Pakachere is the perfect place for service learning, community outreach, nature appreciation, hiking and a fun time away from the classroom. We offer programmes for groups & schools, whether you want to come for 1 day only or stay for a couple of weeks. We can develop programmes with you for (long-term) community and conservation projects. We cater for all needs, all ages and are looking forward to welcoming you here at our beautiful lodge! We have a lot of local knowledge and a big network, and we are happy to work with you to tailor your perfect stay.
Pakachere Backpackers is an informal social meeting place, situated near the centre of Zomba and at he foot of Zomba Mountain. Pakachere has basic rooms; 3 dorms (total 18 beds in the dorms) and 2 private en-suite double rooms (1 extra single bed can be added). There is a lovely big garden for games and camping. There is a restaurant on site serving food between 6:30AM and 8PM.
Jeroen Swinkels and Annelies de Bruine took over Pakachere end of 2017. Jeroen is biologist with a passion for conservation and a lot of experience working with student groups organising and leading field trips. He used to work in the Congo and in the Caribbean, currently works at Chancellor College (University of Malawi) as Chief Technician of the Biology Lab and he does the finances for Pakachere. Annelies is social scientist with a degree in youth work, lectured international communication at ChanCo and works in event management. She was involved in organising Lake of Stars and at Pakachere she is responsible for marketing & events. Both have been university lecturers in The Netherlands before moving to Malawi in September 2015. The couple run ‘Paka’ together with 17 local staff, ensuring you a pleasant and safe stay in Zomba and providing you with an educational fun programme.
Jonathan and Linda are the managers and will welcome you to Pakachere. Linda is our Guest Relations Manager and will ensure that everything goes smoothly. Jonathan works at reception and behind the bar, but is the main man at ‘Paka’ and can help arrange everything, from calling a taxi to organising trips. Please call or mail us (0882858089 or 0999576593)
WORKING WITH SCHOOLS
At Pakachere we understand that the safety of the (school) children comes first. Nothing is more important than child protection, and health & safety. It is impossible for us to avoid all dangers and it is up to the schools and/or the organising parties to do a risk assessment. We cannot guarantee that no-one will trip, fall or gets bitten by an insect, but we will do anything to avoid accidents from happening. We recommend bringing at least 1 teacher for every 10 students and we have guards on duty 24 hours per day.
Service learning is a big part of our school programmes. We work with local organisations who are happy with support. The local organisations we work with have projects in micro-credits, IT, briquette making, women’s groups, children’s activities, and much more. One of core programmes includes conservation; like everywhere else in Malawi, Zomba Forest is suffering from deforestation. People cut trees on the mountain to sell or to use for wood to cook their nsima (the staple food, maize porridge) every day and they use wood for building. With a growing population, more trees need to be cut to feed the people. The combination of overpopulation and deforestation does the country no good. The lack of trees affects the rain, resulting in draught and flooding. Pakachere supports the work of Zomba Forest Lodge to protect the trees on Zomba Plateau. We stimulate the use of sustainable cooking methods, like using briquettes made of paper, leaves and other waste, and using alternative cook stoves like the changu-changu moto.
We can offer various programmes to schools. Activities can include
More information can be found on our website.
Camping in our lovely big garden. At the moment there is 1 outdoor toilet; inside the lodge you find 3 toilets and 2 (warm) showers. We are in the process of building a new ablution block with toilets and showers outside. This is probably ready mid 2020.
4-bed dorm with bunk beds (sleeps max 4 people for $12pp)
10-bed dorm with bunk beds ($10 pppn)
Rooms ($40/56 per room per night)
Room 2 has a double and a bunk bed, net, fan and own bathroom ($45 for 1-2p/$50 for 3-4p)
To run our programmes, we will allocate staff and sometimes invite local people from the projects to join us. We kindly request a donation towards expenses. We will use the money to buy materials for the activities, pay transport allowance and/or buy lunch & a cold drink for our local partners.
Approx MWK 15,000 per person per day for 3 meals. We have good vegetarian & vegan options and can deal with most dietary requirements if you let us know in advance. We might struggle with people with severe nut allergies or coeliac disease, because we cannot guarantee there are no traces of nuts or gluten in our kitchen. We can handle mild allergies and lactose intolerance.
Our group menu can be downloaded here. Some possibilities.
Breakfast: Cornflakes & milk, or eggs & toast (with or without baked beans), or pancakes & fruit served with coffee and/or tea.
Dinner: Rice & curry (chicken/vegetable); spaghetti bolognese or napoletana; cottage pie (meat/veg); or barbecue.
Self-catering: We do not have equipment for big groups if you want to cook yourself. We are looking at improving our outdoor kitchen in 2020.
