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Kumbali Lake Retreat, a breath of fresh air in the warm heart of Africa


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It’s fair to say that, by just about anyone’s standards, I travel a lot.
Some of it is for work and some of it is for pleasure. Actually that is misleading. I love Africa and that is where my work takes me, so really all my travel is pretty much for pleasure.


Over the years I have built up a list of the places I like to stay in half a dozen countries and these tend to be the places I go back to time after time. These are also the places that I recommend to my clients.

I’m always on the lookout for new places though and it is exciting for me to visit places I’ve never been before. Especially if they turn out to be somewhere that I can add to my list.


When my assignment in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley finished a couple of days early I had some time on my hands and thought it might be worth taking a look at a new lodge on Lake Malawi.
What with one thing and another, mostly the power outages that seem plague Lilongwe, I was delayed and would not be able to get to the lake in time for the shuttle boat to the island. I needed an alternative.


A colleague recommended Kumbali Lake Retreat, a little eco lodge on the shore of Lake Malawi.


It took me a couple of hours to drive from Lilongwe to Salima where I turned north for the last twenty kilometres or so to the lodge.


I had no idea what to expect but Kumbali Lake Retreat was certainly not at all what I’d imagined.



Kumbali Lake Retreat is built into the side of Lifuwu Hill and on the shore of Lake Malawi. There are 4 individually thatched chalets each with private bathroom facilities, private veranda overlooking the lake and double or twin beds.





For some reason I was allocated the highest chalet, which necessitated a 5 minute hike, but the views were wonderful and there was a cooling breeze which meant that mosquitoes were not a worry.



There’s a charming restaurant & bar where all meals are served and a small sandy beach.









The staff were all friendly and efficient and the food was outstanding. Amazing considering the simplicity of the kitchen.

It’s a place where relaxing comes naturally. The phone signal is patchy at best and there is no internet, so those distractions can be set aside for the duration of your stay.

You won’t be bored though. There’s great hiking, kayaks for you to explore the lake and boat trips on the lake.

As well as prolific bird life you might catch sight of the indigenous Samanga Monkey.

This is my kind of place and I can’t wait to go back again. I don’t mind if it’s with friends or with clients, as long as it is soon.


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Looks a really nice place Mike.  From your directions it's not too far from the Livingstonia Hotel where we stopped but I think we'd have been far better off at Kumbali Lake Retreat

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@Soukous I will be going to Malawi next year and visiting Liwonde National Park, Nyika and Lake Malawi. I'll be staying at Lake Malawi for 3 nights at Pumulani Lodge. I'm quite excited about the opportunities for bird watching as well as relaxing at the lake.

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17 hours ago, AfricIan said:

Looks a really nice place Mike.  From your directions it's not too far from the Livingstonia Hotel where we stopped but I think we'd have been far better off at Kumbali Lake Retreat


Yes @AfricIan Basically as you drive from Salima towards the Livingstonia Hotel there is a turning off to the left - about 1.5 km before the Livingstonia. I know this because I missed the turn and had to turn around. From there is it about a 20km drive.

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Thanks Martin,


As I said earlier, it looks like more "my sort of place" than the Livingstonia.  Just out of interest, do you know what the Bilhazia position is there? Your photo's show both people and reeds which, as I understand it, are the 2 key vectors in Bilhazia transmission along with the freshwater snail.


We were only at the Livingstonia 1 night & didn't venture into the water, leaving that until we got to Mumbo Island which, at 7km off-shore and "uninhabited" is "certificated" as Bilhazia free - No apparent ill-effects yet :unsure:

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to be honest I didn't even think about it @AfricIan 

I'll let you know if anything nasty starts to happen :wacko:

Edited by Soukous
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hope your post-trip health continues, @Soukous.  Looks lovely!

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9 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

Hope your post-trip health continues, @Soukous.  Looks lovely!


so far so good

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