Our hostel, is a laid-back backpackers place with basic accommodation. We want it to be a relaxed meeting place for everybody. Our staff are great and manage the lodge successfully; our task is to support them and help them to learn & grow in their jobs. We share our knowledge with our staff and together we try to make our lodge a home away from home. You do not need to work in the kitchen, bar or reception - our staff can manage fine but are always happy to learn new skills.
We do yoga on Tuesdays (and there is demand for more days), but our teacher recently moved to Rwanda for work, so we are desperate for a yoga teacher. We are busy redecorating the place and cyclone Idai damaged some of our outdoor structures that need to be rebuilt. Luckily Zomba did not get hit hard, and the place is safe, the roads are good and Zomba is dry (not flooded).
We are a social meeting place in Zomba, Malawi. Close to the big city of Blantyre (1 hr), Malawi's best safari park Liwonde (1 hr), Mulanje Mountains (2 hrs) and the beaches of Cape Maclear (3 hrs). The lodge is close to the centre of town where you can find banks, immigration office, post office and a big market. We are at the foot of Zomba Plateau where you can hike or camp to enjoy some cooler fresh air, beautiful scenery and stunning views. Zomba is a small town; the convenience of a city but not the hassle (no traffic jams here!).
OUR COMMITMENT: we took over the lodge just almost 2 years ago. It already was a great lodge with a nice atmosphere, lovely staff & beautiful gardens, and some room for improvement. We have been working hard but it goes slowly and we still have many dreams like solar power and faster internet. Our main priority is SUSTAINABLE TOURISM. For us that means 1) job security, decent salaries and respect for our staff; 2) buy locally, save water & recycle; 3) keep dreaming of and working towards solar power, waste reduction & reforestation. All this, and of course offer our guests an informal meeting place where people can relax, enjoy and feel comfortable in a safe & clean lodge.
The lodge is run by Malawians who are supported and trained by 2 Dutchies. Not many of our staff have formal education, so help in training our staff is always welcome. Think of important skills like health & safety, (vegan) cooking, hygiene, 1st aid, gardening, maintenance, English conversation, event organising, etc.
Our so-called 'Creative Centre' is currently a place where students come to study, but we would like it to be a hub for local entrepreneurs to run their business. We are looking at opportunities to expand the Creative Centre with courses, business clinics, and (creative) workshops.
At our place local people meet expats meet travelers! Malawians, volunteers, people working around Zomba and tourists mingle in the lively bar. There is a restaurant on site, yoga some Tuesdays (we need a teacher!), we do a regular pub quiz, sometimes we show a film and there will be (more) events planned soon.
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
During your stay you will work alongside local people, getting to know them on a personal level. Our staff is lovely and happy to share their stories, their tea and lunch with you. They can teach you about Malawian culture and you might be invited to one of their homes. Linda (the manager you'll work with most) might take you clubbing with her mates. Patrick would love to join you watching a film on a laptop. And Ellen is always up for a chat and can teach how to make nsima.
Jeroen & Annelies are both university lectures from the Netherlands and teach in Zomba; we can help you with your research thesis.
Welcome (other) travelers and make them feel at home at our backpacker's lodge in Zomba, South Malawi.
If you can teach yoga, it'll be an extra bonus!!
We are also very happy with people who can take good pictures and/or want to help with some building/painting/maintenance.
Most travelers visiting us are looking for a friendly face when they arrive. Someone who speaks their language, shows interest in their journey & listens to their stories, can give advice what to do in the area and give information about traveling in Malawi. A host who makes people feel welcome; we want this place to be a home away from home for our guests.
What are we looking for:
An independent person with travel experience, open and friendly, good listener and know what it takes to be a good host. Your job will be to chat with guests.
Our volunteer(s) will work alongside our Malawian managers; work together with our staff to make the stay for our guests as comfortable as possible. You do not have to cook or serve people; it is all about showing interest, ask how they are doing and if you can help with their onward travel. Basically give them a warm welcome, ask questions and give information when needed.
As an addition we are happy with projects that YOU want to do. You don't have to but if you want to share your skills with our staff, they will really appreciate it. It can be anything from teaching computer skills to new vegan receipes, from bookkeeping to gluten-free cooking, from hygiene and spotless cleaning to building & construction, and from management & leadership skills to customer service. We welcome independent and experienced volunteers who want to stay with us for at least 1 month.
The list is endless because the main work will be welcoming guests; this might just be an extra and is completely voluntary.
- *️️️️ yoga classes; our group is looking for a teacher;
- *️️️️ building and/or *️️️️painting
- train staff in *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ hospitality, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ hygiene, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ health & safety, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ first aid, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ English conversation, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️(vegan) cooking & nutrition, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ gardening/permaculture, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ event management,
- support local entrepreneurs in *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ business skills, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ computer skills, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ marketing, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ bookkeeping, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ etc.
- organise events for *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️children (Sunday afternoon), *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ active people (hikes, cycle rides, pilates, boot camp), *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ relaxing people (pampering, facials, massage, yoga), *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ party people (pub quiz, film nights, DJs, live bands), *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ and more
- help with *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ conservation, for example *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ research, *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ fire fighting or *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ tree planting (depending on the season)
University students (internships and research for thesis/dissertation) are most welcome!
