Combinations with South
It’s easy to combine a safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park (see pages 142–147), with a relaxing beach break beside Lake Malawi. Flying from the Luangwa’s Mfuwe airport to Lilongwe takes around an hour. Call us so that we can explain the options to you, and help you plan your trip.
Likoma Island is the gateway to a unique Lake Malawi experience: a chance to explore the pristine, Mozambican shoreline and discover the lake as it once was, surrounded by bush and untouched beaches. On one of the finest sits Nkwichi Lodge. Until now, Nkwichi has been most easily reached by boat from Likoma; hence we’ve included it here, under our ‘Malawi’ pages. However, there is now an access route to/from mainland Mozambique.
Nkwichi Lodge has six massive thatched chalets – plus two private houses designed for families or groups travelling together. All of these are tucked away amongst the trees, overlooking the lake. Each has a four- poster bed made from local tree trunks, and an en-suite open-air bathroom, with hot and cold running water, built amongst the rocks. The lodge does have a lounge and raised dining area, but it’s very relaxed and informal, so most meals are eaten outside, on the beach or the wooden deck. There’s sometimes a slight feeling of Robinson Crusoe about the place!
Activities include snorkelling, kayaking, walking, birdwatching, picnics and visits to nearby villages – although relaxation is also taken seriously here! This beach is the finest on the lakeshore: squeaky-white sand sprinkled at the edges with perfectly formed golden pebbles. Overnight camping trips can be arranged as part of walking trips in the reserve, as can excursions on a
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Kayaks beside the bridge at Mumbo Island
traditional dhow to explore the lake. For something a bit different, sleep in one of Nkwichi’s ‘star beds’, set up on a nearby rocky island or beach.
The Manda Wilderness Community Trust is responsible for many fascinating projects that can be visited – including construction schemes for new schools, a maize mill, a maternity clinic, various cultural events and a project to improve farming skills.
A very original way to visit the lake is with Kayak Africa, who have two island camps, Mumbo and Domwe. These are within Lake Malawi National Park, and can be reached either by kayak (two or three hours’ paddle), or by a slow one-hour motorboat trip from Cape Maclear.
Mumbo Island is the smaller of the two islands. It has five very comfortable en- suite tents on wooden platforms, each with its own private deck and hammock, offering lovely views over the clear waters. In addition, there’s a twin-tented family unit tucked into the forest, off the main beach. The food here is fairly simple, wholesome fare – and the island has a well-stocked bar. The lodge tries hard to minimise its impact on the environment by using dry composting toilets, solar water heaters and paraffin lamps. At Mumbo, you can simply relax or choose to be active, by paddling yourself around the island, following one of the short marked hiking trails, or going birdwatching or fishing. Snorkelling equipment is kept on the island, whilst diving can be arranged through the lodge with a dive centre on the mainland.
On the lake’s western shore, Domwe Island has three large tents and two camping sites. This island caters mainly for those who arrive with their own camping kit, food and supplies.
The beach at Nkwichi Lodge
See www.expertafrica.com for our trips in detail with prices in different currencies