"Backpacking in Cape Maclear" Cape Maclear by georeiser

Cape Maclear Travel Guide: 72 reviews and 267 photos

Cape Maclear and Chembe village is a community with almost 13000 inhabitants on the north-western tip of the Nankumba penisula. It looks much smaller due to the basic infrastructure. The main road is just a dusty gravel road. Cape Maclear looks like a real beach resort, althought it's a lake. The long, sandy beach is beautiful. There are resorts and bamboo huts directly on the beach. The locals are apparently living in harmony with the tourists. They are doing their daily routines, wash their clothes, make food and have their small dugout canoes and fishingsboats right beside the tourists. Small children plays around on the beach. The African people are musical people. Especially in the morning you can hear the women sing when they are washing clothes. It gives a genuine African feeling. The evenings are also like this when the locals gather on the beach. Sitting on a chair and watch the sunset is really nice. It is understandable that backbackers have had Cape Maclear as one of their hidden gems.

You can easily see the western side of the lake from Cape Maclear. The nortern side is just water as far as you can see. But some small islands cover the view to the north.

It looks so beautiful and relaxed. A real backpackers paradise. But when you have a closer look you find out that it isn't too nice to take a bath in the same water as people wash their clothes and wash-up after dinners. Some places of the beach has a bad smell. And it doesn't make it better to know that calm freshwater in Africa normally carries the parasite which cause the disease "bilharzia".

Mud huts with a grass roof are often used in Malawi. This house was right at the beach.
The houses are made of wooden poles from trees. Then you make a circle of them about 3-4 metres across. Add twigs running horizontally round the poles and slap wet mud over it. Then add roof of grass, banana leaves or whatever you can find.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Genuine African village, beautiful sunset and nice beach
  • Cons:Overpriced tourists activities
  • Last visit to Cape Maclear: Aug 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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