Mumbo Island: Malawi’s Rustic Paradise

Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi

Waking up to the gentle crashing of waves, birds chirping & bugs humming as the wind rustles through trees and fallen leaves. The smell of freshly brewed Mzuzu coffee lures you out of your quaint reed chalet to a private balcony overlooking an exquisite array of turquoise. You reach for a freshly baked heart-shaped cookie and fall back into your hammock, without a care in the world. Tranquility at its best.

hammock, mumbo island

That’s not the typical imagery associated with the thought of a morning in Africa. Yet Mumbo Island boasts scenery just as exotic as that of an Island in the Caribbean or Southeast-Asia. Perhaps growing up in Botswana set my expectations of lakes as muddy croc-infested waters, but Lake Malawi is nothing alike. Being the third largest lake in Africa and ninth in the world, it’s more like an ocean. Cape Maclear, the mainland village where you board your boat transfer, even found its way onto CNN’s top 100 beaches in the world. The secluded main beach of Mumbo could take its place, but is still somewhat undiscovered in the travel industry: even more reason to visit before the secret is out!

Malawian Style organized our stay and the team ensured we made the most of our short visit. Although it doesn’t take long to explore the 1km radius; kayaking, snorkeling & hiking give you unique perspectives, with a surprise around every boulder. Crystal-clear shallows are a Cichlid aquarium, the fish species endemic to Malawi, attracting divers from around the world. If you’re lucky you might see a Spotted-necked Otter, although more likely to come across Monitor Lizards (especially in mating season) and an abundance of birdlife including more fish-eagles than I’ve ever seen!

Sundowner Spot, mumbo island

This is the perfect escape for photographers to capture raw beauty: no filter needed! Highlights include: floating sundowners as you enjoy sunset from your kayak with ice cold Savanna cider; Malawi G&T’s with a picnic on Pod Rock; ‘hammock and chill’ sessions on your private balcony watching Fish-Eagles in flight; reading that book you’ve been ‘too busy’ to pick up while relaxing on deck chairs with a cocktail.

The best part is being able to enjoy it all without wading through the crowds. With only a handful of chalets, you’re not in your neighbor’s space and there’s no need to fight for the front row. The set-up is also completely sustainable and solar, making Mumbo an authentic Eco-friendly destination (and not one of those which slap up the Eco tag as a marketing ploy). Leave your phone and laptop behind, let your hair down and switch off from ‘the real world’ for a moment.

mumbo chalet

Keen to experience this magical Island paradise for yourself? Contact the Malawian Style team to organize your holiday, making the most of Malawi with a tailored itinerary. Add in at least 2 nights on Mumbo to tickoff visiting UNESCO World Heritage Site Lake Malawi National Park – first freshwater NP in the world!

Pod Rock, Mumbo Island