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

Mumbo Island is a pristine and deserted tropical island, and the undisputed jewel of the Lake Malawi National Park.

Mumbo Island has never been populated, and is still in its natural state with a thick covering of miombo woodland and ancient fig and baobab trees.

The waters around the island are clean and calm, and allow all guests – irrespective of fitness or experience – to enjoy sea kayaking, snorkeling and SCUBA diving. The island’s only mammals Spotted-necked Otters – are remarkably playful and regularly join guests for a snorkel or swim.


On Mumbo Island the theme is barefoot luxury – there is everything that you need and nothing that you don’t. The tiny island camp sleeps only fourteen guests in tastefully furnished chalets with shaded decks, hammocks, and en suite hot bucket showers and eco-loos. A dining room and bar, with a lovely lounge under a baobab tree, complete camp infrastructure.

The camp is built of reeds, timber, thatch and canvas. It is perched on high rocks overlooking the water and blends in with the African bush to create a Robinson Crusoe atmosphere of rustic charm. The whole of Mumbo Island lies within an exclusive concession, thus guaranteeing privacy in paradise. Mumbo Island Camp ranks amongst the finest in Malawi.


The whole camp is built of timber, thatch and canvas, and is perched on high rocks overlooking the water, blending with the African bush to create a Robinson Crusoe atmosphere of rustic charm. The whole island falls within an exclusive concession, guaranteeing privacy in paradise. Mumbo Island Camp ranks amongst the finest in Malawi.

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 by a solar pump and filtered on the island. The chalets 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.

We use as much locally grown and fished food in our menu and 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.


Mumbo Island is part of the Lake Malawi National Park. In 1980 the National Park became the first fresh-water marine reserve to be proclaimed on earth, and was declared a Natural World Heritage Site in 1984.

Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, probably well over five hundred with perhaps half occurring in the National Park area. The cichlid fish population specifically is of comparable importance in the study of evolution to the finches of the Galapagos Islands, with adaptive radiation and speciation (the actual process of evolution) taking place continuously even to this day!

Lake Malawi is unique and forms a separate bio-geographical province. It is estimated to be between three and twenty million years old. The lake is 600km long, 80km wide and over 700m deep; and is the southern extremity of the African Rift Valley.


You can go by boat, you can go by car, and you can even fly. Click the link below for detail on all these options…..

Road transfers:
Road transfers are available from the main centres in Malawi (Lilongwe and Blantyre), from nearby lodges such as Mvuu Lodge, and from the nearest airfield at Club Makokola. Driving time from Club Makokola to reception on the beach at Cape Maclear is one hour.

Mumbo Island reception is on the beach at Cape Maclear. Four-wheel drive vehicles are not required. Secure parking is available at reception.

By air:
The airlines flying to Malawi are Ethiopian Airlines, Malawian Airways and Kenya Airways. We do not offer flight bookings – please check out your options online.

By boat or yacht:
It is possible to travel straight to Mumbo Island by boat or yacht charter from, for example, Senga Bay or Likoma Island, without first going past reception on the beach at Cape Maclear. However this can only be done by prior arrangement.

Road directions to reception:
Take the M3 towards Monkey Bay. Approximately 5km short of Monkey Bay turn left at the One Stop shop onto the dirt road to Cape Maclear and the Lake Malawi National Park (this turn-off is well sign-posted, and 4×4 vehicles are not required). Follow the road for approximately 20km to the gate to the National Park. Do not enter the gate, but at the gate turn right towards the lake. Follow the road as it doubles back past the cottages and into the village. Mumbo Island reception is on your left, opposite the big baobab tree. It is well sign-posted, and secure parking is available.

Club Makokola airstrip details:
Airport code – CMK
Co-ordinates 14deg 18min 24sec South, 35deg 07min 56sec East
Height above sea level – 486m
Length – 1000m
Surface – unpaved
Day use only
Suitable aircraft turbo prop (e.g. ATR 42) or smaller.
Nearest international airport Chileka Airport, Blantyre (BLZ) or Lilongwe International (LLW).