Best places to stay in Malawi
Safari and Wildlife
Kim Paffen Travel Specialist & Photo Safari Tour Guide
Safari and Wildlife
41 min

10 Best places to stay in Malawi: Safari Lodges & Hotels

41 min

Are you planning to visit The Warm Heart of Africa, and looking for the best accommodations in Malawi? Look no further! This is your guide to the best places to stay in Malawi, handpicked by me to give you the best possible experience.

Best accommodations and safari lodges in Malawi

With the majestic Lake Malawi, the captivating Liwonde National Park, the pristine Nyika Plateau, and the rugged landscapes of Majete Wildlife Reserve and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Malawi stands as one of the most inspiring and beautiful countries for a safari in Africa. Yet, Malawi is more than just a safari destination. It also offers enchanting tea estates, stunning mountain plateaus like the Zomba Plateau, rich cultural experiences, and beautiful places to stay.

Malawi isn't called 'The Warm Heart of Africa' for nothing and deserves to be explored. This hospitable safari country has also been ranked as the 8th safest country to visit in Africa for 2024 by the Institute of Economics and Peace in the Global Peace Index. Craft your Malawi itinerary with this curated list of the 10 best places to stay in Malawi:

Heuglin’s Lodge in Lilongwe

Heuglin's Guesthouse Lilongwe Malawi

Heuglin's Lodge in Lilongwe is a fully catered guest house with home-cooked meals in the residential suburbs of Lilongwe, an ideal place to stay for sightseeing in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city, and the perfect start for a safari in Malawi. Heuglin’s is only 5 minutes from the city center and 35 minutes from Lilongwe International Airport in Malawi.

The lodge, which is named after the Robin Chat that is often seen in their beautifully decorated garden, has plenty of birdlife and a large swimming pool. Heuglin’s Lodge is part of Central African Wilderness Safaris (CAWS) and has four spacious en-suite bedrooms with TV, a small fridge, and a coffee station.

affordable guesthouse in Liwonde Malawi

This hotel in Lilongwe was the perfect relaxing base for my first day in Malawi after a safari in Zambia. Offering a stable Wi-Fi connection, I could even make some calls through WhatsApp to catch up with some work. I loved their lounge area with views of the garden. The staff was extremely welcoming, and the friendly chef cooked us a 3-course dinner; a wonderful place to stay in Malawi.

Best place to stay in Lilongwe

In summary, I highly recommend Heuglin's Lodge and Guesthouse as one of the best places to stay in Lilongwe Malawi because of the good price/quality ratio with comfy beds, good food, and a well-maintained garden with a swimming pool close to the city center. So, looking for an affordable hotel to stay in Lilongwe? Look no further and check out Heuglin's Lodge.

Looking for a more luxury boutique hotel in Lilongwe? Have a look at Latitude 13 Degrees.

Tongole Wilderness Lodge in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Tongole Wilderness Lodge in Nkhotakota Malawi

Tongole Wilderness Retreat in Malawi is a luxury eco-lodge located deeper along the Bua River within the Miombo woodland of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, that comprises 4 luxurious thatched riverside suites and a family cottage.

Best safari lodge in Malawi's Nkhotakota Reserve

The suites are extremely spacious with a huge bath (with a view), a comfy bed, a perfect hot shower, and a wonderful private wooden deck with a table and chairs, overlooking the Bua River. Tongole Wilderness Lodge also has a swimming pool.

Swimming pool Tongole Lodge Nkhotakota Malawi

From Lilongwe, it will take you 4 to 5 hours by road to get to Tongole Wilderness Retreat, but it’s also possible to fly to the Nkhotakota airstrip only 27 minutes from Lilongwe.

Elephants at Tongole Safari Lodge

Elephants in Nkhotahota and Tongole Lodge Malawi

If you’re lucky, you can even enjoy elephants at Tongole Lodge passing by the river to drink, or some hippos wallowing in the river. If you don’t see them, you will hear them. Also, keep an eye out for crocodiles sunbathing on the rocks.

Wild Pigs at Tongole Lodge in Nkhotahota Malawi

Other animals you can spot near Tongole Wilderness Retreat in Malawi are baboons, warthogs, waterbuck, bushbuck, and in the evening even wild pigs!

Bohms Bee Eater Nkhotakota Malawi

There are also lots of bird species around Tongole safari lodge in Malawi, like kingfishers, Böhm's bee-eater, the red-billed hornbill, and the Fish Eagle.

