Let’s go to the lake!

We arrived just as the sun was about to set. We wove through the village to our lodge, occasionally sneaking peeks of the lake in between the walls of shoreline houses; with goats, dogs and ducks dominating the sandy, two track road and chattering women and children silhouetted by the sunset. As we neared the lodge, the sun dipped down behind the lake islands and the sound of drums and singing filled the atmosphere. For the first time ‘the warm heart of Africa’, began to pump through my veins!

Malawi Sunset

The lake is a happy place. It has a vibe about it that is similar to the sea, yet completely different. There is no seafood, shells or crashing waves. And unlike the ocean beach life which seems to be dominated by tides, Malawi lake life seems to be centred around ‘day light hours and daily chores.’ If you wake up early enough, the beach is almost yours – except for the odd early riser! The boats can be seen bobbing in the water and ‘dug outs’ paddle out into the horizon, disappearing into the misty waters like ghosts. Early morning on the lake is a gentle start to the day.

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Water duty

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Early morning boat

Then the sun rises and like a crack of lightning, the bustle begins. The sound of clattering pots and pans being washed fills the air; the giggles of children messing about in the sand, mums scolding them, and the vendors pitching their sales talk at any tourist attempting a morning stroll!

The lake Bustle


Lake Traffic

A hopeless task

Malawi lake shoreline

That’s about when I quickly retreated to the calm of the lodge gardens for my daily caffeine fix of strong Malawian coffee. From there, we went for breakfast in our French-owned lodge ( )  and were fattened up like a flock of foie gras geese on homemade jams and sausages, proper poached eggs and waffles with creamy homemade ice-cream – and that was just for breakfast! We were fat good and ready for a lazy day on the calm Malawi lake waters; a day of sunning our pale winter skins, exploring the islands, snorkeling around the giant submerged boulders and having our toes kissed by exotic fish.

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The French chefs on Malawi lake!

Lake canoeists

Diving into blue waters

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By midday, we returned to our our french abode where we rested our tired, tomato blushed bodies and quenched our thirst with an ice cold pint of Kuche Kuche beer. We lazed around until the late afternoon then hit the beach for another round of boating and beach vendors. My husband at one stage got hooked by a couple of Malawian artists and was presented with his own private art gallery show. He came away with 2 paintings, having never been interested in buying art before!

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Girl netting

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As the sun said it’s good byes and darkness was creeping in, the music began. A young band of kids assembled on the beach and pummled their home-made drums, singing songs with words of ‘Welcome to Malawi and Hakuna Matata!’

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Our first family experience of Malawi lake has left us wanting more. And I breathe a sigh of relief! Because for the first time, I’m getting that feeling that Malawi will become home and that sometimes the first step to making a place home, is to make a memory.

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
― Sarah Dessen

9 replies »

  1. Lake Malawi, did you ever do any snorkelling there? For there is another paradise below the waves. Rocky reefs support a multitude of colourful fish, of which I have pictures. There is however, no doubt of the paradise you have captured, fantastic photos! Its a wish I was there scenario, bugs, and the wildlife in general, wow, I’d be in my element for sure. Many thanks for the virtual tour, most enjoyable! I’ll be back, sadly not to Malawi, (I wish!), but here, to this page with a link to some fishy pics. Take care, and again thanks for the journey,


  2. Glad you enjoyed a beautiful country. On your next visit, look a little deeper, where you will see how the people live, rather than just tourist spots – or read my blogs, ‘Life of Brian…in Africa’

    • Thanks for reading Brian. I’m very much looking forward to going a little deeper into the lives of Malawians, as I did with the Mozambicans during our 7 year stay. You will see if you read my blog that I like to write about many things and very often go deep into the lives of Africans…in fact that is what I mostly do! However I also like to write about my own experiences of a place and this happened to be our first trip to the lake as a family, something I felt worth sharing! Learning about the lives of Malawians is definitely on my agenda 🙂 Thanks again for reading!

  3. Love it – Lake Malawi – – just so very many memories of times gone by! I remember Cape MacClear when all you could do really was camp there! No lodges. So glad you are starting to feel the warm heart that is Malawi. So look forward to your posts. Stay well.