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“Nice place but very heavily priced”

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The Makokola Retreat
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Mangochi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 October 2010

Club Mak, as it's locally known, appealed to us so we went there for a long weekend with relatives who reside in Malawi for a few years, bringing a 1 and a 3 year old son with us.
The place is generally very clean and the staff very friendly. It is right on the lake with a broad beach. Rooms are nice and clean but a bit outdated.

The food served in the restaurant is alright in the afternoon, but in the evenings the menu to choose from shrinks to about 4 choices and the food is not particularly good.

Overall the hotel is a bit pretentious, very 80ish, probably great for Malawian standards but not worth the (huge amount of) money they charge per night (nearly US300 pppn. if from outside Malawi, excl. food!)

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank Valiebee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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107 - 113 of 122 reviews

Reviewed 16 October 2010

It is a very nice accomodation for a very high price! While the rooms are very nice the catering was below average and expensive.Housewine was sent back 3 times, choice of food was low comparing to the pricing.

We were prommised to be able to pay in euro's but the exchange rate was 10% below the bank day rate. Conclusion: a very expensive weekend.

TIP: Take a boat trip to the Island where you can see the Fish Eagle and small Cyclids.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank MarleneBlantyre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2010

As a relatively well seasoned traveller in southern and Eastern Africa I would recommend Club Mak to any one new to Africa... it's safe, immaculately kept, reliable and above all else offers the friendly service that has become synonymous with travel in Malawi.

There is freedom to be whoever you want to be at Club Mak; if you want to lark about at the pool and bar area you can, if you want to sleep on a lounger in the shade on the beautiful white sands of Lake Malawi you can do so.... if you're an adrenaline junky and want to learn to water ski this is for you and if you get bored of the lake the friendly staff are on hand to organise alternative activities including safaris and tours of local sites of interest.

Club Mak is an absolute beauty in Malawi and what's better is it is in good distance of Lilongwe, so unlike other famous spots such as Nkhotakota or Nkhata Bay, you can get there within 4 hours (ish) by car on immaculate tarmac roads from Malawi's capital.

You would not be mistaken for thinking you are in Mauritius, the Seychelles or some other golden beach paradise rather than in the landlocked African country of Malawi.

Strongly recommend the boat trip to snorkel and watch the fish eagles although if you go on the afternoon trip take a warm sweater...the boat rarely leaves on time and you will end up returning after dusk when it gets considerably chilly!

Has a great gift shop and the prices aren't so bad, but if you're strapped for cash and feeling adventurous then be sure to stop by the side of the road at one of many road side curio traders who will enjoy bartering with you to sell authentic local produce...

it's a relief that not many more people have discovered and ruined Club Mak as the rates remain relatively competitive. If you were at a similar quality resort in some of Africa's more successful countries in terms of tourism, the prices would be much much more.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank hfhtaylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2010

The scenery and activities available to your leaisure was absolutely amaizing. The food was superb, the cottage I stayed in was very private and well equiped. I was amazed that Lake Malawi was as beautiful as it is. I thought I was dreaming what the sun rose and I saw the amazing lake. It is like a tropical island withough the waves and the wind. Beautiful weather as well.

Stayed: August 2007, travelled on business
Thank Naneshka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2009

I spent a week at Club Mak and had the most fantastic time. The resort was very quiet during the week (I arrived on a Tuesday) but it got a lot busier on the Friday for the weekend, mainly with local Malawians getting away for the weekend. I was lucky enough to be able to fly into the resort from Blantyre (Air Malawi was still operating to the airstrip at Club Mak although I am told these flights have been discontinued now). To me the resort is spectacular. My superior double was well appointed and clean - no air-conditioning, but a large fan over the mosquito-net festooned bed spun lazily, keeping things cool - very Africa! The beach was literally 20 paces way, with the rooms set in gardens with lots of large shady frangipani trees. The food was excellent - set menus during the week and buffets on Friday and Saturday. Service was very good as well - one thing about the Malawian people is that they have always got a smile on their faces and nothing is too much trouble! To me Malawi, and in particular Club Mak is Africa's best kept secret. I only wish I could get there more often. For a romantic, quiet, uncommercialised getaway, I would recommend it at a heartbeat - even more so than Mauritius or Zanzibar and closer too.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled solo
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2  Thank andrejdel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2017 via mobile
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Stayed: August 2017, travelled with friends
Thank andrea9913
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: May 2016, travelled with friends
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Thank FIO27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Makokola Retreat

Address: P.O.Box 59, Mangochi, Malawi (Formerly Club Makokola)
Region: Malawi > Southern Region > Mangochi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Mangochi
Price Range: £286 - £331 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Makokola Retreat 3*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Makokola Retreat. Brilliantly green gardens reveal spacious beach villas and rooms perched along the shores of Southern Lake Malawi. We provide gracious service in an unmatched experience in Malawi. This showpiece property captures the essence of African design, culture and tradition. While staying with us, fill every moment with a sense of natural connection in our wonderful retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Makokola Retreat Hotel Mangochi
The Makokola Retreat Malawi/Mangochi

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