Build with local natural materials

Tongole Wilderness Lodge in Nkhotakota Malawi

Tongole blends in perfectly with its natural surroundings and has some lovely local Malawian artworks to admire. I love that they built the lodge by using the natural resources of the environment.

Tongole Safari Lodge Malawi

Tongole Wilderness Lodge is the only luxury lodge within Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi and I highly recommend staying here when visiting this unspoiled wildlife area which has been partly managed by African Parks since 2015. In 2016, they carried out a huge translocation of 500 elephants and 2,000 game animals, which is great for the park’s development.

Malawi Tongole Wilderness Lodge Nkhotakota

Nkhotakota is the third-largest protected area in Malawi and also one of the least known, with very few tourists visiting. You still can’t compare this reserve with other wildlife reserves such as Liwonde National Park, but it’s a very rugged and scenic reserve with a varied landscape full of hills, valleys, and rivers.

Oryx at Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Malawi

BirdLife International has classified Nkhotakota as an Important Bird Area (IBA) with over 280 bird species recorded so far. The reserve is also the perfect dark sky reserve for stargazing and star photography.

Safari activities at Tongole Lodge

Safari Activities Tongole Lodge and Nkhotahota Reserve

The safari activities at Tongole have a low environmental impact, allowing you to enjoy the tranquil wilderness. Tongole Wilderness Lodge offers scenic walking safaris, varying from short strolls along the river to longer hikes within the Miombo woodland.

walking safari nkhotakota reserve malawi

Each sundowner is at a wonderful spot within the reserve, for example along the river, at a hide overlooking an area where sables come to visit or at a waterfall.

Sundowner Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Malawi

Apart from that, the reserve offers scenic game drives but because of the dense vegetation, it's harder to spot wildlife that hides within the forest.

Safari Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Malawi

The lodge offers Wi-Fi in the main area, but it’s not always stable.

Best place to stay for safari in Nkhotakota

In conclusion, Tongole Wilderness Lodge is one of the best luxury places to stay in Malawi for ethical eco-tourists who aren’t only visiting Africa to tick off the Big Five. If you book your stay at Tongole, you appreciate all aspects of the ecosystems that Nkhotakota and Tongole Wilderness Lodge in Malawi offer.

Looking for a safari in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve? SafariBookings offers several safari tours in Malawi that include Nkhotakota.

Bua River Lodge in Nkhotakota

Bua River Lodge Nkhotakota Malawi

Bua River Lodge in Malawi is a small, boutique eco-lodge offering secluded, thatch-covered safari tents on a full-board basis. Each tent provides maximum privacy, within the woodland, along the river, or on a small island accessible by a bridge. On your private deck, you can enjoy the pristine wilderness and the Bua River.

Bua Rive Lodge is one of the best places to stay in Nkhotakota Malawi

The thatched main lodge is located right on the banks of the river, featuring a restaurant, bar, lounge, and reception area. It has three main levels, as well as an upper viewing deck that provides amazing views of Namdinga Pool; a watering hole where animals come to drink. This mid-range safari lodge in Malawi is 100% solar-powered and uses fresh water from its borehole.

Bua River Lodge Nkhotakota Malawi

Bua River Lodge also supports the local communities outside the reserve, with most of the staff coming from surrounding villages. They also use local food and materials only. Apart from Tongole Wilderness Lodge, Bua River Lodge is one of the best hotels to stay in Malawi's Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.

Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde National Park

Mvuu Lodge best place to stay in Liwonde Malawi

Mvuu Lodge is along the Shire River in Liwonde National Park, overlooking the beautiful Namagogodo Lagoon. Mvuu Safari Lodge in Malawi has 5 tented chalets with private viewing decks of the lagoon and an extra outdoor shower for that adventurous "Africa feeling".

Mvuu Lodge best place to stay in Liwonde Malawi

Room view at Mvuu Lodge Liwonde Malawi

Mvuu means hippopotamus, referring to the many hippos that live in the Shire River and lagoon. You can view the hippos up close from the wooden hippo viewing lounge.

Hippo viewing deck Mvuu Wilderness Lodge Malawi

When arriving at Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde National Park by boat, a wooden pathway over the lagoon leads you to the swimming pool area with sun loungers surrounded by fever trees, a yoga area, the dining room, and the main lounge area.