Our experienced local guides can accompany you on a walk in town, the botanical gardens or a hike on the mountain. You can book a trip for 1,5 hours to 8 hours or even more days including camping on the mountain. We also organise trips to other locations like Liwonde National Park, Mulanje, the tea plantations (with high tea if you want), Cape Maclear and much more.
At Pakachere we offer dance workshops and painting workshops for groups. The dance workshop is MWK 60,000 for groups up to 24 people; the painting workshop is MWK 10,000 per person.
What To Bring
‘Please don’t give our children money – we do not want them to become beggars. Please don’t give them sweets, because we have no dentists. If you want to give something, buy notebooks, pens & pencils, balls and educational toys here in Malawi to support the local economy and give it to a reliable institution that can distribute your gifts to the people who need it most’
This doesn’t mean you cannot bring anything from home to leave behind in Malawi, but we recommend giving it to an organisation that can assure you that your stuff will end up in the right hands. Especially (English) schoolbooks, and good quality second-hand clothes are most welcome! Notebooks, pens & pencils and balls can be bought in Malawi to stimulate the local economy.
Please note that before we can accept your booking it is a mandatory requirement that you accept our Terms & Conditions Paka (groups). If you are the parent/guardian of a minor student, either you or the school will need to sign the Indemnity Form.
Pakachere Backpackers may cancel a trip due to logistical or operational issues, insufficient sign-ups or any other cause that makes the trip unfeasible for us to operate. At that time we will endeavour to find an alternative date for you. If we do not find an alternative for you that is acceptable, you are entitled to a full refund and that will constitute full settlement.
Circumstances beyond our control may also necessitate changes to our itineraries. In the case of Force Majeure (meaning a circumstance beyond Pakachere’s reasonable control including, but not limited to, war or threat of war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, disease, industrial or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire and strikes), Pakachere will not be liable for any delay, change or cancellation of trips. Luckily Malawi is a very safe country; it never had war or terrorist threats!
Local laws and customs
The people of Malawi are incredibly friendly but please do bear in mind that you may need to be a little more conservative than at home and there are some strong religious communities. For example, during the day, women should take care to dress modestly and try not to wear short skirts or short shorts, or wear tops that are low cut. Men should not remove their shirts whilst in the city areas, and both parties should not use offensive language when in public. The use of abusive language and swearing is also very offensive within Malawi. Even in jest, or general conversation many people can be very offended. Outside Zomba in rural areas, girls should cover legs and shoulders so as not to offend local sensitivities. So we ask that you are sensitive to the local culture in this respect. There is very little violence, and any crime is petty, such as pick pocketing and small-scale theft. This is the Warm Heart of Africa!
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CLIENT (Terms & Conditions)
Pakachere cannot foresee all potentially dangerous incidents. Therefore Pakachere shall not be held liable for any illness, injury, damage or loss that may occur as a result of any negligence, disobedience and/or incompetence of any
You are responsible for:
In Case of Emergency
There will be a guard on duty 24 hours per day. If you want to speak to a manager, you can contact these people in order:
Jonathan Makonyola (Operations Manager) 0994685934
Linda Chidzankufa (Guest Relations Manager) 0882858089
Don’t forget that if dialing from an international phone you will need to enter the code +265 for all local Malawian numbers (and then remove the first 0). We ask all trip leaders to have a local mobile/cell phone out here to ensure we can all stay in touch.
Emergency Contacts Please only dial these numbers if you cannot make contact with a member of the on-site staff using the emergency operations protocol outlined above. There will be a scout on duty 24 hours per day in your camp.
Police: 0999 254 918/ 0999 212 139/ 0888 852 493
MASM: 01 527 186 (private clinic – open 24 hrs. Needs to be paid cash)
St Luke’s: 01 539 247/ 0884 478 897/ 0999 121 039 (20 mins drive, Dutch doctors)
Zomba central hospital: 01 526 266/ 01 525 195 (general hospital)
Dr Joshua: 0888 107 868/ 0888 720 672 (RECOMMENDED!)
This is a copy of the Indemnity Form, which you fill out when you arrive.
PERSONAL INDEMNITY read in conjunction with standard conditions of contract
In seeking to participate on a school camp conducted by PAKACHERE
I (full name) ___________________________________________________________
On behalf of (name school/organiser) ______________________________________
Address of school/organisation_____________________________________________
Do hereby warrant and acknowledge
Please make sure you notify us in advance about
An ever-increasing growing human population puts great demands on Malawi’s natural resources. It is generally agreed that these resources need to be conserved.
You are of course free to give, wear and do what you want; the guidelines above are especially for travelers who wish to minimise negative impact.
You can call us on +265(0)882858089 or +265(0)994685934 for your booking,
or mail email@example.com with your inquiry.
When booking, please let us know
Your booking is confirmed after you have received a confirmation mail!