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“A Paradise Found”
Review of Mumbo Island

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Mumbo Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Mumbo Island is one of those places that you wake up every morning, and stand on your balcony saying "how did I never know this place existed?" Its tempting to keep these kind of places secret so that they stay unspoiled, and so far Mumbo Island shows absolutely no sign of being anything but a serene paradise.

From the moment you arrive at the departure point at Cape Maclear the beauty of the entire area is astounding. The lake stretching beyond the horizon, little frothy waves lapping on the sand and the friendly welcoming committee handing you a cold drink for the trip.

We spent 5 nights on the island and could probably have stayed longer it went too quickly. The Island is truly a relaxed "Robinson Crusoe" experience in all the best ways. Absolutely no electricity (so charge your e-reader before you come otherwise it has to go back to the mainland for charging), dry-compost toilets, and bucket showers make this a very back to nature experience. Only 2G on the phone also means that its only phone calls and no emails. The simple bamboo and thatch huts with hammocks, comfortable deck chairs and stunning, stunning views means its tempting to spend all your time in your hut - and why not? We are generally not room dwellers when on holidays but we found ourselves just sitting for hours on our deck watching the lake and its goings-on. Coffee and simple biscuits are delivered every morning at 6:30am, so if the sunrise hasn't woken you up through the bamboo walls the coffee man gets your day going early.

Meals are simple with little choice but we enjoyed everything that was served and never went hungry. To be honest with no electricity the chef is a genius turning out a parade of tasty meals and snacks.

While on the Island we did our Padi Open Water certification and had a ball with our instructor Patrick, and helper Freddie. If your a scuba dive this place is a rare treat - fresh water, no hippos or crocs and full of beautiful aquarium fish including the quite astounding mouth-breaders! If your aren't into scuba snorkelling is just as good and kayaks are available to go to one of the more remote areas of the island. No motorised water sports (thank goodness) but that makes Mumbo all the better in my book.

In summary, I've travelled many places and seen many things but this place has lodged itself in my brain never to be forgotten. And I couldn't think of a better to thing to have in there.

Room Tip: Ask for a hut, rather than a tent.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gotravelgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 - 95 of 148 reviews

Reviewed September 8, 2013

Still basking in the afterglow of Mumbo Island, with visions of glorious sunrises and sunsets, neon-colored fish and soaring fish eagles. Laying low in the hammock on the deck of our tent, mesmerized by the stars and sound of the waves. Snorkeling, kayaking, hiking steep trails. Generous meals of simple, healthy food, all served up with kindness by the staff. A truly memorable get-away in every sense.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank James66667
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2013

Mumbo Island is the most amazing spot I have ever been to,
My now wife and I enjoyed and loved every second of it.
We stayed in tent 5 which is perfect for privacy, the bedroom over looks the lake with the sunrise lighting up your room when it's time to wake up. You'll be woken up to the sounds of the Fish Eagles and water crashing up against the rocks. The little touches from the staff helped make it even more special from the heart shaped biscuits served every morning with your tea and coffee to the friendly interaction we received from Robyn our host and her wonderfull team.
Also very important to Note: Mumbo has NO Bilharzia in its surrounding waters and gets tested every six months, and is Malaria free.
We kayaked around the island (very easy), snorkeled, relaxed in the hammock, and made use of the board games on the main deck.

Room Tip: Tent 5 for best sunrise and has a view of sunset, very private for couples
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rezeen D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2013 via mobile

The water is pristine and the snorkelling is breathtaking. The accommodation is comfortable and we felt pampered - excellent service throughout. The food is tasty and very well presented. A kayak trip around the island is a must! It's expensive but the experience is worth it!

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank Mplmetal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Mumbo island was truly special. The bungalows and bathrooms are charming, well-appointed and comfortable and have spectacular views. We enjoyed walking the island, swimming and snorkelling in crystal-clear (bilharzia-free) water, the massage service and the kayaking - especially around the island to enjoy the spectacular sunsets - as well as just lazing and reading. The absence of electricity made for true peace and relaxation (you need to send devices back to the mainland for charging). The ecological awareness of the establishment is commendable and in no way detracted from (in fact enhanced) our enjoyment of the trip. The food was perhaps unspectacular but certainly more than adequate, and I agree that it would have been good to have a Malawian host, but I nonetheless feel that 5 stars are completely warranted.

Room Tip: Each is special and I don't think it matters which one one stays in
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Di P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2013

The trip to Mumbo is worth the effort, as you will be rewarded by one of the most peaceful and beautiful spots on lake malawi. We were a group of 4 adults and one kid and had the place almost to ourselves. The setting is spectacular - crystal clear, aquamarine waters surrounding an island of rocky boulders, sandy beaches, and wooded hills. The facilities were very good and while the setting of the 6 guest tents is spectacular (up high overlooking the lake), my wife and I were happy that the staff could put us and our kid in the family tent which is tucked back in the woods. We kayaked, hike, swam, snorkeled, relaxed, and ate well. The food was fresh, simple and filling, and the delivery of a coffee / tea tray to our tent at 6:30 in the morning was a nice touch. Amazing birdlife, plenty of fish, and even a cool monitor lizard. I kayaked the 10 km over to the island with one of the staff and that was a special treat, and the sunset boat cruise was not to be missed.

Just a few gripes kept me from awarding 5 stars to Mumbo:
** The staff was replacing some of the wooden boards in the boardwalks and therefore the lodge area had a bit of a construction site feel. We had to ask the staff to stop working (and making noise) during our siesta time after lunch. I understand that work needs to get done but perhaps limit it to a certain time of day when guests are most likely to be out on activities
** Mattresses are foam and could use an updating
** Very delicious bread rolls in dining room were generally covered in ants, which could easily be addressed by putting the bread tray over water or keeping the rolls in a sealed plastic container

Overall, a great stay and we will be back.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank op_malawi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Mumbo Island, responded to this reviewResponded September 2, 2013

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience of your recent Malawi trip. We are very excited to hear that you had a fantastic time on Mumbo Island - it is really a special place.

The camp does regularly check the foam mattresses and replace as necessary. Our apologies that the mattresses were not up to our standards and we have been advised by management that the mattresses in question will be replaced.

Thank you very much for your suggestion with regards to the bread rolls. This has been passed on to the island manager who will address this point.

Our sincere apologies for the interruption of your siesta time. This has been brought to the attention of the island manager who will try to ensure that repairs are done when guests are out on activities. However, being on an island this can sometimes be a bit more tricky. For small repairs the carpenters are limited to boat movements and usually go out to the island on the 9:30 transfer to return to the mainland with the 14:00 boat transfer. We try to make these repairs when the island is relatively empty but during busy times it is sometimes unavoidable that they will be there when guests are in camp – especially if the repair is essential.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Spent two nights on this little piece of heaven and wish I could have stayed for at least one more. The staff was excellent and unobtrusive. The snorkeling is amazing with over 50 ft of perfect visibility. Loved kayaking around the island, the kayaks even have rudders. Amazing value if you're a Malawi resident and book the family tent at ~$115 pppn. My only complaint: I wish our "host" was Malawian.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Shubhada H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mumbo Island

Address: Mumbo Isand, 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 #3 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Cape Maclear
Price Range: $19 - $20 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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