Boat safari Mvuu Wilderness Lodge Liwonde

The location of Mvuu Lodge and Mvuu Camp is pretty picturesque and the views are fantastic. I also love the fact that it’s a family-owned lodge by Central African Wilderness Safaris.

Liwonde National Park Mvuu Wilderness Lodge Malawi

Mvuu offers Wi-Fi in the main (reception) area and has installed StarLink to stay connected while exploring Liwonde National Park.

Safari activities at Mvuu Wilderness Lodge

Safari activities at Mvuu Wilderness Lodge Malawi

Mvuu offers a lot of safari activities, like game drives, walking safaris, boat safaris, hide viewing, sundowner safaris, night safaris, and bush dining experiences.

Game Drive Liwonde National Park Malawi

Oryx at photography hide Liwonde NP Malawi

The wildlife viewing in Malawi's Liwonde National Park is pretty well along the riverside and the views are stunning.

If you visit Malawi, Liwonde National Park is a must-visit, managed by African Parks since 2015 and with Mvuu Lodge you can’t go wrong.

Find Safari Tours in Malawi that include Liwonde National Park.

Shire River Trail

Shire River Trail at Mvuu Liwonde National Park

We also went bush camping in Liwonde National Park for 1 night, where we walked from Mvuu Lodge through varied vegetation and landscapes to our tented camp.

Walking Safari in Liwonde National Park Malawi

Shire River Liwonde National Park Malawi

The tent set-up was pretty luxurious, with a bed and other furniture inside. The Shire River walking trail along the Shire River is a must-do for a more intimate bush feeling!

Bush camping with Central African Wilderness Safaris Malawi

Bush camping at Mvuu Lodge Liwonde Malawi

Experiencing Liwonde National Park on foot, you will also have an eye for the smaller things that are part of the ecosystem. A knowledgeable guide and ranger will accompany you.

Favorite safari lodge and place to stay in Malawi

Mvuu Safari Lodge is my favorite accommodation in Malawi

Mvuu Wilderness Lodge by Central African Wilderness Safaris is my favorite place to stay in Malawi and Liwonde National Park is one of my favorite (new) African parks. I love the various landscapes and you don't have to drive far or long to find animals as elephants are often seen within the property. Apart from that, we spotted lions within a 10-minute drive from the lodge.

elephants at Mvuu Lodge Malawi

Lions Liwonde NP Malawi

The wildlife sightings on the game drives and walking safaris are very good and the location of Mvuu Lodge and Mvuu Camp within Liwonde National Park is perfect.

I highly recommend adding Mvuu Lodge to your Malawi safari itinerary for a minimum of 3 nights to experience the best of all safari activities in Liwonde, including a sundowner boat safari on the Shire River where you can watch hippos, elephants, and many birds on the banks of the river while the sun is slowly setting.

Sunset Boat Safari Liwonde Malawi

I highly recommend opting for the Shire River Walking Trail if you have enough time to spend in Malawi's surprising Liwonde National Park.

Mkulumadzi Lodge in Majete Wildlife Reserve

Mkulumadzi Lodge is best place to stay in Majete Malawi

Mkulumadzi Lodge in Malawi by Robin Pope Safaris lies in a 7,000-hectare private concession on the banks of the Shire River in the heart of Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi. The safari lodge has 8 amazing and spacious chalets with private viewing decks facing the river, shaded by beautiful leadwood trees and wild mango trees.

Mkulumadzi Lodge by Robin Pope Malawi

Mkulumadzi Lodge is the best place to stay in Majete Malawi

You can either reach Majete Reserve in Malawi by car or fly into Majete Airstrip. You can only reach Mkulumadzi Lodge, by crossing the Mkulumadzi River over a 60–70 meter suspension bridge. This also means, the staff is carrying your luggage over the bridge to the lodge so don't pack too heavy  

Suspension bridge Mkulumadzi Lodge Malawi

Mkulumadzi Lodge in Majete by Robin Pope Safaris

I visited the lodge in early October, during the hottest month of the year. It’s a great time for wildlife viewing but be prepared for high temperatures between 40 and 45 degrees. Luckily, the lodge has an outdoor swimming pool to cool off in between game drives.

Pool Mkulumadzi Lodge Malawi

Safari activities at Mkulumadzi

Apart from game drives in Majete Wildlife Reserve, you can also spend time at two of the (photography) hides in Majete where animals like impala, waterbuck, nyalas, warthogs, and baboons come to drink.

