TO STAY AND EAT: Chitimba Camp is one of the only real camps for a stop on the road between the middle and north of Lake Malawi. It’s positioned slightly back from the lake and has a grass camping area as well as basic huts for rent. The bar and restaurant areas are well run and the food is good and you can pick up very slow or non-existent wifi for a fee. From Chitimba, you can do day trips out to see local crafts, waterfalls and hike up to Livingstonia. Definitely worth the stay!
TO DO: Hike from Chitimba Camp up to Livingstonia. Despite my ordeal getting down from the mountain, it really is worth the trek up and back down again. I would stay over for a night or two, to explore Livingstonia and visit the local waterfalls. In my opinion, one day is enough at the top, two if you want to completely relax.
TO STAY AND EAT: Lukwe Eco Camp – perched on the edge of an escarpment looking down over the lake, Lukwe Eco Camp is a great option for anyone wanting to see Livingstonia. For peace, serenity, compost toilets, simple grass huts and the most incredible views, Lukwe is my choice. There is another camp nearby which is equally popular, called Mushroom Farm.
TO STAY AND EAT: Moyoka Bay is a beautifully positioned accommodation has grass huts perched on a rocky outcrop just out of town. The bar and restaurant serve good food and free wifi but you’re competing with everyone else for bandwidth so it can be slow or non-existent. The waters are crystal clear and you will often find small beach areas between the huts for swimming and snorkelling. There is no camping here and no place to open up a roof top tent either, so huts are the way forward. I might be mistaken but I don’t think there are any camping options in Nkhata Bay at all. I’d highly recommend this spot for the views and the ability to step out from hut to lake in three steps.
TO STAY: If you’re looking for a place to open up your tent on the beach and have the waters lapping (just about) at your feet, then somewhere like Chintheche Inn or Kande Beach are great options. I chose Chintheche Inn as Kande Beach is used more for the overlanding trucks stopovers and is full of vibe. Chintheche, although expensive at US$15/night, is far more peaceful and quiet. The camping area is set on beautiful green lawns and there is a well maintained pool for swimming if you don’t feel like taking a dip in the lake. This cabana style inn is used by Wilderness Safaris so lovely rooms are available for rent if you feel like a night of normality. Chintheche has a restaurant and bar that serves good food. There was free wifi in the camping area. This was one of my favourite camping spots and I ended up staying 3 days more than intended.
TO STAY: Sanctuary Lodge – advertised as a luxury spa-like retreat, the Sanctuary Lodge itself sits in my mediocre category. There is a wonderful camping area not far from the Lodge, set under magnificent trees and has a decent ablutions block. I was the only camper during my stay, and whilst I had no reason to feel unsafe, the camping area is surrounded by forest and the walk between the Lodge and camping area at night is a bit of a trek through the darkness (recommend that you take one of the security guards with you). There is a pool at the Lodge and the restaurant is very average but there is free wifi. I did visit Barefoot Camp outside of Lilongwe and that seemed a little disorganised and didn’t have wifi, the camping area was lovely and green but there is no pool and they weren’t serving meals at the restaurant, which meant going all the way back into Liliongwe for groceries for dinner (which is why I ended up simply staying at the Sanctuary Lodge).
CENTRAL TO SOUTHERN LAKE
TO DO: Snorkeling and Diving Lake Malawi – The south and middle sections of the lake are best for snorkeling and the warm crystal clear waters make this an extremely pleasant past time. The north of the lake is full of silt and there is very little to see.
I used Aritel. The coverage in cities is fine but the moment you’re out in the middle of nowhere, reception is zero.