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“5 star location at budget price”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Sambani Lodge

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Sambani Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Chinteche B&B and Inns
London
Level Contributor
1 review
“5 star location at budget price”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2009

I stayed at Sambani with friends midway through our Malawian roadtrip and I didn’t want to leave. Sambani has its own postcard-perfect, hut-dotted beach flanked by small fishing communities and an abundance of mango trees. What I loved about Sambani is that I didn’t feel penned in by the boundaries of a tourist resort and as a tourist I didn’t feel like we were encroaching upon the local people or environment.

There was a very random mixture of guests including a group of nuns, delegates from a medical conference, other travellers and Malawians on holiday, but this did make for some interesting conversations in the bar. This is a very friendly chilled out place with enough space and beach to be as sociable or reclusive, noisy or quiet and active or lazy as you want. We swam in the freshwater lake, played football, netball and volleyball with some of the local kids, lazed on the beach, played frisbee in the water, walked along the beach at sunrise to watch the fishermen coming back with the first catch of the day and used the BBQ to full potential.

My time in Malawi marked the end of a three month backpacking trip and so I was very much travelling on a budget and was pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced and affordable the whole stay was. I felt completely safe camping next to the beach for about £2 a night, with basic but adequate toilet and shower facilities. The food is also basic but tasty and good value for money. As a travelling vegetarian used to all the cultural difficulties and awkwardness that entails, I really appreciated how accommodating the kitchen staff were. And I thoroughly recommend their vegetable curry!

Some of Sambani’s services are not well advertised and you do have to ask, but on enquiry we learned it was very possible to hire to wooden canoes, be paddled out to the island and hire a snorkel. Another tip: arrange to view paintings. Sambani was the best place to buy and bargain for paintings and small crafts because a couple of the local artists are very friendly with the owners’ family.

Not somewhere you go if you need glamour and luxury, but if you want to experience everything that Lake Malawi’s pure unadulterated beauty has to offer, it doesn’t get much better than this.

  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Amme1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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14 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2009

I stayed at Sambani Lodge with a group of friends for a few days whilst we were travelling through Malawi. The lodge is set in a truly beautiful spot on the shore of Lake Malawi. The golden sand and the size of the lake make it easy to mistake for a Caribbean beach resort, but because its fresh water you don't have to wash the salt out of your hair.
The lodge itself was really quite basic (the rooms are split into chalet blocks of 2 or 4) and the decor could have done with a lick of paint in places, but the room I stayed in was always clean and I was outside most of the time anyway.
The food was also on the basic side, but it was more traditional African fare and there was plenty of it so that was fine by me. The staff also came to find you on the beach to take your order which was a nice touch. THere wasalso an unlimited supply on mangos from the trees surrounding the lodge which you can help yourself to.
The main down point on the catering was a lack of tonic to go with the excellent local gin, although I think this was a supply problem across the region.
The icing on the cale was that for 3 nights with 3 meals a day and beers cost just over $60! If you care more about the location and just need clean simple accommodation you can't go wrong really.

  • Liked — The location
  • Disliked — A little delapidated in places
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Youg29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 January 2009

Sambani Lodge is one of those locations which is beautiful without having to flaunt. Set in a most sought after location on the banks of Lake Malawi, Sambani Lodge was a treat for myself and travel companions weary from a few days on the road. The quiet but dynamic ambience is felt throughout the establishment grounds, which literally spill over onto the white sands of the lake.

Rooms are fairly priced and provide a value for money place to rest your head and recuperate. With a fully licensed and stocked bar, the only thing lacking was tonic when we were there - although this was apparently a problem with Malawi country wide at that time. Meals will keep you sustained for any beach volleyball or for the less energetic, sunbathing, you may want to participate in. Be warned though, you may well become an attraction for delightfully inquisitive local children who are only too eager to play! Magical!

We stayed at Sambani Lodge in December 2008, and we had a truly wonderful time with friends that we knew and new ones that we made there!

  • Liked — The views of lake
  • Disliked — No tonic for our gin!
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank NotTravelScope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Sambani Lodge

Property: Sambani Lodge
Address: 89 Box, Chinteche, Malawi
Region: Malawi > Northern Region > Chinteche
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Chinteche
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sambani Lodge is a lakeside hotel, guesthouse and hostel retreat for local, international and budget visitors. We invite and welcome families, backpackers and travelers who wish to discover the unspoiled Lake Malawi beaches and hospitality Sambani Lodge has to offer. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sambani Lodge Malawi/Chinteche

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