Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice
Mayoka Village, Nkhata Bay, Malawi
Nominated By: Anonymous, Brooklyn, New York, USA, June '08
Price Range: US$6-$20 (per person) # of Rooms: Kid-Friendly: Yes
What makes Mayoka Village so Darn Good? Mayoka Village is the kind of place you come to planning on staying for a few nights, but end up staying for weeks. It's incredibly fun, cheap, and laid-back. Mayoka sits right on the shores of Lake Malawi and the views are amazing.
Location: Mayoka Village is located in the warm heart of Africa. The clear, tropical fish-filled waters of Lake Malawi are perfect for snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking, and equipment can be borrowed or rented right at Mayoka. Mayoka Village is within walking distance of the mellow resort town of Nkhata Bay, known for its highly reputable scuba diving school and white sand beaches.
Rooms: During my two years in the Peace Corps, I visited Mayoka Village no less than seven times and stayed in almost every type of room. My favorite was a chalet built on stilts with a balcony overlooking the lake. Other options include traditional mud huts and the more newly built stone cottages with private bathrooms and stone bath tubs. Those on a super tight budget can stay in a dormitory or camp out in the garden. All accommodations at Mayoka Village are built using traditional Malawian materials, such as bamboo, stone, mud, and thatch, and are spread out on a rocky hillside by the lake.
Food: The outdoor bar and restaurant serve great food using fresh, local ingredients and offer plenty of choices for vegetarians. Plus, the beer is really cheap. Gary and Katherine, Mayoka's friendly owners, host huge weekly barbecues and Malawian buffets.
Vibe: Mayoka Village has a chill, backpacker kind of feel. It's most happening on Friday nights when Gary and Katherine's famous barbecues merge into all-out dance parties, with local musicians providing the entertainment. Gary and Katherine built the lodge with the support of the community, and Mayoka continues to provide jobs and raise funds for local improvement projects.
Things to Keep in Mind: It's a bit tough to get to Mayoka Village, but well worth the journey. Also, be careful of bilharzia when swimming in certain parts of Lake Malawi.