Game drive Majete Wildlife Reserve Malawi

If you spend enough time at the water holes and luck is on your side, you might be able to see all the Big Five animals passing by to drink.

Safari activities Mkulumadzi Lodge Majete

The vegetation in Majete Wildlife Reserve Malawi is mainly Miombo Woodland, with granite-topped hills and lush riverine forests. The vegetation is pretty thick, so it can sometimes be a challenge to spot wildlife.

Elephant in Majete Wildlife Reserve Malawi

Unlike Mvuu Lodge or Kuthenga Camp in Liwonde National Park, Majete doesn’t offer boat safaris. It’s the same river that floats in Liwonde, but the Shire River in Majete is more rough and rocky with no possibilities for boat safaris.

Shire River Majete Wildlife Reserve Malawi

The park used to offer game walks as well, but the walking safaris are on hold until the trained African Park rangers can lead these walks together with a guide from the lodge. This means that Majete Game Reserve currently only offers safari game drives to spot wildlife in Majete, including a night game drive. On our night drive, we had a leopard sighting and my first-ever sighting of a Mozambique Spitting Cobra.

Leopard Majete Wildlife Reserve Malawi

Mozambique spitting Cobra in Majete Wildlife Reserve Malawi

SafariBookings offers several safari tours to Malawi that include Majete Wildlife Reserve.

Wonderful food

Good food at Mkulumadzi Lodge Malawi

Mkulumadzi Safari Lodge in Malawi serves a delicious lunch and dinner in the main area, with views of the Shire River, and depending on how many days you stay, they also tend to set up a dining experience under the stars right at the river which is cooler because of the small breeze.

Mkulumadzi Lodge Dining Experience in malawi

Breakfast Mkulumadzi Lodge Malawi

In the morning, they serve breakfast at the boma on the banks of the river with a small fire; a great way to start your day!

Amazing view of the Shire River

Mkulumadzi Lodge has the best view in Majete Reserve Malawi

Their best feature is the location, with excellent views of the Shire River where you can find hippos or crocodiles bathing in the sun.

Hippos in the Shire River in Majete Reserve Malawi

The lodge also offers a star bed experience that could easily be one of my favorite experiences at this lodge, but I haven’t spent a night on their star bed. According to other guests, the views and sunrise are magnificent. You can also opt for a cultural village visit to learn more about the Malawi culture and their experience of living alongside a wildlife reserve.

Best place to stay in Malawi's Majete Reserve

In summary, Mkulumadzi Safari Lodge by Robin Pope Safaris is one of the best places to stay in Malawi and the best place to stay in Majete Wildlife Reserve for many reasons: the staff is extremely friendly, the food is delicious, and the rooms are very spacious with a private verandah overlooking the river. The views of the Mkulumadzi River are simply magical. It's one of those hotels in Malawi where you could sit on your patio or the main deck all day, enjoying the views. Even from the pool you have these wonderful river views. So looking for a place to stay for safari in Majete? Check out Mkulumadzi Lodge.

Game Haven Lodge in Chimwenya Game Park

Game Haven Lodge in Chimenya Game Reserve

Game Haven Lodge lies within Chimwenya Game Park which is part of the Shire Highlands. The lodge is only 25 km from Blantyre and has a lot of locals visiting the lodge and the game park.

Sunset Chimwenya Game Park Malawi

Chimwenya Game Park in Malawi has 8 species of wildlife within its 500-acre reserve, including wildebeest, waterbuck, zebra, duiker, oryx, eland, and giraffe. Some of Malawi’s most popular birds are along the Chimwenya stream within the park.

Things to do at Game Haven Lodge Malawi

Eland on game drive in Chimwenya Game Park Malawi

Game Haven Lodge offers guided walks, mountain biking, self-drives, golf, and lake visits with braai facilities. There are at least 15 different mountain bike trails through the park, and the golf course has 9 holes. If you’re not into active things, you can relax at their swimming pool, where you will most likely find locals with kids cooling off as well.

Swimming Pool Game Haven Lodge Malawi

When you opt for a short 1.5-hour game drive through the reserve, you can spot all the animal species in one game drive.

