Ulisa Bay on Lakoma Island in Lake Malawi was my break – 5 slothful days away from the arduous off-track route from Tanzania to Mozambique, via small boats and dusty, broken roads traversing the surrounds of Lake Malawi.

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Looking to tiny Ulisa Bay on Lokoma Island

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Ulisa Bay dusk view from lodge restaurant balcony

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Kids dwarfed by ancient Baobab trees on Lakoma Island; Red fishing nets – spread like a squid

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Woman carrying mud-bricks; Every morning birds on mass partying – wondrously-noisy nests of a finch colony and occasional fishing eagles in trees next to my bungalow. But also Cormorants and Storks on the lake shore; and also a Hawk sparring mid-air in crazy dog-fights with large Raven.

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Sunset and looking towards another island – that also belongs to Malawi and like Lakoma, it is actually located within the territorial waters of Mozambique’s side of Lake Malawi.

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Boys in surf of Ulisa bay, playing up for the camera

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Vodka sunset …  mostly I drank the day away on my balcony or nearby – desaturating from the journey and loving the environment; and drinking nightly together with a chilled, young SA (South African) couple. Journalist  – breaking corruption, getting threats;  she a fashion designer. Both from Jo’burg. Dusk to late sessions of everything alcoholic.  One evening – them elevated on San Pedro – drinking on the small sand beach waves rocks – stars – shooting the shit, loving nature and the universe … Look up: Malawi is known locally as the Lake of Stars.

Travel Advice for Ulisa Bay – Lakoma Island, Lake Malawi

The only accommodation at the bay is Ulisa Bay Lodge, ran by Chris, a sincere, middle-aged Englishman who has fully integrated within the community, including language, low-key locally-inclusive business, Malawi wife and kid.

Usual transport is via a twice weekly-ferry (check locally, as the schedules are prone to changes). Phone ahead / email / organize with the lodge a pick-up vehicle to Ulisa Bay, as it’s a meandering 2.5 km from the ferry point.

NOTE: this is not a sponsored post or written for freebies. I only encountered this place by chance – late on arrival early evening on the ferry, I met the SA couple, who said tag along with them, as I had no plans as to where to stay on this island of very limited accommodation options.

UBL was a new, brilliant choice on the island – and the only place in Ulisa Bay; so I mention it. Beautifully scenic and tranquil location – yet near chilled village action, tasty food, great service, simple amenities with thoughtful extras. And cheapish, for a backpacker @ $20 a room. Of the other two lodges on Lakona: one is expensive and upmarket  and the other exceedingly elitist.

Regular readers know: I never single out places to stay and other commercial BS. But here I will make an exception and say that Ulisa Bay was my favourite chill-out spot across this entire, most-recent trans-Africa trip.

Travels in Malawi – 2013

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