During my backpacking trip through Malawi I stayed at the Friendly Gecko for one night (Thursday night before Lake of Stars began Friday). As I understood it, the Friendly Gecko is primarily for people staying for longer periods of time while doing volunteer work in the area (the Friendly Gecko itself has a LOT of awesome projects going on). Probably because of this fact, the place seemed a bit more “homey” than other places - it was obvious that somebody was actually having their everyday lives there and therefor the living room, bathroom and kitchen was not as tidied up as you would see most places - but it was clean, pleasant to be in and of course the dorm rooms was tidied up and ready for guests - and with towels on the beds! (I don’t know how to describe the place without it maybe having a negative sound to it - but really, it was a nice place). I was traveling with a group of people. We arrived after dark (I think it was 8 or 9 pm) and with no food whatsoever. We accidentally woke up some of the volunteers staying there, but there was no negativity about it and they even gave us some (a lot of) pasta to cook for dinner. We all stayed in one room with bunk beds having space for six people and though a fan in the room it was extremely warm in there (which was also due to the season just being warm). Next morning there was a nice breakfast buffet. I wanted to go to swim, but was told that of course I could if I would, but it would be frowned upon by the locals if I did not cover my body up, as it is a Muslim area. I didn’t go swim and I was happy with my decision when later going to the nearby village and Salima. I wore shorts ending just above my knees and I did have some looks. (But really, it was my own fault not paying attention to my clothes and my surroundings - so just make sure to wear appropriate clothes while there.) All in all, I enjoyed my stay at the Friendly Gecko!…
This is actually a very large home that acomodates volunteers with the organization help2kids. There is a nice kitchen and bath, all is shared. Most rooms are dorm rooms. Transport only goes twice a day, on an unpaved (at this writing) road.
I chose the Friendly Gecko because of their active involvement in social upliftment of the Lifuwe Village. I was not dissapointed in fact I was pleasantly surprised.This is real Africa and the people are warm and accommodating,The views are splendid and the beach of the bay a few steps away.Although I was on a business trip I could not help to push my schedule in order to spend more time in Leopard Bay. I ventured into the village and beyond driving myself. I shall be back.
Great place to stay with a fantastic location and cool mission. Expect a few volunteers for their partner organization to be living there full time, but this doesn't detract from the experience at all. Hard to beat the location as it's in the heart of an authentic Malawian fishing village and right on the lake!
Friendly hosts......friendly volunteers......recommended budget accommodation for a peaceful lake experience...... Incase you are lost, the villagers around the place are always willing to assist with directions. Also recommend everyone to visit this side of Senga bay more often as there is an extensive beach and great views.