Wildebeest Game Haven Lodge Malawi

I must be honest, if you are a well-traveled safari enthusiast, and you visited parks like Liwonde, South Luangwa, Maasai Mara or for example Serengeti or Kruger National Park, then this reserve might not meet your expectations. However, the lodge does a great job of conserving a small piece of nature and is conveniently located in the Thyolo Tea Estate area. So why not enjoy the animals in this reserve and the lovely views!

Restaurant Game Haven Lodge Malawi

In the evening, you can enjoy a meal at the Ambrosia restaurant of this hotel or ask the staff to bring food to your room to watch the sunset from your private verandah.

Lake Bvumbwe Chimwenya Game Park

If you’re more the Braai-type opt for a Barbecue along Lake Bvumbwe at Nswala Mao Lounge Bar.

Satemwa Tea Estate visit with guide from Game Haven Lodge

One of the main reasons to book your stay at Game Haven Lodge is that it's very close to the Satemwa Tea Estate and other tea estates in the area to discover. A friendly guide from the lodge drove me around the Thyolo area to explore various tea estates.

Nyala Room

Game Haven Lodge in Chimwenya Game Reserve Malawi

While staying at the Game Haven Hotel in Malawi, they gave me the spacious Nyala Room. It’s a stylish garden-view cottage with a full en-suite bathroom featuring a bathtub, shower, basin, and toilet. The living room has a coffee station and a flat-screen television with digital satellite channels, including a fireplace and verandah with views of the Chimwenya Game Park woodlands and the golf course. In the bedroom, there’s a king-sized bed with a mosquito net and a desk with a chair.

Private Verandah Game Haven Lodge Malawi

In my opinion, the specific cottage I stayed in, needs an upgrade as the interior looks dated. The paint on the wall is peeling and shows signs of moisture. If they can work on that, it's one of the better hotels to stay in Malawi's Thyolo district. I would recommend to stay max 2 nights. The Wi-Fi worked very well inside and near the room. I could do some video calls through WhatsApp while sitting on my private outdoor verandah, so that was a plus for this lodge.

Book your stay at Game Haven Lodge and view the latest prices and availability on

Huntingdon House Satemwa Tea Estates

Huntondon House Satemwa Tea Estate Malawi

Step back in time at Huntingdon House, a Colonial Gem on Satemwa Tea Estate. Originally constructed by Maclean Kay in 1928, Huntingdon House breathes colonial charm and timeless character. This magnificent family property is the centerpiece of Satemwa Tea Estate, offering a unique experience for travelers to Malawi seeking a blend of history and luxury.

Manicured Gardens and Hidden Terraces

Huntingdon House Thyolo Malawi

Surrounded by wonderful gardens, Huntingdon House beckons guests to explore secret patios and terraces. The estate, with its rich history dating back to 1874, is one of Malawi's earliest land claims and stands proudly as a respected tea and coffee producer. Managed by third-generation members of the Cathcart Kay family, the estate invites visitors to enjoy themselves in the legacy of Satemwa Tea Estate.

Tea Tales and Family Memories

Satemwa Tea Estate Malawi

Huntingdon House offers a unique opportunity to learn about the remarkable memories, discover the variety of teas exported from the estate, and delve into the fascinating history of Satemwa Tea Estate. The estate's residents welcome visitors to become a part of their story and explore the heritage that has been nurtured for generations.

Unique Suites in one of the most historical hotels in Malawi

Malawi Tea Estates best place to stay

The house, with its historical significance, has 5 distinctive suites. Each individually decorated suite, reflects the character of this grand residence.

Huntingdon House Satemwa Malawi

From the original children's nursery to the resident priest's quarters and private chapel, each area of the house has a story to tell. I also really loved their library and outdoor patio to have a Satemwa high-tea or coffee.

Best accommodation in Thylo Malawi

Best Hotel in Malawi to explore the Tea Estates

In conclusion, Huntingdon House is the best hotel to stay in Malawi if you want to visit several Tea Estates and learn more about the processing of tea in Malawi. It's a historic gem that has to be part of your Malawi itinerary.

Who wouldn't want to sleep in this wonderful residence in the middle of the Satemwa Tea Estates? Find various Malawi Tours and Itineraries that include a visit to the Tea Estates.

Zomba Forest Lodge

Zomba Forest Lodge best place to stay in Malawi

When visiting Malawi, you can’t miss out on the off-the-beaten-path Zomba Forest Lodge. An intimate guesthouse in the mountains that feels like a home away from home, visiting a family (Tom and Petal) with their two dogs.

