Mumbo Island Eco Lodge, a Unique Resort on Lake Malawi

When I randomly stumbled across this place when researching Lake Malawi, I knew I had to visit. I had never been to a resort that was 100 percent eco and this placed looked somewhat luxurious to boot! I reserved 2 nights to kick off my trip to Lake Malawi. This place was exactly what I needed at the time and I feel compelled to share this awesome experience. I was not sponsored and am writing this post simply because I believe in eco-friendly travel and want to bring attention to places that do it well. Here is what it’s like to stay in the luxurious Mumbo Island Eco Lodge.

Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi

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How to Get There

Mumbo Island is a 45-minute boat ride from Cape Maclear. Cape Maclear is a village on the southern part of Lake Malawi. I also spent some time in Cape Maclear and absolutely loved it.

Ecotourism in Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi

There are two boats back and forth each day that are included in the cost of the lodge. I arrived for the 3 pm boat. Upon arrival, I was greeted by Nora, the hostess. After being shown around and introduced to my cabin, I was invited for the sunset boat cruise and my drink order taken.

Hammock on Deck at Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi
My first activity after checking in

The lodge is run by a company called Kayak Africa which also owns Domwe Island, another island that is closer to Cape Maclear.

The resort is small and only accommodates around 20 people. That being said, the day I arrived there were 8 other guests and they all checked out the following morning. I basically had the whole island to myself aside from the staff. It was actually pretty cool. Nora and I ended up having meals together and kayaking around the island since there were no other guests. I consider her a friend and enjoyed her company. The staff there were all wonderful as well. There is a cozy family vibe there and it seems the staff, who are local villagers, are treated well.

The Cabins

Cabin at Mumbo Island Lake Malawi

How cute are these cabins or tents or whatever you call them? Each one has tons of privacy and a stunning view. The open design truly allows you to feel like you are out in nature. For windy nights there are doors you can close and there is a mosquito net.

Cabin Mumbo Island Lake Malawi

Hammock on Deck Mumbo Island

How is it Eco?

The whole camp is built of locally sourced timber, thatch and canvas which blends perfectly with the African bush. The decor is also locally made. The rustic charm gives a very Robinson Crusoe sort of vibe.  All kitchen waste is separated and taken back to the mainland to either be used in the compost or to be burned or recycled. Cooking is done on gas or rocket stove; water is pumped from the lake by a solar pump and filtered on the island.

The menu is comprised of locally grown and fished food and all the staff are from the local village – five of whom are now managers of the company. The cushions are covered in Malawian chitenje fabric sewn by the village tailor. I happened to meet this tailor and had a skirt made.

Beach at Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi

There is no electricity here. They have a solar charging station set up for staff and guests to charge a cell phone and to charge the solar lanterns. This only works during strong daylight hours between 10 and 2. The solar lanterns and flashlights are given to each guest to use in the evening and they provide really good lighting.

The toilet is compost and a bucket of wood chips is next to the toilet with a scoop. You just toss some wood chips in there and the magic happens. I was skeptical but honestly, there was no bad smell. For the shower the was a big bucket with a nozzle and you just arranged with the staff what time you wanted a shower and hot water was brought to your bucket. You had to be quick because after about 5 minutes the bucket was empty!

The Meals

Coffee, tea and biscuits were delivered to the cabin each morning. I would snack on this before coming to breakfast which was always delicious. There was a menu to order eggs and other standard items but there was always homemade fruit salad, homemade muesli, fresh baked buns, local Malawian peanut butter, honey, tea, and coffee.  Malawi products are all delicious!

Coffee and Tea delivery Mumbo Island

Lunch was usually a lighter meal plus dessert. Dinner was typically 3 courses plus wine or beer. My favorite meal was a chicken curry with Malawi rice which is a yummy fragrant rice. Everything the cook made was scrumptious and I couldn’t stop eating here.

