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Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge
Blue Zebra Island Lodge

Blue Zebra Island Lodge

13°53’10.6"S 34°36’30.5"E

Blue Zebra Island Lodge: Our full report

Simple and inexpensive, Blue Zebra Island Lodge is located on the tiny Nankoma Island, which is part of a ...

... small archipelago in the middle of Lake Malawi. Since it opened in July 2013, the lodge has become very popular with the expat community living in Lilongwe, and it is now gaining popularity with international visitors as well.

Blue Zebra doesn’t offer the luxury that can be found at some of the other properties we feature. It is also far easier to get to than some of the more remote beach options around the lake. The drive from Lilongwe to the lakeshore takes just two hours, then it’s a ten-minute boat transfer from this long stretch of beach to the lodge.

Guests arrive at a long jetty from where you will be given a quick orientation of the lodge. It isn’t large, and most of the communal areas and rooms are within easy reach of each other. At the front of the property is a lovely sandy beach, with loungers for sunbathing, and kayaks to explore the lake.

Alongside, and overlooking the lake, is a large welcoming swimming pool, its deck set with tables and chairs, and more sunloungers. This is where you’ll find the well-stocked bar, lined with stools and with views across the pool to the lake beyond. WiFi is available, though you may need to ask the barman to check that the connection is working properly. Guests at Blue Zebra often gather here to chat before dinner, and we met some interesting people when we stayed in February 2015, including NGO workers, diplomats and conservationists.

From the bar, stone steps lead up to an open-sided dining area, with tables both under thatch and beneath the stars.

Tucked away behind some rocks and reeds along a short board walk, a covered deck extends over the lake. This is a lovely secluded spot, where you can relax with a drink and just take in the views. Equal seclusion is to be found in the Sunset Lounge , where you’ll find sofas and even a TV.

The 13 rooms at Blue Zebra fall into various categories. For our travellers, we recommend the five ‘luxury’ chalets, located above the beach in the terraced garden near the dining area. Spacious and comfortable, each sits on a polished stone floor, its canvas walls suspended from a wooden frame under a thatched roof. To the front, a veranda is furnished with chairs and a coffee table.

Inside, neutral tones result in a simple but stylish safari feel. These chalets have space for a day bed area as well as a four-poster double or twin beds. A canvas partition separates the bedroom from the en-suite bathroom, where you will find a toilet and hot and cold shower.

Tucked around the side of the island, away from the main areas, are three larger suites, which are similar in concept and layout to the ‘luxury’ chalets but much more stylish. The Cormorant and the Fish Eagle are both family chalets, with space for four people, while the Kingfisher suite accommodates just two. All are very private, with polished stone floors, canvas walls and good-quality furniture. Each looks out across the lake, with a nice outside area, but note that none of the suites has direct access to the lake for swimming.

There are also five simple ‘safari’ chalets, but as these are not en suite, we don’t use them for our travellers.

Not surprisingly, most activities at Blue Zebra involve the water. The lodge is located within the vast Lake Malawi National Park, and as fishing is not permitted within 100m of the island, the surrounding waters remain fairly pristine and the snorkelling here is lovely. Included in the rates are kayaking, snorkelling and walks around the island. At additional cost it is also possible to do tubing, wakeboarding, waterskiing and scuba diving, as well as a boat trip to the furthest island in the archipelago.

Our view

Blue Zebra is a really sleepy beach lodge, with a charming and laidback atmosphere. The rooms are simple but stylish and comfortable, the lodge is easy to get to, and it is really good value for money.

Claire Scott

Claire Scott

Country manager: Malawi


Shore of Lake Malawi, Malawi
Ideal length of stay
Three nights +
Blue Zebra is about a two-hour drive from Lilongwe, followed by a ten-minute boat transfer.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board
Food quality
The food at Blue Zebra was quite good, though not exceptional. We found it to be hearty, plentiful and full of flavour, but a bit less imaginative, and certainly simpler, than at other beach lodges where we have stayed on Lake Malawi.

Breakfast was a buffet of fruit, cereals, pancakes and fresh bread, with a choice of cooked options available.

We didn’t eat lunch when we were at Blue Zebra but we understood it to be a set menu with two options for each of the three courses.

Our dinner was a three-course meal, with fried garlic mushrooms as a starter, followed by steak with peppercorn sauce and chocolate mousse for dessert.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included
Drinks are at extra cost, around US$2 for a beer, US$4 for a glass of wine and US$1 for a soft drink. Expect to pay about US$20 for a bottle of wine.


Attitude towards children
All ages are welcome at Blue Zebra.
Property’s age restrictions
Special activities & services
Blue Zebra has a range of facilities for children, including a badminton set, pool toys, buckets and spades for the beach and a scavenger hunt game.
They have high chairs in the restaurant and day beds in the chalets that can be turned into cots.
Generally recommended for children
Yes. Blue Zebra is popular with expat families and is very welcoming to children. They have lots of equipment to keep children entertained.
Parents need to supervise their children at all times – especially around the swimming pool and lake shore.


Power supply notes
Power is on only when the generator is operating in the morning and evening, at 7.00–10.00am and 5.30–10.00pm.
The WiFi in the bar is free for guests to use. There is a cellphone signal around the lodge.
TV & radio
There is a satellite TV in the sunset lounge.
Water supply
Water supply notes
Blue Zebra pumps water from the lake to a drum on the top of a hill, where it is filtered and purified for washing. Drinking water is boiled further to ensure that it is safe.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
TThe manager is first-aid trained and they have a first-aid kit at the lodge and one on the boat. The nearest doctor is in Senga Bay, which is a ten-minute boat ride away.

Blue Zebra has no emergency evacuation procedure.
Dangerous animals
Security measures
There are security guards on the island all the time.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in the kitchen and some of the main areas, and a fire break at the back of the lodge.


  • Birdwatching


  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Fishing


  • Snorkelling


  • Watersports



Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
Laundry is included. It is a next day service and your clothes are machine washed.
Blue Zebra cannot offer currency exchange and people can give their valuables to the managers for safekeeping.
Accepted payment on location
It is possible to settle your bill in cash using US dollars, euros and Malawi kwacha. Guests may also use Visa credit cards, with a 3% surcharge

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