We spent two nights at Domwe Island which is 2 kms offshore from Cape Maclear. Domwe Island is a basic but simply stunning island with some incredible views of Lake Malawi. It’s quirky and was perhaps our favourite of the Lake Malawi Accommodation we stayed at.
To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect from Domwe Island but I’d read some of the tripadvisor reviews of Domwe Island and as it consistently gets 5 star reviews I knew it was somewhere I wanted to visit.
Domwe Island is the largest unpopulated island in Lake Malawi, with a circumference of 11km and a highest point 400m above lake level. It is separated from the mainland by the narrow Ilala Gap which, due to fluctuations in lake level over the millennia, has been dry on several occasions. This means that unlike all other Lake Malawi islands, it is populated with mammals which have crossed onto the island during these dry times, including some large pigs which live out the back of the kitchen!
Domwe Island Adventure Camp is basic yes, but not all together so. You can either choose to stay in a tent with comfortable beds or bring your own tent and camp on wooden decks under a thatched roof. Each of the decks is large enough for two regular-sized dome tents. You can even hire a tent, mattress and bedding from Kayak Africa.We stayed in two of the tents to the left of the small beach area and this is the view from the hammock outside our tent!
Domwe Island Adventure camp is run on a self-catered basis, with guests making use of the kitchen facilities to prepare their own meals and is fully stocked with fridges, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery. The kitchen does however also have two full-time staff members, and you can arrange for them to cater for you which is what we did. There is a honesty bar for drinks in the dining area. We actually couldn’t believe the quality of the food the kitchen team made for us simply cooking on a small gas stove with provisions brought in from the mainland. We had fabulous pizza, pasta and full breakfasts! They even managed to make food that the girls would eat without complaint too!
The tents share a couple of compost toilets which were amazingly clean and un-smelly. I was genuinely impressed with how well they were looked after. All composted material is removed from the island, buried in pits for a year and then used as great compost for Kayak Africa gardens on the mainland. Meaning as little environmental impact to Domwe Island as possible.
There is also a single shared shower on the Island but I didn’t actually hear that bit of the talk from the island team so went a bit rustic whilst we were there.
The sunset spot which is quite tricky to get to for small people (up a rope ladder and a scramble over rocks) but it is however have one of the most amazing sunset spots I’ve ever been to.
You can get out to to Domwe Island by boat or by kayak. With little ones we didn’t consider kayaking but it is a good 4-5km out to the beach where you beach, so make sure you are fit enough if you want to try it – or you can do what we did and simply kayak when we got there.
The kids ran freely whilst we were on Domwe Island and loved swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, cards, games, reading and rock climbing. Good old fashioned fun. The snorkelling was really cute with some lovely colourful fish but it was the simplicity of island living that we really got caught up in. Seeing the kids enjoy the simple things in life and enjoying some special moments together watching the stars and the sunset was truly memorable.
Definitely Lake Malawi Accommodation that we would highly recommend!
NB: We were hosted on Domwe Island by Kayak Africa but all views and opinions are my own.