Destination: Cape Maclear
Cape Maclear, locally known as Chembe village, is the busiest tourist destination at Lake Malawi. Located in the Mangochi District of Malawi's Southern Region, it is a paradise that attracts all sorts of travelers: backpackers, families, and groups. The nearby islands of Domwe, Thumbi and Mumbo provide a scenic backdrop. The golden sand beaches, relaxed atmosphere, and lively village make it the perfect getaway, where you can switch off but still experience Malawian culture.
Cape Maclear houses Lake Malawi National Park, the first freshwater national park in the world. It covers a total of 94km² that encompass the land area around the cape, Domwe and Thumbi islands, and the lake itself up to 100 meters off the shore.
Where to Stay
We have listed some accommodation places in this area. If these don't suit you, we are more than happy to create your custom tour with your priorities.
Chembe Eagles Nest
Welcome to Chembe Eagles Nest. The quiet and idyllic chalets all face Lake Malawi under a sheltered thatched patio with a pair of easy chairs to watch the exquisite sunsets. There are six chalets with double beds and five with twin beds. All of them are en-suite with air conditioning. If you are more inclined to outdoor living, the adjoining campsite with spectacular views of the hills and lake will suit you best. Campers have their own wash-up area, braai facilities, and beautifully pristine ablutions with ample privacy.
Your stay at Chembe Eagles Nest is guaranteed to be filled with great memories of spectacular food! The menu changes on a regular basis, and is sure to be exciting and different. Should you wish to have a more laid back dinner experience, you can ask about a barbeque or a traditional South African potjie. The outside braai area, built into the rock face, is always popular with guests.
Stay in Mgoza's lakeside rooms, kick off your shoes, enjoy some delicious food, and be mesmerized by stunning sunsets!
Mgoza Lodge is centrally located within Cape Maclear, on the shores of Lake Malawi. It offers quality accommodation to suit all budgets, including a frame-thatched dorm, private huts, uniquely decorated en-suite chalets, and a self-catering cottage. The accommodation and amenities were designed to make guests feel as welcome and comfortable as possible. The spacious rooms have extra large beds and flowing mosquito nets, the garden offers a fantastic view of the lake and a glimpse into the daily life of the village, and the swimming pool is a perfect respite on blistering hot days.
The restaurant offers a variety of options for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike, while the bar stocks a wide range of local and imported drinks.
From fat times to monkey business, Fat Monkeys is a destination that offers something for everyone, whether you're alone, with family, or with friends.
Fat Monkeys is situated in the heart of Cape Maclear. The lodge originated in 1998 by three fat guys over a beer, hence the name! It was originally a bar, which developed into a lodge offering accommodation and activities. New management took over it in 2009. Over time, Fat Monkeys developed into a fully-fledged lodge with accommodation for a variety of travelers, from families to backpackers. Lots of activities are available for adults and children alike.
The lodge features two ensuite family chalets that sleep six people, five rooms with one double and one single bed, one room with one double bed and one bunk bed, two dorms, and a campsite.
The restaurant has an over 7-year history of delivering mouth-watering and belly-filling well-prepared food from breakfast and lunch to dinner, while the bar is one of the finest refreshment centers in Cape Maclear. It stocks a variety of beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks, snacks, mineral water, and many more. Relax with comfort for a drink while you admire the Lake of Stars and feel its breeze that blows like no other.
Cape Mac Lodge
The French couple Josianne and Roger fell in love with Cape Maclear years ago and made it their dream to build a lodge and retire in this tranquil Malawian fishing village. Cape Mac Lodge is situated in Chembe village, where guests can interact with the local people and their culture.
The comfortable en-suite double and family rooms are equipped with mosquito nets and fans. The room decoration is simple but shows impeccable taste, using local products.
The lodge also offers a swimming pool and a jacuzzi for the exclusive use of resident guests. At the "Froggies" restaurant, you'll find delicious French cuisine and other delicacies. You can also enjoy a drink in the cozy bar while watching the sun set. Wind surfing, table tennis and volleyball facilities are available.
