Mayoka Village was more than what we expected. Located on an outer corner of Nhkata Bay on Malawi Lake, the premises were lovely. The resort was started by a cooperative of 21 people in 1999. Kathryn and Gary are part of the original 21 and are the owners on hand almost daily to assist guests with any questions or requests needed.
We were blown away with everything Mayoka Village had to offer. They have a full restaurant and bar with delish meals and daily specials for all sorts of tastes including the strictest of vegetarians. They grow most of their vegetables and fruits and craft their bread, chutney, butter, yogurt, salad dressing, and desserts. They even have a brick oven, which they fire up on Sunday and Wednesdays for pizza nights. And on Fridays they have an enormous BBQ buffet with 8 or more food choices.
Things to Do
Once you have fueled up at the restaurant the list of other activities seemed endless. They have stand up paddle boards, wooden dugout canoes, row canoes, snorkeling gear, DVD movies, book exchange, and 4 pm tea time every day all for free.
On certain days, they provide a free boat or canoe trip to other beaches around the bay. A few of the stops along the way include viewing the local fish eagles and cliff jumping. We tagged along for a Tuesday afternoon trip and had a great time!
Free live music was provided on Wednesday and Sunday while we were there.
There was plenty of hiking around the area with trails ranging from about 1.5 km’s to 12 km’s. The trails were fairly well marked, but we recommend double-checking with the staff to get last minute directions or instructions before you go. Walking to town took about 10 minutes at a casual pace. In town, we found a few favorites Kaya Papaya for their smoothies and the local market for those needing to shop.
Mayoka Village had a range of lodging options available from camping, dorms, ensuites and dreamy bamboo huts. We stayed in a hut situated over the lake edge and couldn’t have been more satisfied. The sounds and view of the lake left us in a constant state of relaxation. The room was clean, the bed and pillows comfortable and the mosquito net lined our bed perfectly allowing for a restful sleep. Our room was not an ensuite, but the toilet and shower were just a short walk away. For those without their own bathrooms, there were 2 shared facilities (1 western toilet and 1 compost toilet and 2 shared showers). The hot water was hot, and 1 of the showers provided a most beautiful view of the bay.
At times, the area does have issues with water but the outages seemed to last for a short time only, and the staff provided bucket water for use. There were a couple flickers of power outs, but they were very brief, and the staff was on top of providing candle and solar powered lights.
The prices for both the rooms and the restaurant were more than reasonable. At no point did we feel any item was overpriced. In fact, we felt Mayoka Village had been our best value of all our lodging, food, and activities to date.
Nhkata Bay consists of several little villages, but the main area by the ferry station holds the most buzz. We highly recommend you plan a stroll through town and some of the villages. The area was small but packed with lively activity. There were a few local restaurants that came highly recommended: Kava Papaya (closed on Wednesday) and The Indian Stand (not sure the hours). We didn’t have the chance to try either because they were both closed on our attempts.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Mayoka Village is situated on the side of a hill. There are lots of steps, and some are steep and uneven.
- There are two banks located next door to each other in Nkhata Bay. Both machines can be temperamental. It is best to get any cash before reaching Nkhata Bay.
- Mayoka Village does take credit card, but at times the electricity or the machine does not work. We arranged to pay via credit card the day before departure. Be prepared to pay cash if needed.
- If the local ATMs are not working, and you desperately need cash, Kathryn or Gary may be able to provide a lift into Muzuzu to use the ATM. Just ask.
- Mayoka Village has a basic grill area on site if you want to provide your own cooking. They will even provide pots, pans and cutlery if needed.
- Self-service (free) or send out (small fee) laundry services are available.
To book your stay with Mayoka Village Beach Lodge in Nkhata Bay visit their website here.
How to Get There:
Bus – There are many bus services in Malawi, with AXA Coach & Bus seeming to be the best of the bunch; and that is not saying much. AXA Executive branch connects Lilongwe with Mzuzu and is the best public transport option. From there you can board a standard bus or mini-bus to Nkhata Bay. Information on the buses is hard to find and you must book the AXA Executive bus the day before. There are daily departures and the most accurate information will come from the office when you book your ticket.
Ferry – The Ilala ferry runs on Lake Malawi departing from Monkey Bay and steaming for Chilumba from where it then turns around and retraces its journey back. The ferry departs once a week from each of the two cities and our journey from Monkey Bay to Nkhata Bay took roughly two days. If you choose this option we highly recommend you book a cabin.
Taxi – A taxi can be arranged between almost any two cities in Malawi, but if you were attempting to connect say Lilongwe with Nkhata Bay expect the price to be over $500 USD.
3.5 out of 5 Travelationship High Fives. If you like adventure, romance, relaxation, partier, or bucket lister type travel you will love Mayoka Village.
- The designated free internet times and the unreliable internet service was frustrating.
- The steep and multiple steps are not friendly to those with difficulty with vertigo, walking or climbing.
- The bar is a favorite among some locals and can get a bit chaotic and uncomfortable.
*Thank you to Mayoka Village for providing us with a room upgrade. As always, our opinions are ours – honest, not biased and as we experienced.