Cool Runnings

Top choice hostel, campground in Senga Bay

The smiley yellow faces leading to this excellent-value beachside guesthouse say it all. Like a home away from home and run by warm host Sam, Cool Runnings offers accommodation in a cute old house, a fixed trailer, a grassy campsite, a three-bed safari tent, and what could be Malawi's two nicest dorms, each containing two beds.

There's also an inviting beach bar flickering in candlelight and a tin-roofed cafe featuring fresh fish and chicken. Boat tours can be arranged, as well as car hire, and you can get involved in one of the many social, medical, environmental and agricultural programs on offer. The list of Cool Runnings' community enterprises is longer than the beach: a school, a football team, a volunteer police force, women's groups, libraries and ecosan toilets. Placements are four weeks minimum.