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“One of the most spectacular places in Africa!”
Review of Mumbo Island

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Mumbo Island
Certificate of Excellence
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“One of the most spectacular places in Africa!”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

This is such a special place on the planet. Crystal clear still fresh water with no schistosomiasis or malaria (unlike the shore of the lake).
Great wildlife; otters, lizards, no nasty snakes, crocodiles or hippos.
Kayaking out to the island is a must, even though we took the boat on the way back. Great places to explore on the island. Great snorkeling as well.
The number of people on the island is ideal, not too over crowded. The staff are awesome and can't do enough to help you. The food was really fantastic, amazing what they can do in the middle of lake Malawi.
This place is a must for everyone! Particularly Africaphiles!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank MmMmMmM186299
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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139 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2013

From the moment we stepped off of the boat I knew this was going to be one of the most amazing places I had ever stayed. We stayed 3 nights and I could have stayed longer. The view from our tent (tent 5) was fabulous and the whole atmosphere on the island was relaxing, friendly and simply perfect. I have not stopped talking about it since.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank KirstyN22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hangzhou, China
Level Contributor
105 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2013

Visiting Mumbo should be on your bucket list! Our trip began with me clambering up to the roof of the Feersum Enjin to experience the unparralled views of the lake - there is something quite other worldly about the way the sky is mirrored by the lake. Arriving at the island we were greeted by Robyn and her fantastic team, who welcomed us with the legendary friendliness of Malawians. Our room was undeniably the most beautiful place I have had the pleasure of calling my own (albeit for only one night). I really revelled in the pure pleasure of rocking in the hammock, listening to the calls of the Fish Eagles, while taking in the turquoise waters.
The sustainability of the whole setup was unbelievable - and inspiring. Thier kitchen is fantastic - I would suggest trying the preserves that are set out - and they cater well for vegetarians. My travel buddy undertook some of the walks around the camp and found them to be easy going, but that water was an essential accessory. Snorkelling gear and kayaks are also freely available.

Room Tip: Tent 4 has the BEST views from the hammock.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rdaya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport Pagnell, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2013

We only spent 2 nights here, would recommend 3 to really wind down and settle into "island life".
Transfer to the island I think took about 3/4 - 1 hour (via Domwe) and it's great to see Mumbo Island getting bigger, the first couple of tents appear...
Reception on the island was very friendly, the food was simple but wonderful and healthy, the cakes are the best!
We tried kayaking, went swimming, snorkeling and bird spotting round the island.
What strikes you most here is just how peaceful the place is. This is the ultimate place to get away from it all, relax and unwind, there is enough to do but it's not as overwhelming as some place can be.
For "sundowners" you have to do the short walk to the other side of the island, take a torch as it gets dark quickly after sunset. Or do the boat trip which unfortunately wasn't available to us as the engine was broken.
In May the wind likes picking up after dark and the waves crashing in some of the rocks can get quite loud so I didn't sleep too well (it didn't matter too much, I caught up with it during the day time).
As there is no electricity it's nice to have the fire lit after dinner and chat before going to bed early.
Eco-tourism and sustainability are most important here, it keeps things simple & natural. I read that the camp could be dismantled and within a year there would be no sign of the previous tourism, isn't that wonderful?
As the island is Malawian run it has it's own style - the Malawian staff are perhaps less "ever-present and encouraging", you're more left to your own devices as you may have experienced elsewhere. It's just a different style, there is nothing wrong with asking for what you want. However, there were one or two language issues during our stay so that wasn't ideal.
There is some special bird life on the island, perhaps it would be an idea to offer short bird walks?
I so want to come back here!!!

Room Tip: We stayed in tent number 1, faces the bay but still affords views of the lake, and the rows of fishe...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank EvaM_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Just for one night at this beautiful Island. Although the rates were too high for our budget I believe the price is very good for what they offer. The Island is about an hour out in the lake from the main Island. You can book a boat trip to the Island with Kayak Africa. You could also do the crossing by kayak but the water was a bit on the rough side so although I was keen on trying, my girlfriend followed the advise of the management of Kayak Africa. Good afterwards as it was quite rough going to the Island
The location is perfect. Beautiful set up with tents on top of a rocky area, with a lot of privacy. You can see the otters from the hammock on your veranda.
Food was great, Service even greater, snorkling gear and kayaks provided and included in the rate. And very important NO bilharzia this side on the Island!! Just a very pleasant stay and we regrettably had to leave the following morning. Especially recommend for romantic couples and honeymooners

