A “crafty” stopover at Nkhotakota Pottery Lodge

Getting a journey started can often be a bit of a hassle.

Our bike NooNoo has been badly in need of a new pair of sprockets, and after weeks at the mercy of logistics and supposed help from a Malawian Tour Biker to courier the parts over to Malawi from Cape Town, we decided to chance it and set off to the Tanzanian border post for our next country.

So at the mercy of the Travelling Gods we have started to ride the length of Lake Malawi, which is one very long stretch of water: driving between the two main tourist spots, Cape Maclear and Nkhata Bay, takes a good six to seven hours with a good car. Alas, if you’re travelling by public transport, you can forget doing that journey in a day, and you’ll definitely need a stop in between.

Nkhotakota Pottery Lodge is the perfect place to do just that. Located about 15 km south of Nkhotakota main town, the Pottery Lodge is an ideal stopover for the tired traveller, as well as a perfect weekend destination for residents of Malawi’s capital Lilongwe. The lodge develops along a private stretch of sandy beach, with chalets overlooking the lake – meaning there are about a hundred steps between your bed and the peaceful waters of Lake Malawi!

The pricing ranges from $10 per person for camping to $59 per room for a Superior Room, with everything in between from luxury tented accommodation to dorm beds, and is very fair considering the ideal location – one can spend relaxing mornings watching fishermen go by their daily business, enjoying a refreshing swim before your choice of continental or English breakfast, or playing a game of beach volleyball.

The food is tasty and mostly made using local ingredients, either grown in the lodge own garden or sourced from surrounding villages – make sure you try the fish, probably one of the freshest chambo you will find in the whole of Malawi! While the meat and fish options are aplenty, vegetarian travellers may be a bit disappointed by having to stick to salads or toasted sandwiches. The staff is incredibly well trained and most speak good English, and they know how to pamper you without being overbearing.

Unsurprisingly with such a name, at Nkhotakota Pottery Lodge guests can also challenge themselves to pottery making – for MWK3,000 (roughly R61) an hour you’ll have the chance to mould and decorate your own cups, plates, teapots and much more.

Since 2016, the lodge has been managed by Chipo Musandi, a lovely and energetic Zimbabwean woman who has lived many years in Germany. Chipo has started her own safari tour operator running parallel to the lodge, and offers trips through Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. She is also an amazing sculptress of international fame and she will delight you with one or two stories about her many clients including former German Chancellor Kohl and Bill Clinton if given the chance!

With the parts now catching up with us in Dar Es Salaam, courtesy of Overland Motorrad and JK Kok Logistics, we hope to encounter more places like Nkhotakota Pottery Lodge, where we can rest and relax from the long, slightly unpredictable stretches of road.

Words and pictures: Arianna Meschia and Reggie Khumalo