Zomba Forest Lodge on Zomba Plateau Malawi

A true gem in 20 acres of mixed woodland near Zomba Plateau that feels like being on a forest retreat. I loved the atmosphere of this place and its beautifully well-maintained forest garden hosting many colorful birds, butterflies, plants, flowers, and trees.

Best place to stay in Zomba Malawi

The woodland varies from indigenous rainforest in the valley by the stream, to pine on the slopes and giant eucalyptus trees overhanging the garden.

Garden Zomba Forest Lodge Malawi

The intimate Zomba Forest Lodge in Malawi has only 5 lovely decorated and colorful en-suite bedrooms.

room Zomba Forest Lodge Malawi

Just like in the shared living and dining room, the owner, Tom, created most of the artwork.

Back to nature

Back to Nature at Zomba Forest Lodge Malawi

Zomba Forest Lodge is a great place to fully connect to nature and disconnect from your busy daily life. Enjoy some hammock time listening to the sounds of nature or have a walk in their garden, which is a real treat for bird enthusiasts. In the rainy season, they also have delicate flowers, like the beautiful orchids.

Mindful Photography in Zomba Forest Lodge Garden

I loved wandering around in the garden, spotting various birds and butterflies, and doing some mindful photography. Their garden has 3.5 km of nature trails. The paths are clean, and you can’t get lost. You also don’t have to worry about predators sneaking into the garden.

Forest Retreat in Zomba Forest Lodge Malawi

They do have leopards and hyenas on the plateau, but they are rarely seen. However, you might hear the laugh of a Hyena at night. In the morning, Blue monkeys often come to visit the garden; a real treat!

Spot blue monkeys at Zomba Forest Lodge Malawi

There’s no Wi-Fi or electricity, so use that to your advantage to recharge your body, mind, and soul. A perfect forest retreat. No electricity doesn’t mean you will sit in the dark. The lodge has a solar station with lots of solar lanterns and also paraffin lamps and candles. So each night you will have a cozy candlelight dinner.

dingin area Zomba Forest Lodge

In the winter, they will use the fireplace to keep warm and heat the place. Another advantage of being surrounded by a forest is that you will probably sleep very well!

Explore the Malawi trips that include Zomba Plateau.

Best healthy food in Malawi

Zomba Forest Lodge has the best food in Malawi

In all of Malawi, I had the best food at Zomba Forest Lodge. The owners take their home-cooked food seriously, and what they offered for lunch and dinner was very different (positive) from what I ate in the rest of Malawi.

Breakfast Zomba Forest Lodge Malawi

healthy food zomba forest lodge Malawi

Their delicious healthy food happily surprised me. Tom and Petal served lunch in their garden and dinner was indoors (it can get chilly at night).

Things to do at Zomba Forest Lodge

things to do in Zomba Malawi

Apart from garden walks, you can drive down to Zomba city in 25 minutes. What I liked was the lively and colorful Zomba market. At the Zomba Market, you will find lots of fruit and vegetable stalls, a fish, and meat area, but also a section with second-hand clothes, furniture, street food, and household products.

Zomba Market Malawi

Everything you need, you can find on the Zomba Market, and you will meet friendly vendors everywhere. Zomba town also has botanical gardens.

things to do in Zomba Malawi

Since Zomba Forest Lodge is on the Zomba Plateau, opt for a guided hiking trail. For example, to Mulunguzi Dam or William’s Falls.

William's Falls Zomba Plateau Malawi

Mulunguzi Dam Zomba Plateau Malawi

The guides have expert knowledge about the Plateau, and it’s a great way to give back to the local community. Tom and Petal also helped set up the Zomba Tour Guide Association, so for the best quality guides, book a guide that is part of the association.

Zomba Treez Conservation Project

Zomba Treez Conservation Project Malawi

Tom and Petal started a wonderful conservation project, named Zomba TREEZ (The Reforestation of the Environment and Ecosystem of Zomba), where they work with local communities and the Forestry Department to reforest and protect over 300 hectares of forest on the Zomba Plateau.

