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The Makokola Retreat

Lake Malawi & Beach

Rating: Mid-range    

The Makokola Retreat overview

The Makokola Retreat (previously known as Club Makokola) is situated on the southern shores of Lake Malawi near Cape Maclear. This is a family-owned property whose staff aim to provide you with a real 'home from home' in this wonderful setting. There are around 50 rooms in a range of standard, superior, family rooms and suites. All rooms are en-suite and have mosquito nets.

It is set in ten acres of immaculate gardens with a large beachfront and offers a wide range of activities. There is a swimming pool, squash court, two tennis courts and a mini soccer field. The Mlambe Golf Club - a 9-hole, 3 par course, is beautifully sited adjacent to the hotel in a grove of boabab trees with spectacular water hazards to provide both experienced and amateur golfers with a challenging and enjoyable course. Staff can arrange local excursions to destinations such as Cape Maclear and the Zomba Plateau. There's a great choice of water-based activities, too: you can go sailing, waterskiing and snorkelling, explore by canoe or take a sppedboat trip to islands in the lake. 

M.V. Sunbird is the hotel's 24 metre cruiser, used for trips on the lake. Equipped with bar, kitchen, sundeck and toilets the boat can accommodate 20 passengers for a day cruise and can sleep up to 8 overnight. Routes vary in length with the longest taking you through the southern arm of the lake into the Shire River, past the historic village of Mangochi and through Lake Malombe and on to Liwonde National Park. The cruise takes around 6 hours, The upper sundeck provides an excellent opportunity for game viewing over the reed banks into the park.

Photographs courtesy Malawi Travel Marketing


Open: The Makokola Retreat is open all year.

Location: The hotel is on the banks of southern Lake Malawi. It is just north of Mangochi, facing Boadzulu Island. The Retreat has its own airstrip, reached by a 20 minute flight from both Lilongwe and Blantyre.

Rooms: There are 48 rooms. These consist of chiefs villa, 9 lake villas, 26 beach rooms (11 larger rooms, 13 twins and 2 doubles) and 12 family rooms. All rooms have mosquito nets, tea and coffee makers and are cooled by fans. Chiefs villa has 2 en-suite bedrooms, 1 king and 1 with 2 singles, a lounge, minibar and a beach-facing garden with sun loungers. Each of the lake villas accommodates up to 2 adults in 1 king bedroom, en-suite bathroom, siting area and a private veranda with 2 chairs. The larger beach rooms sleep up to 4 people and make good family accommodation, while the twins and doubles sleep 2. All have a private bathroom and terrace with chairs. Every family room has 2 single beds and 4 bunk beds, a shower room and terrace overlooking the garden.

Activities: Water-based activities include snorkelling, wakeboarding, waterskiing, canoeing, kneeboarding, parasailing and sailing. Speedboats can be hired for independent exploration, and you can join a boat cruise to nearby islands. M V Sunbird is the hotel’s 24-metre boat which can be chartered for half-day and full day and an even overnight cruise to Liwonde National Park. On land there are opportunities for bird watching, golf, tennis, squash, beach volleyball, bowls and a range of excursions. You can go for leisurely walks in the gardens where you can see birds, monkeys and squirrels.

Facilities: The Retreat has gardens, an outdoor swimming pool and a beach. There is a restaurant and a bar. The Lake Spa offers massages, beauty treatments and reflexology in 5 treatment rooms in the gardens. Miambe 9-hole golf course is adjacent to the hotel.

Dining: There is a choice of Malawian, Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. There are indoor and outdoor dining areas.

Children: Children of all ages are welcome. There are family rooms. Children’s meals can be arranged.

Health: This is a malarial area.

Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access through the property.

Notes: The Makokola Retreat was formerly known as Club Makokola, or ‘Club Mak’.

Map for The Makokola Retreat

Lodge IconLodge Yacht IconVessel Tented Camp IconCamp Hotel IconHotel National Park IconNational Park Historic site IconHistoric site Place of Interest IconPlace of Interest UNESCO world heritage site IconUNESCO heritage site

Amanda Marks
Tracy Edwards
Christine MacDougall
Sinead Bailey
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customer rating

85% from
2 reviews











client reviews

Perry Rooke

"Good room with mosquito nets. Big clean beach. Good recreational facilities. Had a great speedboat trip round the island. Good pool. Nice food but we unfortunately had picked up stomach bugs, so weren't able to eat much. Staff very helpful. Drawbacks - power cuts at night & pool a bit noisy."

Julie Croucher, Tribes
"This is a large hotel on a great beach.  Most of our clients prefer the smaller lodges and islands which are much more authentic and Malawian in style. Club Mak has a big local following, so try and avoid weekends and holidays here!  The setting is superb with a lovely beach and plenty of activities available.  Well suited for families wanting a main stream hotel."



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