Following on from Saturdays report on Mvuu Lodge in the Liwonde National Park, we travel about three hours north west by boat and car onto Lake Malawi itself and Cape Maclear. Here lies probably the best watersports destination on the lake, Danforth Lodge.
Run by the husband and wife team of Howard and Michelle Massey Hicks, this is a relaxed destination to lie by the beach or preferably, to practise and learn a new water based activity. Howard imported at some cost and tribulation (he will regale you with an epic tale) the largest catamaran on the lake, the Mufasa. With four double cabins, you can cruise the lake with either Howard or yourself as the skipper. The views and sunsets are magnificent. If you want to get some more beach R and R, there are windsurfers and canoes available as well as child friendly pedalos. This is also a fully licensed and equipped dive school, where you can earn PADI scuba certification. Last but not least, there is a water ski boat equipped to teach absolute beginners.
If is all sounding a bit too earnest, Danforth enjoys (thanks to Michelle) probably the best cuisine in Malawi. She not only cooks with enthusiasm but has shared her considerable skills with the local villagers in an attached cooking school. The alumni of her small academy are now working at lodges and hotels throughout the country. Local ingredients are obviously key and she uses many of the local fish found in the lake from tilapia to kampango.
The rooms are more homely and unpretentious than luxury but are entirely in keeping with such a low key atmosphere. With the buildings and pool set back slightly from the beach, you will enjoy stunning vistas of the lake and surrounding islets. There are various packages on offer depending on the level of activity you wish to partake in and you will be at home here whether you are on a family holiday or on a romantic getaway.
Make no mistake, despite it being a small eight room lodge, it is extremely well run. Everything from the food to the immaculate lawns and to the highly professional water sports instruction is perfect. You could visit more luxurious and glamorous lodges on the lake but for value for money and for sheer relaxation, you could find little better than Danforth.
Danforth Lodge and Yachting Malawi by Nicolas Edwards