Zomba Treez Seedling Project Malawi

Why? Because many people need wood for cooking and heating, Malawi has lost a lot of its trees, about 85%, in the past 40 years. If this continues, there won't be enough trees for the growing population. Zomba TREEZ wants to make people aware of the problem, plant more trees, let trees grow naturally, and prevent fires. The goal is to keep more water, stop soil from washing away, have clean air and water, and protect Malawi's plants and animals.

Zomba Treez seedling project Malawi

During my visit to Zomba Forest Lodge, I visited their tree seedlings project. With the help of the surrounding community (in return for funding for example, their schools or local choir), they've planted or protected over 250 hectares, which is about 250,000 trees so far, which is a fantastic milestone in preserving Zomba Forest.

Best Guesthouse in Malawi

In summary, I highly recommend adding Zomba Forest Lodge to your Malawi itinerary. I consider this place as the best guesthouse in Malawi with even better food than you get in some of the luxury hotels in Malawi. At Zomba Forest Lodge, you will experience a different kind of luxury by disconnecting from daily life and slowing down in their peaceful garden in the middle of the forest plateau while eating the healthiest food I got in all of Malawi.

Blue Zebra Island Lodge in Malawi National Park

Blue Zebra Island Lodge Lake Malawi National Park

Blue Zebra Island Lodge lies inside Lake Malawi National Park on Nankoma Island and therefore the perfect base to explore Lake Malawi NP and two other small islands that together form the Marelli Island Archipelago.

Blue Zebra Lodge Lake Malawi

Bet place to stay Lake Malawi NP

Blue Zebra Lodge in Malawi has its private Island meaning no other people besides staff and guests are welcome on the island which gives you a very exclusive feel within this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lake View Safari  Tent Blue Zebra Lodge Lake Malawi NP

Blue Zebra Lodge in Lake Malawi is just 2 hours from Lilongwe and offers 3 different room types from executive chalets to lake view tents and the smaller safari tents with a garden view and/or partly lake view. The infinity pool with sun loungers is the best way to relax and cool off during the hottest times of the day.

Pool Blue Zebra Island Lodge Malawi

Blue Zebra Lodge Nankoma Island Lake Malawi NP

Around this Malawi lake resort, you will also find several comfortable and secluded lounges to relax, read a book, or admire Lake Malawi’s wonderful views.

Things to do at Blue Zebra Lodge

Things to do Blue Zebra Lodge Malawi

In the morning, you can opt for one of their walking trails where you can spot many birds and beautiful trees, like the ancient Fig Tree and a huge Baobab.

Baobab Tree Nankoma Island Lake Malawi National Park

Owls Nankoma Island Blue Zebra Lodge Malawi

You can go around Nankoma Island in 45 to 60 minutes, and you can also go all the way to the top to have a marvelous view of the neighboring island with no inhabitants; only nature.

birdwatching Nankoma Island Lake Malawi National Park

Other activities you can do at Blue Zebra Island Lodge are kayaking on Lake Malawi around the island, birding, and indulging yourself in their spa or yoga.

Blue Zebra Lodge Kayaking Lake Malawi NP

Spa at Blue Zebra Island Lodge Lake Malawi National Park

This lodge at Lake Malawi also offers free use of snorkeling equipment to view the colorful fish of the coastline. Snorkeling is a wonderful thing to do at Blue Zebra Lodge. The more adventurous can try water sports like waterskiing, and wakeboarding.

Sunset boat tour Blue Zebra Lodge Malawi

A must-do during your stay at Blue Zebra Hotel in Malawi is the sunset cruise that departs at 16.00. The sunset boat tour cruises around 1 or 2 islands to enjoy the beauty of Lake Malawi National Park.

Marelli Island Archipelago Lake Malawi National Park

Sunset boat cruise Lake Malawi

I spotted many birds, including Fish Eagles and a lost crocodile. When the sun is setting, you can enjoy a sundowner, for example, a local Malawi Gin Tonic with some popcorn; a great way to end your day.

Sunset Boat Cruise Blue Zebra Lodge Lake Malawi

Book your Malawi Safari Tour that includes Lake Malawi!

Best view of Lake Malawi

Blue Zebra has best view of Lake Malawi

They gave me one of the lake-view tents with a private deck overlooking the lake. If you fancy a bit more privacy, then watch the sunset from your private deck; either in the hammock, on the chairs, or from a sun lounger.

Sunset Lake Malawi National Park

From Blue Zebra Island Lodge, you have the best views of Lake Malawi and the sunset is magical.

