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“Sambani Lodge - basic but sound!”
Review of Sambani Lodge

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Sambani Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Chinteche B&B and Inns
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Sambani was great. We keep reading reviews about planned rennovations, let's hope it doesn't spoil the brilliant down to earth ambience and dirt cheap prices here! It is pretty basic but it is excellent value.

The Malawian staff really could not have been nicer or more helpful, and the spacious lawned gardens down to the fabulous beach were peaceful and restful. We didn't just enjoy the bats, we found a fairly large monitor lizard in the flower bed outside our basic but spacious chalet. And we enjoyed the chickens wandering around too, and the herd of zebu/brahman cattle which were driven along the beach.

There were only 2 small problems: without a car you need to find transport to get there and back from the main road (they called a matola for us when we left), and the children effectively begging on the beach were a pain, particularly when we decided to walk along to the upmarket Chintheche Inn for a meal.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank D H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 14 of 15 reviews

Reviewed October 27, 2012

This was the third (and best) place we stayed after our arrival in Lilongwe. First was St Peter's Rest House in Lilongwe. Safe but VERY basic. Next was Katoto Lodge. Staff was nice, but building looked has fallen into disrepair.
Sambani was a welcome change of venue. Beautiful beach, basic lodging, but outlets weren't usable. The Lodge has a new owner that seems to be investing in the property. They were putting a new thatch roof on the restaurant/bar. While we were there they were having a party with very loud music. Since it was a vacation, the best thing to do was kickback and enjoy the music. Food was basic but good. Communication with the chef was difficult. I ordered Chicken "Broth" and rice twice and was brought Chicken "Stew" and rice. oh, well.....the beauty of the Lake, sunrises and the friendly staff made it well worth it. The road in is very rough, and it's a 2km walk out to catch a mini-bus. It was a convenient walk to the Njouvu village and the Kindergarten. Always felt safe and we were 2 females traveling alone. (one senior)

Room Tip: They will be remodeling so it's difficult to say.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank k75karol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2011

During our tour through Malawi we landed at the Sambani lodge (based on the Bradt guide). The major plus points are the nice beach, rest&peace and value for money. The downside of this place is the kitchen: The food is very basic without variation.
Our room was very basic but clean.
At night is was a spectacle to sit outside and view the bats hunting for insects around the light... so gracious

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank MatejKarpisek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2009

You just don't feel like your in a tourist trap here. From the sunrise over the lake at 5.50 am through the heat of the day on the sperkling white sand, to the cool evening breeze under the moonlight, to the sounding of tumbling surf, and the pinprick lights of scores of fishermen out on the lake, I had to pinch myself that I wasn't already in paradise! The staff were delightful and attentive when you needed them, and the hotel's rustic feel was perfect for our group. Wonderful!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank Stromulous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2009

On my second stay at the Sambani Lodge, I'm pleased to discover that its still the same.

The rooms are still basic and clean, the food is still tradtional...you can actually get chambo and nsima, and the staff are still warm and friendly. Most westerners might call it rustic but to me its a little Malawian oasis. Its where Malawians stay which only gives it more authenticity.

Of course, being located right on a magnificant sandy beach on Lake Malawi doesn't hurt. One night of star gazing, wave watching and seeing the lights from the small fish boats bobbying on the waves in the dark and you' re hooked.

Sambani has an atmosphere and pace all its own, friendly and relaxed. Its a place to talk to people...kids adults,fisherman.. who are strolling down the beach. The staff are warm, attentive and efficient but not gushing.

Meals are served in the semi open dining room, always in view of the lake, always in view of your server seated quietly near the kitchen.

This is a place to enjoy and take in even if you have only 1 night. Tawonga!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled on business
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2  Thank Hodihodi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2009

I stayed at Sambani with friends midway through our Malawian roadtrip and I didn’t want to leave. Sambani has its own postcard-perfect, hut-dotted beach flanked by small fishing communities and an abundance of mango trees. What I loved about Sambani is that I didn’t feel penned in by the boundaries of a tourist resort and as a tourist I didn’t feel like we were encroaching upon the local people or environment.

There was a very random mixture of guests including a group of nuns, delegates from a medical conference, other travellers and Malawians on holiday, but this did make for some interesting conversations in the bar. This is a very friendly chilled out place with enough space and beach to be as sociable or reclusive, noisy or quiet and active or lazy as you want. We swam in the freshwater lake, played football, netball and volleyball with some of the local kids, lazed on the beach, played frisbee in the water, walked along the beach at sunrise to watch the fishermen coming back with the first catch of the day and used the BBQ to full potential.

My time in Malawi marked the end of a three month backpacking trip and so I was very much travelling on a budget and was pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced and affordable the whole stay was. I felt completely safe camping next to the beach for about £2 a night, with basic but adequate toilet and shower facilities. The food is also basic but tasty and good value for money. As a travelling vegetarian used to all the cultural difficulties and awkwardness that entails, I really appreciated how accommodating the kitchen staff were. And I thoroughly recommend their vegetable curry!

Some of Sambani’s services are not well advertised and you do have to ask, but on enquiry we learned it was very possible to hire to wooden canoes, be paddled out to the island and hire a snorkel. Another tip: arrange to view paintings. Sambani was the best place to buy and bargain for paintings and small crafts because a couple of the local artists are very friendly with the owners’ family.

Not somewhere you go if you need glamour and luxury, but if you want to experience everything that Lake Malawi’s pure unadulterated beauty has to offer, it doesn’t get much better than this.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank Amme1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2009

I stayed at Sambani Lodge with a group of friends for a few days whilst we were travelling through Malawi. The lodge is set in a truly beautiful spot on the shore of Lake Malawi. The golden sand and the size of the lake make it easy to mistake for a Caribbean beach resort, but because its fresh water you don't have to wash the salt out of your hair.
The lodge itself was really quite basic (the rooms are split into chalet blocks of 2 or 4) and the decor could have done with a lick of paint in places, but the room I stayed in was always clean and I was outside most of the time anyway.
The food was also on the basic side, but it was more traditional African fare and there was plenty of it so that was fine by me. The staff also came to find you on the beach to take your order which was a nice touch. THere wasalso an unlimited supply on mangos from the trees surrounding the lodge which you can help yourself to.
The main down point on the catering was a lack of tonic to go with the excellent local gin, although I think this was a supply problem across the region.
The icing on the cale was that for 3 nights with 3 meals a day and beers cost just over $60! If you care more about the location and just need clean simple accommodation you can't go wrong really.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank Youg29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Sambani Lodge

Address: 89 Box, Chinteche, Malawi
Location: Malawi > Northern Region > Chinteche
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Chinteche
Price Range: $15 - $50 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sambani Lodge is a lakeside hotel, guesthouse and hostel retreat for local, international and budget visitors. We invite and welcome families, backpackers and travelers who wish to discover the unspoiled Lake Malawi beaches and hospitality Sambani Lodge has to offer. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sambani Lodge Malawi/Chinteche

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