Charter a Yacht, Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi is Africa's third largest lake and has no serious contenders as its most beautiful. Every visit to Malawi will include some time spent along its shores. However, there are certain parts of the lake which are accessible only by boat and are seldom if ever visited. We have teamed up with Danforth Yachting to offer a magnificent trip that combines the lake's finest accommodation, and scenery and wildest coastlines. The northern section of this trip is truly taking you to one of the most remote areas on this planet. Your transport for the trip and your base for much of it will be the 38 foot Ocean going catamaran 'Mufasa' which has four double cabins, two bathrooms, a galley, saloon and cockpit under shade. It is equipped with six sets of scuba gear, as well as snorkelling and fishing equipment.
Howard Massey-Hicks is a qualified, experienced and extremely competent skipper. He is regarded as an authority on local waters with over 12000 nautical miles sailed on Lake Malawi alone. Howard has an extensive knowledge of the use and maintenance of all equipment on the yacht. His water-based abilities extend beyond sailing - he is also a water ski instructor, swimming coach and an accomplished scuba diver with Dive master certification. He is cautious and safety conscious. Additional crew include a competent deck hand, and a qualified chef.
Days 1 and 2: Kayak Africa - Mumbo Island
On arrival in Lilongwe you will be transferred by light aircraft to the southern lakeshore and then by vehicle to the Cape Maclear Peninsula. You either kayak or boat out to Mumbo Island about 8 kilometres from the shore and set within Lake Malawi National Park, a world heritage site and the world's first park set aside for the preservation of freshwater fish, in this case the huge numbers of brightly coloured cyclid fish, most of which have yet to be scientifically described and many of which are endemic to the lake. The camp on Mumbo Island is straight out of a Treasure Island annual - charming and rustic, clean and comfortable. The island is thickly vegetated and totally uninhabited. On a rocky promontory at the southern approach to the island are 5 tents, on wooden platforms high above the lake, each with a private outlook onto the lake. One can laze in hammocks and shower under buckets of fire-warmed water.
For action-junkies there's a choice of sea kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, snorkelling, nature trails, bird-watching and fishing, while a shady hammock or the beach are perfect retreats for those wanting to unwind and relax with a good book. The island has some short but wonderful walks and the bird life is abundant and relatively easy to find with mocking chat, fish eagle and green coucal being among the specials.
Day 3 - Grant's Bay
Today you will be met by the catamaran Mufasa and sail west across the lake to Grant's Bay - a lovely remote spot. Anchor down, have a beach bbq, nature walk, lovely snorkelling. Overnight on the yacht at anchor.
Day 4 - 'Mufasa'
Enjoy the morning on the yacht, snorkelling, fishing, or go on shore for a walk. Set sail leisurely to Manda Wilderness. Overnight on the yacht whilst sailing.
Day 5 - Mchenga Nkwichi Lodge Manda Wilderness Area Mozambique
The northwestern side of the lake is in Mozambique. Less heavily populated than the Malawian side, this area still has untouched forest coming straight down to the shoreline. In a arrangement with local customs the skipper would proceed to Likoma Island with your passports to clear customs out of Malawi and then to the small settlement of Cobue in Mozambique to stamp you into Mozambique but your presence is not required during this procedure!
Mchenga Nkwichi means 'the sand that squeaks' and is a beautifully situated small lodge with its own white beach and simple but tastefully built chalets made from local wood and stone. The Manda Wilderness Area is run by the local community in partnership with the lodge. Wild dog have been spotted on the beach here!
Day 6: Mchenga Nkwichi
There is plenty to do here-nature walks, snorkelling, boat trips, or you can laze in a hammock. As with all days on the lake it can be as strenuous or as relaxing as you choose.
Days 7, 8, 9 and 10: 'Mufasa'
The next 4 nights are spent living on the yacht, sailing first North, then South.
We are now heading into Tanzanian waters and to some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. There are many lovely bays and coves to explore on this beautiful and unspoiled part of the lake such as Mamba Bay and Manda Bay as well as the awesome Livingstone Mountains which in some places drop sheer into the lake. It is possible to be within 10 feet of the shore in water over 100 feet deep. We stop off, go ashore, swim, fish, snorkel and scuba dive making it a wonderful experience in the remotest parts of the lake, but with all the trimmings and comfort of the yacht. Very few people have ever visited this part of the lake.
Day 11: Kaya Mawa - Likoma Island
Deep in Mozambican waters, yet belonging to Malawi. Likoma Island is the larger of two beautiful isolated Islands in the Northern Region of Lake Malawi. Only a small fishing community, virtually untouched, inhabits the Island since its discovery by Scottish Missionaries at the end of the 19th Century. Until recently the only way to reach this hidden corner of Africa was by a 1920s tramp steamer, which stops twice a week on its journey up the lake from its homeport of Monkey Bay.
On the south-western tip of the Island there is a crescent shaped beach, surrounded by mango trees and ancient baobabs where you will find Kaya Maya Lodge. The Lodge is built entirely by hand, in partnership with the local community. It consists of seven stone and teak framed thatched cottages set into a granite headland. There is a honeymoon house tucked away on its own private island that is reached by boat.
Each cottage, amongst other things, boasts a 7-foot by 6-foot mahogany 4 poster bed, a shower, a sunken stone bathtub and a loo with a view. All the cottages have private terraces with direct access to the water and many can only be reached by walkways built over the lake.
The dining room, perched on top of a scenic peninsular allows guests to enjoy breathtaking views over the mountains and wilderness of Mozambique to one side and Malawi to the west. It combines local and western cuisine with a choice of dining areas inside or on the open-air deck.
When you feel the need for a sundowner, the bar is set next to a stunning freshwater rock pool fed by a waterfall beside which guests can sit to cool off. There is no electricity on the island so Kaya Mawa is powered by a combination of wind and solar power.
Day 12: At Kaya Mawa
The most fascinating activity on offer is simply to amble slowly around the island-it is totally safe and peopled by the friendliest folk in Africa - the extraordinary 19th century cathedral is well worth a visit. For those wanting to relax on the beach the facilities of Mufasa are available for diving and snorkelling.
Day 13: Chintheche Inn
Northern Lake Malawi. You sail west across the lake to the wonderful white beaches of the Northern lakeshore. At Chintheche we bid farewell to the Mufasa and crew who will sail south and home. Chintheche Inn is a charming small hotel set on a great beach with comfortable en suite rooms all opening out onto the beach.
Day 14: Chintheche Inn
For most of this trip you have concentrated on the most remote and wild areas of the lake and have not seen the hustle, bustle and culture of the often busy shores. Chintheche offers an ideal opportunity for this and there are options to visit the local fishing villages, the nearby Mission church at Bandawe, mountain bike into the surrounding villages or simply to relax on the lake.
A scenic 5 hour road transfer to Lilongwe Airport.
Dates: Please contact us for this years dates.
Group size: minimum 4, maximum 6
Cost per person sharing: Please contact us for this years prices
Cost includes: All meals, all accommodation, all use of equipment on Mufasa, all transport by air and road to and from Lake Malawi, all non motorised water sports at Kaya Mawa and Chintheche, all excursions by road around Chintheche.
Cost excludes: International flights and departure tax currently at $20 per person, drinks, motorised water sports at Kaya Mawa.
Arrival and departure point: Lilongwe
Please contact us for more details for any of the above