The busy little town of Salima in Central Malawi, 16 km inland from Senga Bay, is an important service and trading centre. It has a lively market and all the usual services.
Senga Bay is the closest point on Lake Malawi to Lilongwe, only one and a half hour drive east, and as such, welcomes many weekend visitors from the country's capital. A broad stretch of sandy beach hosts a range of hotels and lodges.
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.
Cool Runnings is a lakeside guesthouse in Senga Bay, 20 km away from Salima. If you are traveling by public transport, you can cover this last stretch by shared taxi.
As one of the few budget options in the area, it features dorms, private huts, and a campsite, all with shared bathroom facilities. If you wish to camp but did not bring your own tent, you can borrow one at the reception.
The restaurant caters to all diets, vegetarian and vegan meals are available. You will find both international and Malawian dishes and many breakfast options to choose from.
If you want to relax, you can head to the big lawn with shaded deckchairs overlooking the lake. Grab a book from the extensive library, or just close your eyes and listen to the gentle sounds of the waves while you enjoy the breeze. In case you prefer to stay more active, Cool Runnings also has you covered. A small gym is available for the exclusive use of guests.
Cool Runnings is involved in many community projects and welcomes volunteers who are looking to stay for a longer period of time. If you are interested in such an opportunity, you can ask the owner Sam for more information.
Kuti Wildlife Reserve
Stay at the Kuti Wildlife Reserve and become enchanted by the wonders of the bush in the "Warm Heart of Africa". The reserve is set in a beautiful location near Salima, only 90km or two hours from Lilongwe and not far from Lake Malawi. Kuti is home to numerous animals, all guaranteed to sweep you off your feet.
Let the guides teach you about the wildlife and environment of this breathtaking reserve. You can explore it on a bike, on foot, or in a car - all options are family-friendly! Kuti Wildlife Reserve has no predators, so you can bring the whole family out for an experience they will never forget.
You can choose from several accommodation options. The bush villas are nestled in the bush and have their own barbecue and campfire area for your exclusive use. They boast two double/twin bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a kitchenette equipped with a fridge, crockery, cutlery, basic household/ cleaning items, a spacious lounge area, and a large khonde. This accommodation is solar powered. Let us know should you like your villa serviced daily
The cozy bush chalets and rustic a-frames are situated at the Landirani Camp and nestled in the bush. They come with mosquito nets and bedding, and the separate ablution block offers toilets and showers. The bush chalets sleep two, while the a-frames sleep four.
The campsite offers you the opportunity to camp in the bush but near a shared ablution block. A braai stand and a designated campfire site are available, should you wish to cook or stay warm.
When visiting Kuti Wildlife Reserve, take the time to enjoy a meal and beverage at the Mbidzi Restaurant. "Mbidzi" means zebra in the local language of Chichewa, and these animals love milling around the restaurant area. The restaurant offers a fusion of Malawian and Western cuisine in a setting surrounded by wildlife.
Kuti Wildlife reserve: If you are not staying at the reserve, you can still take a day trip there for a walking safari, game drive or bicycle ride.
Hiking: There are two hills in the proximity of Senga Bay from where you can enjoy the views over the lake: Senga Hill and Lifuwu Hill, which are not very challenging to climb.
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.
Island Excursions: You can arrange a boat cruise to the nearby Lizard Island. It is a good spot for snorkeling or rock jumping into the lake. If you go in the afternoon, you can see the sunset from the boat before heading back to the shore.
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.
Explore the local markets: Both Salima and Senga Bay have a lively market, where you can haggle for fruits and vegetables or random nick-nacks.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit this area is during the dry season from April to November. It is also the best season for outdoor and water activities.