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Annie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Level Contributor
82 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2012

There is no swimming pool but none is needed because you are in the middle of Lake Malawi. It has some great fish, the water was warm, and we were told not to worry about the snails. The road to Cape Maclear is now largely paved, and the remainder we were told will be by the end of 2012, so the town is becoming easier to reach, which in turn makes Mumbo Island easier to reach. Kayak Africa picked us up at the airport in Lilongwe, deposited us back in Blantyre, with Lake Malawi in between. Lots of fish eagle, birds, and dug out canoes around the island, some decent if short hiking, and a peaceful, relaxing place to stay. All meals food (except sodas and liquor) were included, as well as snorkeling and kayak equipment. All we had to do was enjoy. By the way, we were pleased with the food given that this is an eco-island in Malawi relying largely on solar power.

Room Tip: There are five basically platform "tents" on the small island, all of which are commodious...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank aikido4d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2012

I first came across Mumbo Island in Malawi years ago. It looked like my kind of place - a secluded, private and uninhabited island, elegant but not dripping-with-unnecessary-luxury eco-lodge, very eco with a small environmental footprint, kayaking, scuba-diving and lots of adventure activities and a legitimate focus on community development and local engagement and participation. 3 years later, I found myself experiencing all of this and more while spending 3 nights on this Robinson Crusoe-like island paradise with my fiance. The experience far exceeded my very high expectations! In fact, we had only planned on spending 2 nights and after 15 minutes on the island we decided we needed at least one more night! It will always hold a special place in our heart as we got engaged on the island, sitting atop "Pod Rock" watching the sun set over Lake Malawi.

We stayed in one of the newly renovated bamboo and thatch bungalows (plan is to replace the canvass tents with this style for all bungalows) with a small deck for 2 chairs and a hammock and a spectacular view of the lake. It was completely private and secluded. Amazing how comfortable a bed in such a remote place can be! The bath was attached - small sink with running water (pulled from lake), eco-drop toilet (amazingly no smell thanks to cedar shavings) and my favorite, the bucket shower (solar heated water can be delivered to your tent whenever you want). Small touches - soaps and shampoos and water glasses all use recycled wine bottles - ingenious! There is no electricity on the island so in the evenings, the staff sets out solar-powered lanterns on the paths and in the rooms. Makes for a very romantic setting! The entire camps is incredibly comfortable and providing just what you need and nothing you don't! The island-staff was mostly Malawians and one South African/Canadian couple who served as the "Island-Hosts." All staff were friendly, welcoming and dedicated to making your stay comfortable and relaxing. During our stay, we explored the many trails that crisscross the island, kayaked around the island exploring, snorkeled with the many colorful chilclid fish and relaxed and did nothing, just lying on the sandy beach. The food was mostly very good, if not extraordinary. We met other wonderful travelers from South Africa and the USA and enjoyed sharing stories. We will be back someday (soon hopefully) to celebrate our engagement!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank tadbrad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mumbo Island

Property: Mumbo Island
Address: Malawi, Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi National Park 48, Malawi
Location: Malawi > Lake Malawi National Park > Cape Maclear
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 19 Specialty Lodging in Cape Maclear
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on a pristine, practically deserted tropical island, the eco-friendly Mumbo Camp is surrounded by crystal-clear waters. Lake Malawi National Park is the first in the world set aside for the protection of freshwater fish and therefore, not surprisingly, one of the best freshwater diving locations on the planet. To set the scene, your accommodation – one of six en-suite tents – is perched on rocks high above the water and shaded by lush foliage. With an idyllic lake view, you can while the hours away on the hammock on your private deck. Refreshments are served in the dining area and pub. Be warned, this lazy island lifestyle is contagious!Did you know?Mumbo Island Camp has partnered with Malawi's Department of National Parks and Wildlife to put an end to illegal fishing operations in this sanctuary.Lake Malawi is Africa's third largest and second deepest lake. Mumbo is just one of the miombo woodland islands that pepper the lake. Your activities include scuba diving and snorkelling, while kayaking and boating allow you to explore the surrounding granitic islands.Over 2 000 species of colourful freshwater fish grace our lake. Spotted-necked otter are often seen while the rarer Cape clawless otter, less so. On the island you can see rainbow skinks and large water monitors. Bird life is abundant, dominated by the ever-present African Fish-Eagles. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mumbo Island Malawi/Cape Maclear

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