Malawi 2011 - Southern Lakeshore Resorts

The landscape of Malawi is dominated by the Great Rift Valley of Eastern Africa and Lake Malawi is the most southerly and third largest of the great lakes in the Rift Valley. It's nearly 600km long and up to 100km wide. We visited 3 of the resorts along the southern end of the Lake.

Monkey Bay

As we drove down into the rift valley from the top of the escarpment we caught occasional glimpses of Lake Malawi in the distance. Our first stop was at Mufasa's Backpackers Lodge (S14 04.599 E34 55.604) in Monkey Bay where we camped just a few metres from the Lake for a couple of days.

It was noticeably warmer here especially in the evenings, as we were only 400m above sea level compared with our night at Dedza which was over 1000m higher.

Monkey Bay.

Cape Maclear

We then moved a short distance to Fat Monkeys Lodge (S14 01.448 E34 50.473) in Cape Maclear, once again right next to the Lake where we had some great sunsets as it's one of the few places alongside the Lake which faces West.

Wherever we stayed by the lake there were always local people nearby washing clothes, pots and themselves - usually using plenty of soap.

We also saw lots of boats going out fishing, mostly overnight - this boat is carrying 3 fishing canoes and pulling another one back to shore.

We hired a catamaran for a morning so that we could go snorkelling at a nearby island and had a great time watching lots of small colorful fishes in crystal clear water. When we lay still in the water the fishes came right up and started nibbling us!

On the way back to the campsite the skipper threw out some fish and a fish eagle soon appeared to grab it out of the water.

Cape Maclear (called Chembe by the locals) is a popular resort in the Lake Malawi National Park with a wide range of accommodation available in lodges dotted along the shoreline but there are no proper shops in the village whose main 'road' meanders alongside the lake for over a kilometre.

2 views of the main street in Chembe (Cape Maclear).

Senga Bay

After visiting Zomba, Mulanje and Majete we had a few more days by the Lake, this time at the Cool Runnings backpackers lodge (S13 43.845 E34 37.151) in Senga Bay with plenty of room for our vehicle under large shady trees.

There was an lounge and bar area with this lovely, quiet, secluded spot nearby which had very comfy chairs.

The day that we arrived the Lake was very calm. In the evening lots of fishing boats set off. However, overnight, the wind got up and when I went to see the sunrise I could see big waves and when the fishing boats returned they had problems getting back to shore. They had to unload the canoes that they were carrying which then had to paddle ashore - several of them capsized but everyone got safely to shore.

A beautiful calm lake with boats setting off to go fishing overnight.

The same view the following morning.

Dedza Pottery & Mphunzi Mountain.

Southern Lakeside - Monkey Bay, Cape Maclear & Senga Bay.

Zomba Plateau & Mulanje Massif.

Majete Wildlife Reserve.

Kasungu National Park.

Viphya Forest Reserve.

Nyika National Park & Vzawa Marsh Wildlife Reserve.

Northern Lakeside - Chintheche & Mkondowe.


Diary (Word document).

A fishing canoe with lanterns on the back for night fishing..

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