Nkhata Bay: Mayoka Village
Get There: From the town centre, it’s a very doable 10 – 15 minute walk to Mayoka. If you can’t be bothered walking, every taxi and boat knows the hostel: jump in one and the hostel will pay the driver for you on arrival – their version of a “free transfer”.
Cost: Ranges up to about $30 a night for the top rooms, but $8 gets you a really nice 2-person hut right on the lake – and dorms/tenting’ll set you back even less at $5. Score.
Free Breaky: No
Free WiFi: Yes
Of all the laid back and ridiculously cheap hobo havens dotted along Lake Malawi, Mayoka Village is ass-up, no questions asked the greatest. While there’s not much to do in the sleepy lake town of Nkhata Bay, an eclectic mix of guests and a regular crowd of Rastafarian locals around the bar means that in one night you can get annihilated by Malawian pool sharks, get high with Israeli fisherman, dance on aforementioned pool table to some home grown reggae and talk philosophy with Spain’s answer to James Franco – all without leaving the comfort of the lodge. There’s very little that the super chilled out staff and owners disapprove of, and the Friday night all-you-can-eat and massive Sunday pizzas (both MK2000/$6) are worth the food babies and subsequently decreased chance of picking up ten times over, especially if you’ve been living on an African diet of tomatoes and maize mush for as long as I had. If you can tear yourself out of bed early enough, dawn swims or snorkels (free rental!) out on the lake – with the local fishermen coming out on their canoes and no one else but a couple of curious fish to have to exchange morning pleasantries with – will knock your dirt-encrusted socks off.