Hostel in Mzuzu

Occupying an old house with a psychedelic mishmash of keepsakes left by generations of travellers, this backpacker stalwart has a bar-restaurant, a TV room, and colourful basic rooms that can be noisy during the Friday-night party. In the back garden are stable-like dorms. There have been reports of theft here, so keep a close watch on your valuables.

It's in a tranquil location off Jomo Kenyatta Rd a few minutes' walk from town, with plenty of chill potential in the garden and sunny front stoep. The restaurant (mains MK2500) serves banana pancakes and French toast for breakfast, plus burgers, spag Bol and steak and chips later in the day. Transport to Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve can be arranged.