Danforth Lodge: Our full report
Danforth Lodge is situated on the southern shore of Lake Malawi, Africa's third-largest lake, in a beautiful spot called Cape Maclear - on a peninsula, surrounded almost completely by the lake. It's a superb scuba-diving area.
The beaches are pristine and white, and children from the local fishing villages play in the shallow waters of the lake.
When we visited in September 2007, we loved Danforth. The lodge is owned and run superbly by Howard and Michelle Massey-Hicks, and the team there are friendly and welcoming – you can expect a high level of pampering here! The lodge has a relaxed feel and a good ambience.
Danforth Lodge has four beautifully designed en-suite rooms, all facing directly on to the lawn and then the beach. The rooms are arranged in a row each side of the reception, and decorated with a nautical theme. Large, comfortable double beds with blue mosquito nets, plenty of storage and a good library in each room add to the comfort. The ;arge bathrooms are well stocked and each has a bath and separate shower. A selection of toiletries is provided for each guest.
Through the reception you will come to the main part of the lodge – a large lawned area with an enormous brand new 'chitenje' (thatched, open-sided area) with a comfortable seating area, bar and dining table, although (weather permitting) guests can usually dine out under the stars.
On the opposite side of the lawn is the dive centre – also a thatched building with a large number of dive equipment sets (all very new) and a pool table in the middle. Steps from this room lead down to the beach. In the centre of the lawn is a trampoline, and several of the trees have hammocks.
The beach forms the front of the lodge and is easily reachable. A nice touch that Howard and Michelle have made is a row of mats leading up the beach to the lawn, and a footbath to wash the sand from your feet – very welcome!
Activities at the lodge centre around the water-sports that are on offer – the lodge is an accredited PADI dive centre complete with dive instructor (Howard is also a Divemaster) and has a wide range of extremely good diving equipment. During one dive we were taken to a site called “The Aquarium" and – at 18 metres – we turned to look upwards, and estimated that at least 7,000 fish were swimming around us. It was amazing!
Howard and Michelle also own a large ocean-going catamaran, Mufasa, which can be chartered for longer trips up and down the lake, and also for short trips close to the bay. This is an amazing boat – 38 feet long and almost as wide, with plenty of space inside and outside and a dive balcony at the back. State of the art controls mean the boat can be used as a sailboat or cruise under engine power.
Other activities at Danforth Lodge include swimming, snorkelling, waterskiing, hobie-cat sailing and trips in sturdy wooden fishing boats to points of local interest. The lodge is also in the process of planning a swimming pool.
Ideal length of stay: 4 - 5 nights to include a night or two on the yacht Mufasa
Directions: The lodge is a four hour drive from Lilongwe on steep and winding but fairly good roads, just the occasional bit of bumpiness.
Owner: Howard and Michelle Massey-Hicks
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Meals at Danforth usually follow the format of a continental or English breakfast served in the morning (the times are very flexible), lunch from 12pm to 2pm, and then a full three course dinner at around 7.30 pm.
The lodge can cater to special requests if some notice is given.
Meals are served either in the main dining area or outside under the stars.
The last time we stayed at Danforth the food was superb – in the evening we were treated to snacks and champagne on board Mufasa while taking a cruise into the lake.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included at Danforth - the lodge has a well stocked bar.
Diving & snorkelling: Danforth Yachting has an on site PADI scuba diving centre, complete with a resident dive instructor. Lake Malawi is a perfect scuba diving spot, and there are many fascinating dive sites within easy reach of Danforth. The lodge also offers PADI dive courses and casual dives.See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Malawi
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Property’s age restrictions: There is no age restriction at Danforth.
Special activities & services: The lodge can offer special meals for children, there is a trampoline and a swimming pool is about to be built. Toys and and games are available and children are welcome on the yacht Mufasa.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend the lodge for children.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: Telephone, e mail and internet are available for guests to use - and the lodge also has fairly good mobile reception.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor is in the local clinic, approximately 20 - 30 minutes drive away.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The lodge has four resident dogs which act as excellent guard dogs when needed.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers outside the rooms and in the common areas.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: There is a central safe in the office and guests are welcome to leave valuables/documents here.
Accepted payment on location: VISA credit cards only, US dollars, UK sterling, Euro, SA Rand.