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“Hobbits Would Love Mabuya Camp: Good Value Fun Oasis in Lilongwe”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Mabuya Camp

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Mabuya Camp
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
71 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Hobbits Would Love Mabuya Camp: Good Value Fun Oasis in Lilongwe”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 7, 2014

Mabuya Camp stands out in Lilongwe as still offering budget accommodation in a city where that is hard to find. We had requested for them to arrange an airport transfer and was great to be met after 36 hours in transit to Malawi . We were greeted with a smiling cheerful local woman at reception who made us feel welcomed. (The young local guys who work the bar and others who come in from the town to drink later in the day are tres cool but are helpful and will also smile once you get to know them.)

We stayed at Mabuya Camp twice, both before and after our month long safari in our own tent at Wildlife Camp South Luangwa in Zambia. After long days of intercontinental travel on the way in on the way out we were glad to be able to walk into the center of Lilongwe from Mabuya and purchase some supplies for our upcoming safari . (Though we had read online that a local safari operator my do transfers we found out from Mabuya that this was not the case. We arranged our own transfer to Wildlife Camp in Zambia online through Mophy's Budget Safari Tours http://budgetsafaritours.com/

Mophy is a local Zambian with contacts in Malawi so a taxi picked us up at Mabuya Camp and took us to the border, helped us schlep our four duffles with our camping equipment through the gate where Mophy met us and took us in his mini-van on to Wildlife Camp. One can travel the same route with taxis and mini buses but will take longer....)

Some reviewers have been harsh, so will say this upfront --this is a backpackers camp people, not a 5 star Hotel. But that's why its so valuable, it supports those who have a smaller budget for travel. When we were there the tropical plants including huge jacaranda were blooming so it was quite beautiful as well.

Mabuya Camp is built on a property that was once colonial government homes, so it has some history. Though the nearby roads are busy what we liked is was that it still felt safe and was functional place to relax and party for a couple of days or more before continuing the adventure! Yes, it can get a little loud in the bar when a game is going on or outside the walls in the street at night but that's what ear plugs are for! :)

Having stayed in backpackers all over the world we more than happy with Mabuya Camp services: gated security, wi fi time for sale, on site cafe, bar, basic kitchen for guest use, onward transport info and more.

Camping is allowed if you want to depend on your own tent for mosquito protection like we have found to be the best, but they have rustic thatched cabins and stucco rooms with mosquito nets for rent as well. Because of our long flights we opted to not set our tent up and splurge on both of their types of room. They were in the process of rethatching the roofs at that time.

Mabuya Camp has a lived in comfortable feel of a welcome urban tropical oasis with verandas and a chill swimming pool area to hang out but still is 20- 30 minute walking distance to the heart of the city.


Buying your meal tickets at reception allowed the cooks to concentrate on prepping and getting the food orders in a timely fashion over at the cafe. The food in the cafe was tasty, the restroom facilities worked, the travel information was spot on.

See more info about our experiences shopping for supplies etc at http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/malonetravels2/7/1377915061/tpod.html

The owners Tom and Janey are hard working and on the move when there but will take time to answer questions with a smile. Its obvious that they are well traveled themselves and enjoy assisting others.

And that's worth a great deal.

We look forward to returning to our 'home away from home in Lilongwe, the rough and ready Mabuya Camp. Rock on !

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank malonetravels2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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209 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bozeman, Montana
Level Contributor
36 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2014

The initial impression of the facilities is positive, but clearly there is no attention to detail. The walls of the common rooms are grungy, the seating will leave you wanting to take a shower, and the bedding a little under par.

The mosquito nets were the type that gathered in a hoop at the top, and would not drape around the bed, but rather on it so that the mosquitoes could bite you through the net.

We actually set up our tent in the A-frame we stayed in.

The showers were adequate and warm. The pool did look clean and inviting.

The staff was helpful, but not necessarily very friendly. Interesting crowd hanging around.