We would like you to work Friday afternoon/evening - Saturdays (breakfast & dinner time) - Sundays (breakfast time) - Monday mornings/lunch time.
English, Dutch, German (Annelies) and French (Jeroen), Chichewa (Linda & Jona)
We can discuss your preferred accommodation with you. A single room with shared facilities, bed in a dorm, or a comfortable tent with bedding & linen. You get on average 1 (big) meal a day, and free tea & coffee but we can discuss alternatives.
We offer AIRPORT TRANSFERS and transfers to other locations in Malawi. Zomba Plateau is great for a day hike or a night away, the beach at Cape Maclear is fantastic for a short holiday, you can hike Mount Mulanje or travel up north which is less traveled and amazing. We can help you planning your trip.
You can book a 'landing package'; we pick you up form the airport, give you a bed for a couple of nights, tell you all you need to know about staying and traveling in Malawi, give you a SIM card and a drink on arrival!
Isaac is an amazing guide who can take you up Zomba Plateau but also visit Lake Chilwa, the Chilema Tree and Sand Sculptures, a nice fishing trip or a walk around town.
Zomba is the 4th city in Malawi; it used to be the capital. There is a university with a theatre, nice clubs, some live venues, 2 supermarkets and an amazing market with fresh produce you can't find anywhere else in Malawi. On Zomba mountain you can hike, cycle, camp and buy mountain fruits (lots of berries and passion fruit). We have historical buildings and a botanical garden.
You can stay fit at the local gym; play golf, tennis or squash at Gymkhana Club; swim at Splendor Hotel or Sir Harry International School; ride horses or mountain bikes on the mountain and visit lots of sites around Zomba. Blantyre (big city) & Liwonde (safari park with the big 5) are only 1 hour away and Mount Mulanje and Cape Maclear are not far. Blantyre Airport is a 1,5hrs drive.
We don't expect Workaway volunteers to work full-time, so there will be plenty of opportunity to travel and explore Malawi. Working hours will be between Friday (late) afternoon and Monday lunch time; from Monday afternoon till Friday afternoon you have time off, leaving 4 full days to visit places, relax or do other things.
THINGS TO DO IN ZOMBA
Zomba used to be the capital of Malawi and is the 4th city in the country. It is small, green and beautifully situated at the foot of Zomba Mountain.
- Zomba Plateau
You can hike on the mountain, have a picnic or camp at Trout Farm, buy mountain fruits on your way down, or go horse riding. We recommend you take a guide when going up the mountain. Not only will you see more and learn about the flora & fauna, but you support a local entrepreneur and you won/t get lost. Always ask for the photo ID, as we have a guide association with registered guides.
- Transport to the plateau
Just down from the Tourism Information Centre you can find motorbikes to take you up for max K2,000 per person. A taxi should cost no more than K6,000 one-way.
In town most people love to shop at Zomba market, visit the historical buildings like the 1st governor’s house built in 1886 (now Hotel Masongola) with its botanical gardens. The historical buildings are all found near the immigration office and include Annie’s Lodge, Hotel Masongola, the former parliament building and former government press, as well as the current magistrate court. For shopping we have a big DAPP store for second-hand clothes (near Steers), the One-Stop pharmacy is just a couple of doors down from DAPP. There is a small but well-stocked Shoprite opposite the bus station and PTC (People’s) can be found on the corner fo the M3 and the road into town. You will find nice chitenje (fabrics) near on the on the market and skilled tailors to make suits, duvet covers or (happy) pants.
You can rent a mountain bike, and as we situated on the golf course you can play golf; squash and tennis at the Gymkhana Club; go to Viva gym near the market to build up some muscles; go horse riding or hiking on the mountain; or swim at Sir Harry's pool or Splendor Hotel for a more relaxed vibe.
- Food & drink
If you want to eat or drink something, there are some lovely places
o It has a great garden with summer huts to protect you against the rain or sun. You can order a coffee, fresh fruit juice, homemade ginger lemonade, Carlsberg beers of Malawi Gin & Tonic;
o African Heritage for iced coffee and lunch;
o Maipai for piece of cake and a latte;
o Dominos to eat beef snacks or samosas while watching football on a big screen;
o Casa Rossa to enjoy the views and homemade Italian pastas & ice creams;
o There are some nice local restaurants in town like Donnas Evas Cuisine or Sangalalani, and many small restaurants with tasty chicken and chips on the market. Once Tasty Bites re-opens it will be a great place for barbecue chicken and curries;
o Steers & Kips offer fast food like burgers and pizzas;
o Nightlife: At night you can dance in Vogue, Levels or Cloud 9, or if you are lucky the Black Missionaries might play at Vibes or Lucius Banda at 5 miles.
- Sights; there are many things to see like the KAR monument to honour the Malawian soldiers who fell during the 1st world war. The historical buildings and botanical gardens (K300 per person, entrance near the crossroad of immigration. ESCOM and Annie’s Lodge), and of course the plateau. You can also travel just outside Zomba for
o Chikala Pillars and Chilema Tree
o Lake Chilwa
o Ntonya Mountain
o The tea estates, Mulanje and Liwonde are all a day-trip from Zomba.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week