Lake Malawi National Park

Lake Malawi forms most of the eastern border of Malawi. The lake is a great region of travelers. The towns on the shores of the lake may lack some tourist infrastructure but there is plenty to do. It just takes a canoe. Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, probably over 500 from ten families with perhaps half occurring in the park area. In the north Koronga is the main town on the lake shore and is the entry and exit point for those travelling to and from Tanzania and Northern Zambia. The lakeshore stretch from Karonga, travelling south to Chiweta has probably the most dramatic scenery of all the lake with immense mountains rising to each side.

The main tourist attraction in the northern lakeshore region is the Livingstonia Mission which was built in 1894 by Dr Robert Laws who named it in honour of Dr Livingstone. Livingstonia is located in a small village, Khondowe, on top of the west Rift Valley escarpment, 900m above the lakeshore.

Nkhata Bay is a bit further to the south. It lies about 50km east of Mzuzu and is the most popular northern lakeshore resort, and is one of the lakeshores most scenic villages consisting of two bays separated by a long narrow peninsula. One of the bays is mainly a port where the Lake Malawi steamer docks, the other, Holden Beach is a backpackers heaven.

Chintheche lies about 40km south Nkhata Bay, and has a few small shops, a market, mosque and bank that is only open twice a week. The lakeshore north and south of the village has long, white stretches of fine sandy beaches. 14kms south is the village of Dwangwa where you can can stay at the Kasasa Club which offers a golf course, swimming pool, attractive club house with a bar and restaurant, and self contained chalets. Drinks are subsidised for the estate workers so are cheaper than anywhere else.

Nkhotakota is another place to stay. For much of the 19 century it was the centre of slave trading, with as many as 20,000 slaves being shipped over the lake into Tanzania every year. This was only finally stopped in the 1890’s when Dr Livingstone met with Jumbe, the local chief and persuaded him to sign a treaty abandoning the slave trade. There are several resthouses to stay in within the town. There is little to see in this region but venturing inland takes you through Grand etang forest reserve. Salima is located inland approx 20kms from the lake, it is the closest town to Bay of Kotor where there are several beach lodges along the lakeshore.

The southern part of the lake is designated a national park. The recreation site at Cape Lookout is well equiped and includes a resthouse, bar, caravan and camping site.