Accommodation & Helpful Tips


Accommodation options

HEEED volunteers stay at Cape Maclear Ecolodge, which offers a lush environment and a beach experience on the beautiful shore of Lake Malawi. Volunteers can stay at Tandy House or opt for more spacious rooms at Fish Heaven House.  All profits from the Ecolodge are donated to HEEED, supporting the ongoing community projects at Panda Garden.

Tandy House

This self-contained unit is situated at the rear of the grounds of Cape Maclear EcoLodge. There are 4 private rooms and a dormitory with fans, as well as 2 shared bathrooms.

Fish Heaven House

All rooms at Fish Heaven House are private rooms and equipped with fans. Mbuna, Liyani and Mcheni are double rooms with shared bathroom and Chambo is a double en-suite. Except for Mbuna, rooms are overlooking the garden and the Lake.

Volunteer Packages

During their stay, HEEED volunteers are provided with accommodation and full board at Cape Maclear Ecolodge at a weekly discounted rate.  The weekly charge covers the cost of maintenance, electricity, and salaries of the HEEED staff, as well as the ongoing community projects at Panda Garden.

Prices below include 3 set meals from Monday to Sunday and vary according to the accommodation options:

  • Dormitory: US$ 140 per week
  • Mbuna: US$ 210 per week
  • Liyani and Mcheni: US$ 315 per week
  • Chambo: US$ 385 per week

Helpful Tips

Transport. HEEED can arrange a private taxi from Lilongwe airport to Chembe for US$120. Volunteers can also opt for public transport: a bus from the airport to Lilongwe bus station costs about US$ 5; and a bus from Lilongwe to Monkey Bay (18 km from Chembe) costs about  US$ 22.  There are a number of Chembe “mo-ped taxis” (matolas) that ply between Chembe and Monkey Bay for around US$ 3.

In Chembe village, HEEED has a vehicle that can be used for project purposes. Two bicycles are also kept at Tandy House and made available for volunteers, with a lock and a pump.

Laundry. Clean sheets and pillow cases are provided weekly. Volunteers are expected to take care of their own personal laundry, although it can be provided as an extra service upon request (US$3).

Meals. Dietary restrictions (vegetarian, allergies etc.) can be accommodated. Breakfast is served from 7am, lunch from 12 pm and dinner around 6pm.

Telephone & Internet. Volunteers bringing cell phones and lap-tops can buy TNM or Airtel SIM cards for less than US$ 1. Credit bundles can be topped up with weekly or monthly vouchers in the village.

Cash. Either US dollars can be exchanged or Malawian Kwachas can be withdrawn from ATMs at the airport and in Monkey Bay or Mangochi. Volunteers are expected to bring US dollars to pay the visa fee at Lilongwe aiport.

Leisure Activities. Volunteers can engage in hiking, biking, kayaking, going on boat trips and sunset cruise, as well as snorkeling and SCUBA diving, to discover the myriad wonders of Lake Malawi National Park. All activities organized by Scuba Shack  Diving School can be offered to HEEED Volunteers at reduced rates.

Visa. HEEED volunteers are encouraged to stay for a minimum of one month. Non-Malawians can enter the country on a tourist visa for 30 days ($75) and this can be renewed for up to 3 months at an Immigration Office. Those wishing to stay longer can leave Malawi and visit Mozambique or Zambia for a short holiday and return for another 3 months or have HEEED arrange an in country extension for an additional 3 to 6 months.

Health and Travel Insurance. HEEED Volunteers are expected to provide their own health and travel insurance for the duration of their stay with HEEED.  The local Chembe Billy Riordan Health Clinic can assist in emergencies and we also recommend that HEEED Volunteers take an anti-malarial prophylactic.