Mumbo Island Lake Malawi

The Activities

What does one do on a private eco island you may ask? Other than enjoying the solitude and obvious things such as sunbathing on the beach, there are plenty of other fun things to do here.


You can kayak in the calm waters and check out all the impressive birds doing some fishing such as the Cormorant or the Fish Eagle, Malawi’s national bird. If you’re lucky you will see the island’s only mammals, some adorable sea otters.  It only takes an hour to kayak around the entire island. I needed a good work out after all the yummy food!

Kayak Mumbo Island Lake Malawi

Nature Walk

There are several lovely walks around the island, all very well marked with signs. You can choose to do the shorter less challenging ones or a longer one with some light climbing on rocks to see some stunning ocean views.
Forest Walk Mumbo Island

This is the view from Pulp Rock.

Island Fauna

I had a really good time discovering all the wildlife. These rainbow skinks, which are very shy, were some of my favorites. They are beautiful.

I also saw a few HUGE monitor lizards, which look like mini Komodo Dragons. I really enjoyed the birds that came to visit me in my cabin. They were really bold, sometimes tasting my coffee, which I didn’t mind.

Bird in Cabin Mumbo Island


The Cichlids are famous here in Lake Malawi and these pretty fish are easily found feeding off the rocks close to the land. The water here is insanely clear, sometimes you don’t even need to snorkel to get a good view!

Sunset Boat Cruise

They can arrange this any evening you wish and have snacks and cocktails as well.

Suset in Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi

I chose to watch the sunset from my hammock one evening and Nora had wine and snacks sent to my room. What a perfect evening!

Mumbo Island Eco Lodge


Have you ever stayed in an Eco Lodge? Tell me about it in the comments!

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About The Author

Cherene Saradar

Cherene is a travel expert with 30 years of experience in over 100 countries and 7 continents. She has traveled solo to over 50 countries. She is also a nurse anesthesiologist with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Her passions include wildlife travel and visiting wine regions of the world.


  1. Micheline Lindsay | 18th Nov 19

    Hello! I have just read your article and it is a perfect description of this beautiful spot! My husband and I went last year after visiting his old school in Blantyre. We long to revisit one day as it was just perfect there. We slept a couple of nights with our doors wide open overlooking the lake as the weather was glorious ( October 2018). We have stayed friends with Nora who was our host last year and hope to meet up with her here in the near future in South Africa, where we live. yes, ceratinly an idyllic spot not to be missed , for the world!!

    • csaradar | 19th Nov 19

      Oh how cool you also stayed there. I loved it so much and Nora is such a doll. I hope to go back as well. So happy you commented:)

  2. Cata | 26th Aug 18

    Hey, did you worry about schistosomiasis in the water? I’m going there soon and I’m a little bit concerned

    • csaradar | 31st Aug 18

      Yes there is a parasite called Bilharzia (aka schisto) that receives lots of attention. I think the threat is way overblown, from a medical standpoint. It is very rare and only in certain parts of lake. The treatment for it though is super easy, and cheap if bought in a Malawian pharmacy. It’s called Praziquantel and I was recommended to take a day before exposure to lake and then again 6 weeks later. I stopped at pharmacy in Lilongwe and got this for a few dollars max. Make sure to take the medicine with food or it upsets the stomach. Again this is overkill but better for peace of mind!

  3. Pat @ Travel ETA Australia | 27th Jul 18

    These are some awesome pictures and I have never been in this place. You’ve just given me a lot of ideas to explore it, I would love to stroll along when I visit this place!

    • csaradar | 27th Jul 18

      I hope you do. It is really unique and special!!

  4. Jessica | 7th Jul 18

    I love the mixture of luxury and eco friendly. What a beautiful resort and it looks so secluded.

    • csaradar | 12th Jul 18

      It is a the perfect place for a deserted island fantasy trip

  5. rattlesramblings | 7th Jul 18

    this looks amazing! definitely a peaceful, chill vibe. What time of year did you go?

    • csaradar | 12th Jul 18

      I was there in early May!

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