Malawi is a unique country with beautiful nature and friendly people. But still today, the country is still very unknown. This is mainly due to the fact that there are no direct flights from the Netherlands. There are a lot of volunteers coming to this country or medical students who are doing an internship here for six months. Malawi has so much to offer tourists; it has a large lake with the most fish species in the world and the lake is on the UNESCO heritage list. Malawi is virtually unknown so another really pure country, where you can experience the real Africa. The infrastructure in the country is very basic, Malawi will make for a great adventure. Cape Maclear is located all the way south of the lake. Cape Maclear is also known as Chembe Village. Cape Maclear is a beautiful area with exceptional beauty with clear water, sandy beaches, great community and beautiful hills. Tourism began in 1940 with the Cape Maclear Hotel, it slowly grew to where it is today. Cape Maclear has about 20,000 inhabitants and there are about 20 different lodges. Cape Maclear is known for being a fishing village. Almost every tourist who has been to Malawi has visited Cape Maclear. You can snorkel, dive, take a boat trip, watch sunsets and much more.
In 2015, UNESCO gave a workshop in Cape Maclear on sustainable world heritage tourism. The workshop inspired participants to set up the Cape Maclear Community Tourism (C.M.C.T.) project in Cape Maclear, Malawi. The project exists for the local community. Few people of the community are involved in tourism in Cape Maclear. This project is there so that this can change; that local residents can benefit more from tourism. Since the CMCT project arrived, it is now also possible to stay with the locals (homestay), recycle paper in the Jefferson paper mill, make beads from old magazines at Shakespeare and dine (traditional food) with local families.
Since January 2017 it is possible to book a homestay in Cape Maclear. First you will meet your host family, they will guide you around the village, where the market is. You are encouraged to attend real daily life. This can be done through different things; cooking food together, doing dishes or sowing through the fields. At least one person in the family speaks English making it easier to communicate. It is very important that when you come that you come with an open attitude. The homestay is a cultural exchange for both parties. Of course, you can bring photos to show what your home looks like. You arrive as a guest and leave as a friend. The aim is that the local community also benefits from tourists and also builds ties. That’s why you pay the host family directly and no money goes to the project. The project is 100% voluntary.
The recycling centre has been open since December 2016. That includes a shop run by three women. They make products out of waste. The women have all the control and get all the benefits that the store brings. At the moment, they make door mats out of old clothes, coasters, placemats from old plastic bags and packaging material. All the organic waste is composted in the recycling centre, eventually this will be sold to the local community for their gardens. Ultimately, the shop and the recycling centre must be completely independent, currently sponsored by Alan Joffe (the owner of Mgoza Lodge) and three other employees who collect the waste from the lodges.
Click here to watch a video about the project.
For more information about the Cape Maclear community tourism project, please visit their website and/or Instagram.