Now that you’ve heard a little about the rigors of our transport adventure, I want to share with you our experiences once we reached our first destination, Mayoka Lodge on Nkhata bay.

We’d arrived exhausted and battered at Big Blue Star backpackers the night before, and although captivated by the lake, we were unfortunately not very impressed by the condition or upkeep of the lodge itself – the owner had apparently been going through a tough time, and although the price was right – the experience wasn’t.

An hour after dawn two of the girls set off to find us more suitable accommodation, and by mid morning we were picked up and transferred to the exceptionally beautiful Mayoka Lodge. I wish I wasn’t writing this blog on my phone so I could embed photos from our stay. Perched on the steep hillsides cascading down into the lake Mayoka is a multi level cottage/chalet style complex. Individual buildings linked by handrails and stairs, leading down to two lake access points. The views from our rooms were spectacular, sunrise and sunset perfectly framed. Combined with exceptional food, including bruschetta, pastas, curry, burgers, salads, freshly prepared pizzas and daily home baked breads, and at a good price. combined with a well stocked bar, friendly staff, and lots of swimming and laying on the beach – it was a perfect vacation.

We stayed at Mayoka for just four of our six vacation days, and not a moment was wasted. By the end of our time, all we could do is wish we had more.

Our last day at Mayoka, I decided I wanted to “discover scuba.” That meant that for $60 I’d go through a basic skills check, get a brief scuba intro, and then go on a 10m dive with the instructor.

We sped through all the necessary bits, and were in the water in no time. Then we went through a thorough skill check, hand signals, mask clearing, emergency procedures and the like and we were off!

We started in a protected bay, and then swam out and started to drop to our final depth of just over 33ft. I was able to see 12 species of cichlids, catfish, mouthbreeders ( these really interesting fish whose minnows swim into the mouths of the adults when threatened, and large freshwater crabs. The colours and variations of the lake life were spectacular – opalescent, indigo, greens, blues, yellows and reds, oranges and metallic sheens, neons and bright mixtures and stripes of tropical species.

It was a fantastic experience and one I’d highly recommend!