar, see the same barman and tell him "I lost my wallet on the way home last night" and he smiles and say's no boss, you left it on the bar, and hands you back your wallet, complete with the 500 U$D you had in it.
Now that's a safe place to stay.
fantastic, that just caps it Malawi is wonderful, her people are wonderful.
As soon as you walk into Norman Carr Cottage you feel at home. Taffy and Jenny own and run Norman Carr and along with their fantastic Malawian staff they go out of the way to make your stay enjoyable. The rooms have huge double beds and the unique outside ensuite bathrooms make showering a totally new experience. I would highly recommend Norman Carr Cottage to anyone traveling with a young family or friends looking for a quiet weekend on Lake Malawi.
The beach restaurant. Eat your meals right on the beach and watch the stars coming out over Lake Malawi. The restaurant offers beautiful views over the lake and the homecooked food is simply delicious. Siestas can be spent lazing in the swinging chairs in the shade or soaking up the rays on the beach deck chairs.
In Malawi all kinds of accommodation can be found: There are some upmarket places that will empty your valet of more than 100 US $ a night and therefore offer some more convenience than in the cheaper places.
The cheaper places are usually ok and often nets are provided but you should not expect hot water and a large variety of food if they also have a restaurant attached. Therefore you only pay around 2 – 6 US $.
There are plenty of camp sites. In every national park is one and there are many at the lake. Usually they are safe but better watch your belongings a bit.
Great food, v cheap, great people, staying there for as long as possible seemed to be on everybody's agenda, good parties, good times
A great relaxed atmosphere right on the shores of Lake Malawi, this place is the best place to find good information from other travellers about the town and the guys working know their stuff. And if you don't like the vibe, Butterfly's right next door!
Instantly friendly atmosphere, Good food, good dvds, good stories, good jokes
Family-run, Swiss style dorm rooms out the back, 'Refreshing' showers, Good food, EXCELLENT house band ('The Souls of the Ghetto'), great people
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