Accommodation Review: Blue Zebra Island Lodge, Malawi

An island paradise in Lake Malawi National Park, Blue Zebra Island Lodge is an essential part of any Malawi itinerary. Offering superb service, fabulous food and all the water-based activities you could wish for, you will not want to leave its stunning sandy beaches. Accommodation is extremely comfortable and Blue Zebra offers true “barefoot luxury”…

Vital stats:

Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Number of rooms: 10
  • 4 Lake Safari Tents
  • 2 Executive Chalets
  • 2 Executive Family Chalets
  • 1 Superior Family Cottage
Opening dates: 1st March – 31st January
Suggested length of stay: Three nights +
Getting there: The drive from Lilongwe takes about two hours, and is then followed by a ten-minute boat trip to the island itself.
 
Here is a video:

Location, location, location?

Blue Zebra Island Lodge is located on Nankoma Island, a part of the Marelli Island archipelago on Lake Malawi. The island is protected as a part of Lake Malawi National Park.

Lake Malawi is a UNESCO Heritage Site and an area of exceptional natural beauty and an outstanding example of biological evolution. The lake is considered to be a separate bio-geographical province and estimated as home to the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, including over 350 species of cichlid fish.

Oh and in case you were wondering about the name, a Blue Zebra is a type of fish…

Here’s a quick drone video I made during my all-too-brief stay:

Rooms

The 10 rooms are divided into 4 categories – the Safari Tents, Executive Chalets and Executive Family Chalets are all tented rooms whereas the Superior Family Cottage Safari is a large, brick-built house.

All accommodation is en-suite.

The grounds are beautiful and well-tended.

I was extremely fortunate to stay in the Superior Family Cottage, which I shared with my buddy Eusebio. To say we had enough space would be somewhat of an understatement.

Eusebio’s room had a double bed and two singles (the latter are added on request) and mine had a queen-sized double.

The main room was enormous, with plenty of space in which to relax. All beds have mosquito nets.

Beds were very comfortable and it was no problem falling asleep to the sound of the waves below.

The master bedroom had a large corner bath, while my bathroom was spacious with a powerful shower.

The design throughout was bright and inviting.

The main bedroom also had a separate shower.

There is a huge terrace along the whole of the side of the building with a large dining table. You can have your meals here or just enjoy your morning coffee or evening sundowner with an incredible view.

This is the Superior Family Cottage as seen from the air (yes, I had my drone with me).

A full range of quality bathroom ameneties are provided and water pressure in both showers was excellent.

There was also a shared main area consisting of a large lounge with a kitchenette, large fridge and sofa/seating area.

Food and drink

Usual board basis: Full board excluding drinks

We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at Blue Zebra, all of which were excellent. The food at the property is a major draw, and their chef manages to give some Malawian classics a different twist. Lunch was chosen from the menu, and dinner was a three-course meal.

Breakfast options include a continental breakfast buffet and cooked breakfast to order (eggs, sausages, bacon, vegetarian). Coffee was – as is generally the case in Malawi as a coffee-growing country – excellent. Tea is too – and is also grown here. 

The dining area is large and offers indoor and outdoor seating areas.

Dining arrangement: Individual tables

Dining locations: Indoor and outdoor dining

When it gets dark, it gets really dark so it’s a good idea to have a torch or mobile phone to read the cocktail menu at the swimming pool bar. Of course the barman will help you out

Activities

There is plenty to do at the lodge. The infinity pool is a good place to start, with its amazing views and well-stocked bar.

It’s a great place to gaze across the lake and contemplate how lucky you are to be staying here.

A gazebo at the end of the jetty offers more privacy for enjoying a drink and a perfect place to enjoy a romantic meal.

The beach area is well-kept and inviting. The water is generally calm and never cold.

Kayaking and snorkelling are justifiably popular activities and the lodge has a good fleet of kayaks.

A meeting room is also available – not a bad place for a mini conference, I would imagine.

You can also make use of the volleyball facilities or use the area for badminton.

You will hardly be surprised to hear that most of the activities take place on the water. As well as the aforementioned kayaking and snorkelling, all of which are included in the rate, you can scuba-dive during certain times of the year, try your hand at water-skiing, tubing, wakeboarding or take a number of different boat cruises. These cost extra, as do spa treatments for the less seeking less action.

We took a boat trip which is highly recommended, as is the sunset cruise.

The technical stuff

Power supply: Generator – the power is on from 0700–1000 and 1730–2200.

Communications: WiFi is free for guests in public areas but is not always available as the island is some distance from the mainland and the mobile signal is weak. It’s easy to forget about the internet here anyway.

Health, safety and security

Water supply notes: Drinking water is filtered and boiled and safe, you can always buy bottled water instead.

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Service

We found service to be friendly and professional at all times.

Conclusion:

An island paradise in Lake Malawi National Park, Blue Zebra Island Lodge is an essential part of any Malawi itinerary. Offering superb service, fabulous food and all the water-based activities you could wish for, you will not want to leave its stunning sandy beaches. Accommodation is extremely comfortable and Blue Zebra offers true “barefoot luxury”…

Blue Zebra Island Lodge is also very good value and has a broad range of activities for visitors.

Check out our Ultimate Zambia and Malawi Experience which includes Blue Zebra Island Lodge