We included Malawi in our list of countries to visit because many friends who had been there said about this specific place: The Mayoka Village, a hotel as well as a camping site located in Nkhata Bay, by the lake Malawi. We had high expectations when arrived and, even so, we could not believe our eyes when we saw it.
The Mayoka Village was opened in 1999 by Garry, from South Africa, and Kathryn, from England. At the beginning, both of them only had the equivalent of US$3 thousand and the willingness to live and explore Malawi for ever. After 16 years, the land they bought with that money became an amazing lodge which blends comfortable constructions (rustic though) with nature. The atmosphere of this place is different from everything we have seen so far…
To begin with, Mayoka Village has its doors always opened to the local community unlike many other places we have been, which shows a clear division between what is done for tourism and what is done for locals. The couple has also the environment as their priority. They have compost toilets (which works without water/flush and turns excrements into fertilisers), conservation and reuse of water, utilisation of organic ingredients from their own plantation, they buy other ingredients and vegetables from small farmers and provide a fair payment for their employees, amongst other sustainable actions.
Garry and Kathryn work directly with the community and help them as much as they can to improve the quality of life of the people around them. More recently, tired of the lack of quality education around the area, they decided to open a primary school for their three children, their workers’ and some of the neighbour’s children from the village with financial difficulties to study. Both of them pay for the fee of all the children (11 in total) and the school works with a full time Malawian teacher and an international volunteer, more rotative. In fact, they are looking for volunteers to help them out in this project, but we will provide more info about it in another post… Just to let you know in advance: it involves to help the community, to live in the hotel with accommodation and food paid for, as well as be part of the incredible Mayoka Village family.
The hotel offers snorkelling, canoes, paddling boards, boat rides and lot more all for free. Also, it is quite hard to not be led into temptation to extend your staying for a few more months. The place has an absolutely tranquility and peace (even though the bar becomes easily a place to party during the weekends) which ends up making backpackers into short-time tenants.
Anyway, here it is a place which served as an inspiration in all aspects, in business as well as with their ideas, innovation and character. We leave Mayoka Village after 6 days immersed into this atmosphere and head to get to know the rest of Malawi!