Eat & Drink at Blue Zebra

Restaurant Blue Zebra Lodge Malawi

The lodge provides all meals on a full-board basis and offers a variety of tasty options to suit everyone's preferences and dietary requirements. I had good food that meets the international standards.

Food at Blue Zebra Island Lodge Malawi

Additionally, at the Fig Tree Bar, you can enjoy a wide range of drinks and cocktails, including some special drinks from Malawi, like the Malawi Gin and Tonic.

Best place to stay at Lake Malawi

In summary, Blue Zebra Island Lodge is the best lodge or hotel in Lake Malawi National Park offering first-class views of Lake Malawi. Located on a private island within the UNESCO World Heritage site, it's one of the reasons why I rate Blue Zebra Island Lodge as one of the best places to stay in Malawi. So, if you are looking for a place to relax at Lake Malawi, definitely add Blue Zebra Lodge to your Malawi itinerary or check out other accommodations at Lake Malawi.

A more expensive recommendation is staying at Likoma Island in Mozambique waters off the North Eastern shore of Lake Malawi. The island includes one of Malawi’s top luxury lodges, Kaya Mawa, starting from 390$ PPPN in a standard room.

Norman Carr Cottage, Monkey Bay

Normann Carr Cottages Monkey Bay Malawi

Experience the Warm Heart of Africa at Norman Carr Cottage in Monkey Bay.

The Legacy of Norman Carr

Sunset at Norman Carr Cottages Monkey Bay Malawi

Awaken your senses to the echoing call of the African Fish Eagle at Norman Carr Cottage, a charming retreat on the southern shores of Lake Malawi. Once the residence of the legendary Norman Carr, famed for his Zambian walking safaris, Carr constructed this idyllic getaway in the early 1970s.

Wonderful accommodations

Norman Carr Cottages Best place to stay Lake Malawi

Nestled beneath a canopy of indigenous trees, Norman Carr Cottage offers spacious en suite rooms featuring king-size beds, signature open-air showers, and captivating views of Lake Malawi.

View Lake Malawi Norman Carr Cottages Monkey Bay Malawi

Indulge in fully catered home-cooked meals in the open beach dining area, and for the adventurous, camping is available as well.

Restaurant Norman Carr Cottage Monkey Bay Malawi

The above images from Norman Carr Cottage were captured by Denis Costello from

Norman Carr also has another lodge: Norman Carr Chikulu Eco Lodge on the exclusive southeastern shore of Lake Malawi. As the only lodge in this remote region, it offers a serene and less settled atmosphere. This eco-friendly haven is a unique experience for nature lovers and offers boat or road transfers between the lodges.

Activities at Norman Carr Cottage

Activities Norman Carr Cottages Malawi

Enjoy the magic of Lake Malawi during activities like water skiing, canoeing, morning snorkeling trips, and feeding fish eagles from the “Bonnie Alfie” launch. End your day with a sunset cruise and a Malawi sundowner, witnessing the mesmerizing sun setting over the lake.

Bird watching lake malawi national park

Book your stay at Norman Carr Cottage or view availability and the latest prices.

10 Best places to stay in Malawi

Best Safari Lodges and Hotels in Malawi

As you explore Malawi, each place you stay is like a different part of a story written by the beautiful landscapes and friendly people of 'The Warm Heart of Africa.' From the shores of Lake Malawi to the wild places where animals live, from quiet tea estates to tall mountains, Malawi has many different experiences to offer.

This guide to the 10 best places to stay in Malawi isn't just a list; it's an invitation to enjoy the beauty, culture, and kindness that make this place special. Each place you stay can be a memory you'll always remember, and I hope your time exploring Malawi is as special as the country itself.

In summary, these are my top ten safari lodges and hotels to stay in Malawi:

  1.  Heuglin's Lodge
  2.  Tongole Wilderness Lodge
  3.  Bua River Lodge
  4.  Mvuu Lodge
  5.  Mkulumadzi Lodge
  6.  Game Haven Lodge
  7.  Huntingdon House
  8.  Zomba Forest Lodge
  9.  Blue Zebra Island Lodge
  10.  Norman Carr Cottage

Looking for more hotels in Malawi, for example, a place to stay in Blantyre, Mzuzu, or Cape Mclear? Have a look at these affordable and luxury hotels in Malawi.

Would you rather book a complete safari tour? View all Malawi Tours and Holidays: