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“Big homey camp site”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Mabuya Camp

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Mabuya Camp
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Big homey camp site”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2014

Large, cool place to stay. The most popular spot in Lilongwe. Decent food, very friendly owners and helpful staff. Wifi available to buy, pool, cool dorms. We stayed here during City of Stars Festival and was a great party, vibe. A bit pricier than other local places but is safe and well maintained.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Katie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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209 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    75
    56
    38
    25
    15
See reviews for
8
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15
Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ludlow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
175 reviews
110 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 February 2014

I have just stayed in this camp for one night as part of a Dragoman tour. I upgraded to a cabin, which had two single beds, and not much else, even the door would not remain closed unless locked from the out or inside. As oon as we arrived the camp depressed me, since it was muddy, and our guide said the last time he had been there the tents had been invaded by ants, which happened again to our campers, who were unable to sleep in their tents due to the ants. It was the worst camp we stayed in, and put me in a dark mood. If you have another choice, take it, and definately do not camp, unless you like ants. The chalet I had backed onto the main road, and was incredibly noisy.The shower and toilet were next to the bar, and were shared with men and women, but had no where to hang any clothes, and you could see through the doors. I cannot think of anything good about this place, sorry.

Room Tip: Dont go, use another camp
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Diane D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Lilongwe hotels

Tirana, Albania
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 February 2014

We just returned from almost a week at Mabuya Camp and we were very happy with everything! there are several levels of accommodations available, but we chose to stay in one of the "en-suite" rooms. The room was nice and clean when we came in and it was nice to have our own bathroom and shower. Mosquito nets over the twin beds kept us protected at night as well. A fan in the room would have been nice, but we managed alright without one. We were actually part of a large group, most of whom were in their own tents, and even with 50 of us there, the place didn't seem cramped. Other patrons came and went through out the week and the services never faltered.

The food was great - so good in fact that we ate most of our meals there. All of the staff that we interacted with were very helpful and friendly. Tom and Janey, the owners, are awesome. Hopefully we will be able to come back in the future and see more of Malawi, and when we do, our first couple of nights will be spent at Mabuya!

Room Tip: If you are tent camping, be prepared for ants!
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mattalbman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
71 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 February 2014

Mabuya Camp stands out in Lilongwe as still offering budget accommodation in a city where that is hard to find. We had requested for them to arrange an airport transfer and was great to be met after 36 hours in transit to Malawi . We were greeted with a smiling cheerful local woman at reception who made us feel welcomed. (The young local guys who work the bar and others who come in from the town to drink later in the day are tres cool but are helpful and will also smile once you get to know them.)

We stayed at Mabuya Camp twice, both before and after our month long safari in our own tent at Wildlife Camp South Luangwa in Zambia. After long days of intercontinental travel on the way in on the way out we were glad to be able to walk into the center of Lilongwe from Mabuya and purchase some supplies for our upcoming safari . (Though we had read online that a local safari operator my do transfers we found out from Mabuya that this was not the case. We arranged our own transfer to Wildlife Camp in Zambia online through Mophy's Budget Safari Tours http://budgetsafaritours.com/

Mophy is a local Zambian with contacts in Malawi so a taxi picked us up at Mabuya Camp and took us to the border, helped us schlep our four duffles with our camping equipment through the gate where Mophy met us and took us in his mini-van on to Wildlife Camp. One can travel the same route with taxis and mini buses but will take longer....)

Some reviewers have been harsh, so will say this upfront --this is a backpackers camp people, not a 5 star Hotel. But that's why its so valuable, it supports those who have a smaller budget for travel. When we were there the tropical plants including huge jacaranda were blooming so it was quite beautiful as well.

Mabuya Camp is built on a property that was once colonial government homes, so it has some history. Though the nearby roads are busy what we liked is was that it still felt safe and was functional place to relax and party for a couple of days or more before continuing the adventure! Yes, it can get a little loud in the bar when a game is going on or outside the walls in the street at night but that's what ear plugs are for! :)

Having stayed in backpackers all over the world we more than happy with Mabuya Camp services: gated security, wi fi time for sale, on site cafe, bar, basic kitchen for guest use, onward transport info and more.

Camping is allowed if you want to depend on your own tent for mosquito protection like we have found to be the best, but they have rustic thatched cabins and stucco rooms with mosquito nets for rent as well. Because of our long flights we opted to not set our tent up and splurge on both of their types of room. They were in the process of rethatching the roofs at that time.

Mabuya Camp has a lived in comfortable feel of a welcome urban tropical oasis with verandas and a chill swimming pool area to hang out but still is 20- 30 minute walking distance to the heart of the city.


Buying your meal tickets at reception allowed the cooks to concentrate on prepping and getting the food orders in a timely fashion over at the cafe. The food in the cafe was tasty, the restroom facilities worked, the travel information was spot on.

See more info about our experiences shopping for supplies etc at http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/malonetravels2/7/1377915061/tpod.html

The owners Tom and Janey are hard working and on the move when there but will take time to answer questions with a smile. Its obvious that they are well traveled themselves and enjoy assisting others.

And that's worth a great deal.

We look forward to returning to our 'home away from home in Lilongwe, the rough and ready Mabuya Camp. Rock on !

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank malonetravels2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bozeman, Montana
Level Contributor
36 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 January 2014

The initial impression of the facilities is positive, but clearly there is no attention to detail. The walls of the common rooms are grungy, the seating will leave you wanting to take a shower, and the bedding a little under par.

The mosquito nets were the type that gathered in a hoop at the top, and would not drape around the bed, but rather on it so that the mosquitoes could bite you through the net.

We actually set up our tent in the A-frame we stayed in.

The showers were adequate and warm. The pool did look clean and inviting.

The staff was helpful, but not necessarily very friendly. Interesting crowd hanging around.

I'd stay here again because I don't think there were very many value options in the capital, but I would camp on their lawn (which is available).

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank skiigod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 January 2014

Spent many days and nights at Mabuya during long stay in Lilongwe and found the people (management, staff and other travellers) to be wonderfully friendly, as expected at a backpackers, and the atmosphere was great, especially with the bar and pool. The place is run by a lovely couple with two adorable kids who will help you sorting out any questions!

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gina V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montagu, South Africa
Level Contributor
55 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2014 via mobile

We stayed in a frame accommodation three nights ago. It was geared towards younger people I assume. As the bathrooms were totally open an a passage for all to walk through an there are no tables or places to dress dry yourself when you come out of shower. The toilets should habe decent doors for privacy.
The nets did have holes an we fought all night with mozzies. The bar an sitting area is right next to rooms so people keep u awake till late talking an shouting.
The rooms I found at 250 rand a person rather expensive for what they were.
Perhaps for overseas people this is acceptable...but I compared it with Miyorca village in Nycarta Bay (spell?) Were we were greeted at the dispatching off the boat an taken with a taxi to the village for free...helped with our bags by smiling staff..offered tea and treated like VIP at a lesser price...rooms were lovely an clean...here we felt like we were not really guests.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Venus768
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mabuya Camp

Property: Mabuya Camp
Address: Livingstone Road, Lilongwe Private Bag A 54, Malawi (Formerly Kiboko Camp)
Region: Malawi > Central Region > Lilongwe
Amenities:
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 46 Speciality Lodging in Lilongwe
Hotel Class:1 star — Mabuya Camp 1*
Number of rooms: 19

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