Nkhata Bay: Malawi’s Adventure Spot on the Lake

Shopping for fabrics in Nkhata Bay

After arriving at Nkhata Bay via a local ferry, we dragged our tired selves to one of the most popular lodges in Nkhata Bay: Mayoka Village. Situated on a sloping hillside in Nkhata Bay, it offers camping, dorms, and cute chalets that are more like cozy cabins. I stayed in a dorm with another girl, while two of our friends camped, and two of our friends stayed in a chalet. We arrived right after Ghana beat USA, so the bar was crazy- there was lots of music and celebration.  It seemed like a fun scene, but being that I was tired, I showered and went to bed. Although I had no problems falling asleep, my last memory was of hearing the Barack Obama song (of course the next day a dance evolved to go along with the song). I tried to find it online so I could share it with you, but it appears that the African market is flooded with Barack Obama songs.

Relaxing at Mayoka Village
The next morning, I awoke and walked down the stone steps to the bar and lounge area that overlooks the lake. Keep in mind, my friends and I spent nearly a week on the islands where food sources were extremely limited. Rice, beans, and eggs are only exciting for so long. When we sat down for breakfast and opened the menus, it was like being in food heaven. There was muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, sausage, thick slices of bread: oh the decisions! We ordered a hearty breakfast, sampling a variety of dishes, as we soaked up the morning sun. It was so good! The menu also listed all of Mayoka Village‘s activities- there is a free boat trip one day, a free dinner on another, free live music one night, and the list goes on. Not only are their specific activities on any given day, but you can always take them up on free snorkeling or canoeing. I was extremely jealous that I wouldn’t be there on the day of the free boat trip to go cliff-jumping. The last time I did that was off of a waterfall in Hawaii- I love that sort of thing! I can see how people come to Nkhata Bay for a few days and end up staying a week. Unfortunately, I already had a bus booked from Lilongwe and had to move on.

The oh-so-awesome dressmaker

Dressmaker, dressmaker, make me a dress…
After having a good laugh on the Ilala Ferry’s delayed arrival to Nkhata Bay, we got ready and headed into town for a day of shopping and football.  I picked up some local fabric and had a tailor make a really cute dress for me. Of course, I didn’t think it would hold up to the harshness of backpacking, so I sadly shipped it home. I also bargained with a rasta on some beautiful carved wooden tables, sight unseen. He overheard me discussing what I wanted and told me he had what I was looking for back in his village an hour away. We settled on a price (cash, a hole-y pair of shoes, and a t-shirt) and agreed to meet in town at a bar later. In the afternoon, the 10 of us who had been traveling together on the lake, met at a bar in town to watch the England-Germany match. It was playing on a large screen and locals and tourists gathered for the big match. As we walked out of the bar, at the conclusion of Germany’s win, my rasta man was waiting with the tables I had requested. They were bigger and more detailed than we had discussed, and I was blown away. They were gorgeous! Of course he wanted more money, and it was a lot more work, so I upped my price a little, but walked away knowing I had gotten a total bargain. I forgot to take pictures of them before I shipped them home, but eventually photos will be posted! Malawi is the place to buy woodcarvings. Most of the time, you are buying from the actual carver himself, the work is detailed and really nice, and the price is a steal.

After walking away with my awesome woodcarvings, we had our last group dinner in town and said our good-byes. Only 3 of us would be heading to Lilongwe the next day. It was sad to part ways, as I had such a great time with these cool kids.

We stayed one more night in the idyllic Mayoka Village, before saying good-bye to Nkhata Bay. It’s a bit touristy, but I can understand why. The activities that the lodge offers, along with nice accommodation and a delicious menu,  make a visit to Nkhata Bay and Mayoka Village a nice stopover on a Malawi itinerary.

Farewill dinner with all the super-cool Ilala Ferry survivors

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