Sometimes it’s hard to know in advance where exactly one should visit on Lake Malawi, there are so many options. To help you decide we have put together six things to appreciate about Nanchengwa Lodge that could help you decide.
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1 - The Practical Location for your Itinerary
Lake Malawi is a huge lake but the idyllic Nanchengwa Lodge is within striking distance of some of Malawi’s premier attractions and main cities. This makes Nanchengwa a sensible stop on an ideal itinerary of Malawi. Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast (Liwonde National Park) or someone looking to hike on beautiful mountains (Mulanje or Zomba) then Nanchengwa is only one step away as you proceed from a to b to c. Furthermore, if you are starting at either of the two main cities or their airports then Nanchengwa is again only one stop away.
Most of Lake Malawi’s length is too far from most of these previous stops. Consider how long Lake Malawi is… If you are from the UK then realise (with an ‘s’) that it’s length is the distance from London, no not to Edinburgh, but further, to Perth. If you are from the USofA or Canada then realize (with a ‘z’) that going from Washington DC to Toronto on New York City to Montreal is a shorter distance than the length of the Lake of Stars here in Malawi. If you are from continental Europe then the length of The Lake is slightly greater than Amsterdam to Berlin.
Therefore, in selecting a point on Lake Malawi consider the striking distance from and to the previous and next points on some of the best possible Malawi itineraries. Nanchengwa Lodge fits the bill.
2 - An Idyllic Setting
What’s the point of a practical point on your journey if the setting is not quite perfect? Nanchengwa Lodge, set in lush and green grounds with beautiful trees (and a tree house) and shade and a sunny beach faces onto the most beautiful lake in the world.*
[*Is Lake Malawi really the most beautiful lake in the world? Well, it’s mentioned (first) on Yahoo Travel’s Twelve Most Beautiful Lake in the world ( https://www.yahoo.com/style/12-most-beautiful-lakes-world-045945681.html ) and it’s mentioned (first…again) on the Holidayme.com 10 most beautiful lakes in the world ( https://www.holidayme.com/explore/10-most-beautiful-lakes-in-the-world/ ). Consider the underwater beauty of Lake Malawi and the extraordinary colour and variety of it’s fish, and the question becomes a no-brainer. There are more different species of freshwater fish in Lake Malawi than in all of Europe and North America combined…and they are beautiful fish. They swim around beautiful underwater rocks and boulders. Snorkel and see for yourself, after all there is a beautiful deserted island offshore from Nanchengwa.
Nanchengwa Lodge is set in a small sandy bay with rocky promontories at either end. Look across the Lake from Nanchengwa to distant, beautiful and remote mountains on the other side. I particularly like the view of them in the late afternoon sun.
The location (1) is ideal for a great itinerary and (2) the setting is outstandingly beautiful.
3 - Lovely People
When I refer to the people that you should appreciate at Nanchengwa I am not meaning the lack of crowds of tourists that is guaranteed everywhere in Malawi. Many people do appreciate Malawi’s stunning natural beauty all the more for the fact that they are NEVER crowded by tourists and in fact sometimes you have a National Park, beach or mountain…all to yourself. I don’t mean that when I refer to appreciating the people; I am talking about the owners and their staff.
Ryan and Dayni and their daughter are lovely down to earth people who will welcome you. Soon you will think (correctly) that they are your best new friends who have made you feel welcome in their home. Of course they and you have as much private time and space as you require. Whether they have enough private time is a different question, but they can chat to you about that like best old new friends. Indeed, visiting lodges in Malawi is very much about making great new friends – an impersonal relationship with a remote ‘management’ via a hotel desk is indeed a rare thing here.
Let me mention that they are not only friendly and down to earth, they are helpful and have got me out of a couple of mechanical scrapes with my car in my time… Don’t impose on them however, certainly not without putting something back in. I hope I have helped them in return for what they have done.
Similarly, the staff are nice helpful and friendly. Unlike some other places on The Lake you are not engaged by curios salesman on the beach or in the gardens.
Mentioning helpful people brings us perfectly on to the next point which is the outstanding local, bush and wildlife knowledge which most certainly will be helpful for you if you need some tips and advice.
4 - Useful and Fascinating Knowledge
Dayni, although from Australia, has lived at Nanchengwa Lodge with her husband Ryan for many years. So Dayni certainly has seen a lot. Ryan himself is Africa born and bred and has outstanding knowledge of wildlife, people and places in Malawi. He is a true wild man of the bush and lake. Even if you don’t need tips and advice or contacts and information (surely we all need these things?), you can certainly get some good and funny stories.
Having lived cheek by jowl with the local community and having made great relationships out of difficult and extraordinary situations, Ryan and Dayni can help you understand and appreciate the local cultures, traditions and beliefs. Working hand in hand with international groups they know the best and worst of inter-cultural interactions. If you are serious about learning and improving your own interactions then conversations here could be a real asset.
One of my own favourite topics is wildlife and nature and this is where you can drop your text books and your google on the floor of the bar and start talking to Ryan. Find out about some of the real richness, diversity, tragedy, comedy and beauty of life lived in the African countryside (it’s not the Cotswolds).
Seriously, when you are in Malawi it is better to spend your time with real people rather than spending all your money on a large international tour company. An international tour company will give you the marketing department ‘corporate view’ in response to your questions.
5 - The Surrounding Community
As alluded to above Nanchengwa Lodge have a deep connection with the local community. Ryan told me the extraordinary adventure and action story of how things went from a major and dangerous incident to reconciliation, friendship and long standing relationships.
Since those times international visitors and groups have come to engage with and attempt to discover their own relationship with a culture so different from their own and with people who have a different experience of life to that in the west.
In many places visitors can interact with the local community. Nanchengwa Lodge is a private space within a community. Visitors can choose to remain, as I do, in the restful and relaxing surrounds of the lodge. The lodge provides employment and training and sometimes the indirect economic benefit that a visitor brings is the best. Others choose to engage more directly with the wider community that Nanchengwa is part of.
6 - Relaxation
Who said that change is as good as a rest? Well, you can just rest here on a lounger at the beach (in the sun or shade). You can also recline among the cushions of the sofas at the beach bar or sit at the end of the pier reading. Perhaps you even want to sit further away or try out the hammock or stay in bed listening to the waves on the shore. Let’s say that if you just want to rest there are options here.
Of course, there is more to resting your mind and soul than active inactivity. You could enjoy the waters, boat to the island, snorkel and more.
I think that there is something mysterious and powerful about resting and the proximity to water. There is something in the sight and sound of water that relaxes the mind. Given that Lake Malawi is more than just ‘a lake’ it of course has waves and some of the sounds of the sea. The rumours, in the days of Dr David Livingstone and before, of a great inland sea within Africa’s interior turned out to be true. Now it is your turn to explore and discover whether the rumours of the benefits of Lake Malawi are also true. What better place than trying out Nanchengwa Lodge?
How to Get There
Book Your Stay at Nanchengwa Lodge If you don't want to make your own travel arrangements then you can request that we organise a transfer for you or better still an itinerary that includes Nanchengwa. Group leaders can find out about arrangements for a bus.