The Lake House
The Lake House is located in Chembe village on the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi. It offers stunning views across the lake.
There are three bedrooms with full food service including continental and other breakfast options, lunch, and dinner. A large selection of drinks is also available. They cater to all dietary preferences and pride themselves on their service. The rained chefs produce truly delicious food.
If you need to cool off, you don’t need to head to the lake – instead, you can plunge into the pool.
Tranquilo Resorts Limited
Tranquilo provides quality accommodation on the shores of Lake Malawi.
All rooms feature en-suite bath or shower facilities, TV, voucher Wi-Fi internet access, air conditioning, fan, and mosquito nets. Discounts are available for groups and long-term guests. The accommodation options are 2-bedroom apartments, superior rooms, executive rooms, and self-catering rooms.
The lodge has a fitness room, a garden, BBQ facilities, and an outdoor pool. It offers a continental or à la carte breakfast. Guests can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant, which serves a variety of grill dishes and vegetarian options.
Danforth Retreat, situated in Cape Maclear and bordering the Lake Malawi National Park, offers a unique lakeside experience.
The aim is to keep the property private and pristine, making it easy to enjoy the peaceful lakeside. It has spacious rooms and wide open spaces.
Danforth Retreat operates on a serviced, self-catering basis. Guests bring their food and drinks, and the friendly, capable staff help with meal preparation, serving, and clearing.
There are seven air-conditioned bedrooms, with en-suite bathrooms. All rooms have spectacular views of the lake, and look out over West Thumbi View island. They are tastefully finished with lovely quality bed linen, a room safe, a ceiling fan, reading lights, and a tea tray. There are frame-style mosquito nets over the beds and screens on the windows.The garden has shady lawns, leading to the sparkling, beachside infinity swimming pool.
The patio outside each bedroom is furnished with easy chairs and comfy cushions, ideal for reading or quietly taking in the beautiful lakeside views.
Relax on the beach: This one seems obvious. Soak in the views of Lake Malawi, while sunbathing in the soft sand, reading a good book or spending quality time with your fellow travelers. Sunsets are especially beautiful.
Snorkeling: Discover the more than 1000 species of fish that call Lake Malawi their home, including 600 species of the colourful cichlids, which are endemic here. Most lodges offer snorkeling trips, or you can bring your own gear. One popular spot for snorkeling are the crystal clear waters of Otter Point, which you can reach on foot or by boat.
Scuba diving: If staying on the surface of the lake is not enough for you, you can go deeper.
Kayaking: Kayaking is the perfect activity to enjoy the tranquility of the lake, while being active. On calm days, the lake is so clear that you can see the fish swimming next to you. Book a Kayaking adventure or go solo or take your family and friends.
Water skiing: Feel the exhilarating breeze as you glide gracefully across the water.
Sailing: Learn how to use the wind to your advantage while you slide across the lake.
Boat Trips & Island Excursions: The boat trips are offered by the Cape Maclear Tour Guide Association and every lodge has a group of tour guides offering a variety of trips. Tailor make your own from the options they have available.
The islands of Domwe and Thumbi provide a scenic backdrop to Cape Maclear. But did you know that you can also visit and explore them? The snorkeling there is fantastic and if you want to enjoy the tranquility for a while longer, you can camp on Domwe.
Hiking: There are a few hiking trails in the Cape Maclear Natural Park. One of them starts from the missionary cemetery and goes up the hill, leading to a viewpoint from where you can see the whole bay. Another hike leads to Otter Point through the forest. You can hire a local guide or venture out by yourself.
Birdwatching: Over 140 different species of birds have been counted in this area. Take your binoculars and go on a walk to discover them or hire a local guide. Geoff is an experienced tour guide with a lot of knowledge with bird life.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit this area is during the dry season from April to November. It is also the best season for outdoor and water activities.