Destination: Nkhata Bay
Nkhata Bay is the northernmost point reached by David Livingstone on Lake Malawi during his expeditions over 150 years ago. It is a vibrant port town with a small sheltered harbour which is a focal point for Malawi’s fishing industry, as well as a gateway to the islands of Chizumulu and Likoma. Despite its size, Nkhata Bay has a lot to offer, and it’s increasingly attracting more travelers who are drawn to its laid-back vibe.
Where to Stay
We have listed some accommodation places in this area. If these don't suit you, we are more than happy to create your custom tour with your priorities.
Mayoka Village Beach Lodge
Mayoka Village Beach Lodge offers quality boutique accommodation to suit all budgets, from individual shady camp spots to en-suite family cottages.
The gardens are a haven for local wildlife, especially birds. While sitting on your balcony or outside your tent, you can spot many varieties of sun birds, kingfishers, and even bush babies in the evening if you are lucky. A family of otters lives on the lake shore and can be spotted at dawn and dusk.
All along the shore, you will find small beaches and chill-out spots where you can relax in a hammock or sunbathe on the loungers. The beautiful hot outdoor showers allow you to bathe in the sun or under the stars. The environmentally friendly compost toilets are easy and pleasant to use.
The small but stylishly decorated and well-equipped chalets perch on the slopes of the lush gardens. They all offer a lake view with private balconies and chill-out spots. All chalets are individual in shape, size, and style. Each of them is fully furnished with everything you might need to be comfortable, unpack and make yourself at home. There are single, double, twin, triple, and one quadruple chalet. Children under the age of 3 are free of charge and for between 3 and 10 years of age, it's half price.
If you wish to spoil yourself, you can choose to stay in one of the four stone cottages. They are more spacious and have private bathrooms with hot showers, bathtubs, and tea/coffee-making facilities. They are suitable for couples or friends and there is also one family cottage that sleeps up to five people.
Budget travelers can stay in one of the two spacious dormitories that sleep eight or six people. They are fully equipped with mosquito nets, individual bed lights, and bedding.
The campsite consists of terraces in the gardens overlooking that overlook the lake. It is possible to self-cater: there is a BBQ area, and the staff can help you get a fire started and lend you the use of fridges, pots, and pans.
Njaya Lodge opened for business in 1993 on Christmas Day, having been built and developed from scratch on what was originally a maize field on a steep hill overlooking the clear blue waters of Lake Malawi.
Over the years, it has become more than just a tourist business: The owners consider Njaya a labour of love and like to think of it as a work in progress, as well as an established part of the community. While providing a beautiful and welcoming place for a wonderful holiday, weekend retreat, or a stopover en route through Malawi, the lodge has also become a catalyst for local and international charity initiatives.
After over two decades, many of the staff are still the same people who helped build Njaya, and, in some cases, their grown-up children are now also employed. There are no walls, high fences, or gates, and Njaya is very much its own community. The brilliant team of hardworking cooks, waiters, cleaners, managers, barmen, watchmen, and gardeners are all part of the 'Njaya family' and will do everything they can to make sure you have an unforgettable stay.
Njaya is reminiscent of the Greek Islands, with its stunning white cottages elegantly climbing the hillside, set against the golden sands and clear turquoise waters of Lake Malawi. The lush greenery of the carefully tended gardens adds an organic serenity to complete your stay. Charming, beautiful, a little bit bohemian, and designed for people looking for a 'different' kind of holiday.
You can choose between en-suite beach cottages for 2 to 4 people, a villa set on the hill perfect for a couple or a family of three, or garden chalets set on grass-terraced gardens and shaded by flame trees and jacarandas, ideal for families or a group of up to four friends.
Relax on the Beach: This one seems obvious. Soak in the views of Lake Malawi, while sunbathing in the soft sand, reading a good book, or spending quality time with your fellow travelers. Sunsets are especially beautiful.
Snorkeling: Discover the more than 1000 species of fish that call Lake Malawi their home, including 600 species of the colourful cichlids, which are endemic here. Some lodges offer free snorkeling gear.
Scuba diving: If staying on the surface of the lake is not enough for you, you can go deeper. There is diving available through Aqua Africa.
Kayaking: Kayaking is the perfect activity to enjoy the tranquility of the lake while being active. On calm days, the lake is so clear that you can see the fish swimming next to you. Go solo, take your family and friends, to go on a few days kayaking adventure, explore incredible beaches, remote fishing villages, stunning waterfalls and other secret places.
Take a boat tour: There are many attractions on the lake that can only be experienced if you venture out away from the shore. Boat tours include activities such as cliff jumping, snorkeling and fish eagle feeding. You can arrange them through your lodge.
Explore the town: Nkhatabay has a vibrant harbour, a lively local market, a craft market and many local restaurants where you can sample fresh fish.
Best time to Visit
The best time to visit Nkhata Bay is during the dry season between May and October. It’s a cooler time of year, with bright sunshine and fresh evenings, but still warm enough for a refreshing dip in the lake.
Temperatures start to rise in September and remain in the high twenties and early thirties throughout the rainy season, which goes from November to April. The heaviest rains usually happen in December, January and February.