What is Domwe Island all about? Everything you need to know!

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.

As a result Domwe Island, unlike all other Lake Malawi islands, is well populated with mammals which have crossed onto the island during these dry times.

Domwe Island is part of the Lake Malawi National Park.


Domwe Island Adventure Camp is basic yet exclusive. It lies behind a small beach on the island’s west side. The camp is run on a self-catered basis, with guests making use of the kitchen facilities to prepare their own meals. The kitchen has two full-time staff members, and is fully stocked with fridges, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery.

Accommodation consists of three fully-furnished safari tents and two tent sites, complemented by a dining area with bar and a water sport gazebo. Domwe Island Camp is managed by Kayak Africa.


On Domwe, our challenge was to make as little environmental impact as possible in order to maintain the pristine nature of the island. There is no electricity, so lighting is by solar, paraffin lamps and wind-up torches. Toilets are dry composter loos and all composted material is removed from the island, buried in pits for a year and then used as great compost on our gardens on the mainland.

All kitchen waste is separated and taken back to the mainland to either be used in the compost or to be burned or recycled. Cooking is done on gas or rocket stove; water is pumped from the lake and chlorinated on the island. The tents and thatched decks they stand on could be removed and within on cycle of seasons, not a trace would remain of their ever being there. The wood and thatch for the decks is sourced in Malawi from local and sustainable sources, not rare hard woods.

All our staff are from the local village – five of whom are now managers of the company. We use only locally made decor as far as possible, making a lot of the furniture in our carpentry workshop or sourcing it from local cane weavers. We cover all the cushions in chitenje fabric bought in the fabric markets of Lilongwe and the covers are sewn by our village tailor. The faded covers are then made into clothes for the vulnerable children of the village.

We support local community initiatives wherever we can and have our own staff micro-loan scheme.


Guests can choose between the different accommodation options; whether to boat or kayak out to the island; and can hire a range of equipment at reception as required. Click here for accommodation rates.

The fully-furnished safari tents
There are three fully-furnished safari tents in the camp. Each tent has two beds, and an additional two mattresses can be hired for each tent.

The basic tent sites
These consist of wooden decks with a thatch roof. Each deck is large enough for two regular-sized dome tents. You can bring your own tent or hire one of ours. Mattresses and bedding can also be hired.

Getting to the island
There are two options – by boat or by kayak. If you kayak out but still require a boat to carry your food and gear, then the boat fee will be payable.

Gear rental
Sea kayaks, snorkeling gear and dry bags can be hired from us as required.

Food shopping
Basic supplies and some fresh produce are available in the village at Cape Maclear. Monkey Bay (25km away) has a basic supermarket where most simple goods are available. In Lilongwe and Blantyre there are large, modern supermarkets with a full range of goods.

If you are using a Kayak Africa transfer to get to Cape Maclear we will make a shopping-stop at the best available store en route.