I'd stay here again because I don't think there were very many value options in the capital, but I would camp on their lawn (which is available).

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank skiigod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2014

Spent many days and nights at Mabuya during long stay in Lilongwe and found the people (management, staff and other travellers) to be wonderfully friendly, as expected at a backpackers, and the atmosphere was great, especially with the bar and pool. The place is run by a lovely couple with two adorable kids who will help you sorting out any questions!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gina V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montagu, South Africa
Level Contributor
55 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2014 via mobile

We stayed in a frame accommodation three nights ago. It was geared towards younger people I assume. As the bathrooms were totally open an a passage for all to walk through an there are no tables or places to dress dry yourself when you come out of shower. The toilets should habe decent doors for privacy.
The nets did have holes an we fought all night with mozzies. The bar an sitting area is right next to rooms so people keep u awake till late talking an shouting.
The rooms I found at 250 rand a person rather expensive for what they were.
Perhaps for overseas people this is acceptable...but I compared it with Miyorca village in Nycarta Bay (spell?) Were we were greeted at the dispatching off the boat an taken with a taxi to the village for free...helped with our bags by smiling staff..offered tea and treated like VIP at a lesser price...rooms were lovely an clean...here we felt like we were not really guests.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Venus768
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Lilongwe hotels

Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2014 via mobile

We stayed in the chalet, the mosquito net had holes and the room smelt like pee. Staff wasn't too friendly, they refused to borrow us a towel, because they thought we would steal it, even though we offered to pay a double deposit value of the towel.
It was also quite a distance from town.

There resident maxi taxi driver however was extremely helpful. Wonderful man.

However in general not interested in staying there again.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank DorothyMokale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MalawiMixer, Owner at Mabuya Camp, responded to this review, January 16, 2014
Hi there,

We're extremely sorry that you did not enjoy your stay. We are having new nets installed over the coming weeks and I'm sorry that you were not in one of the rooms with the upgraded nets and bedlinen. The rooms have also recently been re-thatched and with the extremely heavy rain we have been experiencing sometimes there can be a damp smell in the rooms.
With regards to the towel, I will speak to all front of house staff immediately to make sure this is remedied - yes we have had a number of towels not returned by customers over the last few months but that shouldn't be passed on to new customers.
We hope that you have enjoyed the rest of your travels?
Tom
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
turnhout
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2014

We were there a couple of times for a 1-night stopover, and spent the night in an A-frame.

The first time, our experience wasn't really good. When we arrived, we got the keys at the reception, and we then got the instructions to go find our room ourselves. Apparently, it was too much effort for the guy at the reception to just show us our room. Great hospitality...

The second and third time, hospitality was much better, so I guess we were just unlucky the first time. The camp offers very affordable accommodation, which is decent (given the price).

Overall, this wasn't really our type of camp, and we didn't really like the vibe. But that may have to do more with us (and the type of places that we were looking for) than with the camp...

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank willemE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2013

My friend and I stayed two nights here in an A frame. The beds were comfortable enough, mosquito nets were provided (however we hung our own anyway), waterproof roof however there are gaps in the walls so you share with a few little lizards sometimes! Can get quite dark inside but there is plenty of room for two people.

It took us about 15 minutes to walk into town, which was actually a good thing because it was a nice quiet and safe spot here. My friend and I are both females and we walked back several times after dark with no issues, however I wouldn't do it alone.

Staff were nice enough, toilets and showers always clean.
There is an enormous pool which is fantastic on hot days.

They organised a hotel transfer for us for 10,000 kwacha.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mandaliee1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mabuya Camp

Property: Mabuya Camp
Address: Livingstone Road, Lilongwe Private Bag A 54, Malawi (Formerly Kiboko Camp)
Location: Malawi > Central Region > Lilongwe
Amenities:
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 46 Specialty Lodging in Lilongwe
Hotel Class:1 star — Mabuya Camp 1*
Number of rooms: 19

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