Cool Runnings, Senga Bay

Nearby projects: see Cool Runnings Projects

About: Cool Runnings is one of my favourite spots along Lake Malawi. It is run by the big hearted Sam, a self proclaimed “old hippy”, and as much emphasis is placed on cultivating a fun, relaxed vibe as it is on creating a beautiful environment.  The green grassy grounds, which are kept immaculate by a team of early morning gardeners, slopes down towards the expanse of Lake Malawi, and a private sun-lounging area and beach front bar complete the lakeshore getaway experience. I started and finished everyday with a half hour swim in the lake and that is one of my lasting and fondest memories of Malawi.
It is a warm friendly place where everyone has a kind word and, like the Cool Runnings logo, a smiling face and is the perfect weekend getaway retreat or place to call home when volunteering.


  • Wifi (slow but available)
  • Restaurant: serves big breakfasts, sandwiches and fresh fish and chips for dinner at reasonable prices
  • Basic self-catering facilities
  • Book swap
  • Lake side bar
  • Sun Loungers
  • Swimming/paddling/water activities
  • Laundry.


  • Private: en-suite rooms in the main house on the beach front: 35 usd per room
  • Shared bathroom facilities (prices pp) -
    Twin (dorm) rooms:10 usd
    Caravan (double bed):12usd
    4 bed tent: 8 usd
    Camping: 5 usd

Costs: Ethical Volunteer Members receive the usual 50 Euro discount for the first months stay and 10% thereafter (or 10% for a shorter stay at Cool Runnings)

Food: Prices at the restaurant are very reasonable. Alternatively you can cook for yourself. Everything you need is available from the local market including fresh veg and fish.

Getting there.
If you are flying into Lilongwe, we would recommend staying at Mabuya Camp. Grab a bus from the central station at 6am and you should be in Salima by 10am, where Sam or a member of Cool Runnings will come collect you.

Getting around: Everything in Senga Bay is within walking distance.  

Activities: They have a range of activities and equipment available for rent, including a sailboat, kayaks and fishing equipment. Less than a km from the shore is a small island you can paddle to where there are some great cliff jumping spots, while on-land you can wander through the nearby fish and vegetable market and soak up a bit of local life.

Beyond Senga Bay: The good news is that there are plenty of buses in Malawi, the bad news is that they are painfully slow, often taking longer to fill up and leave than the actual journey itself will take. But as long as you have a good book, a bottle of water and a bucket of patience, you will be fine. From Senga bay, it’s around 2 hours by bus to Cape Maclear, which is a larger, more touristy town than Senga bay, or a full days’ journey (and at least one bus change in Monkey Bay) from Liwonde National Park or Kasungu National Park (change buses in Lilongwe)


Contact Cool Runnings

Sunset at Cool Runnings

sunset by the lake


Cool Running bar

Bar at Cool Runnings


Overlanders at Cool Runnings
Overlanders at Cool Runnings


Location of Senga Bay, Malawi