One of the oldest market towns in Africa, unassuming Nkhotakota had a significant and sinister part to play in Malawi’s history. In the 1800s the town was home to a huge slave market, set up by Swahili-Arab trader Jumbe Salim-bin Abdullah. From here thousands of unfortunate captives were shipped annually across the lake to Tanzania, before being forced to march to the coast.
Today the town is strung out over 4km between the busy highway and the lake. It breaks a journey along the lakeshore, but don’t expect much action. If you do arrive on the ferry or stumble from a bus, there are a couple of historic sights and lakeside lodges, but if you can it's better to continue straight to the nearby Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.