Northern Malawi

Top things to do

Top ChoiceMuseum in Karonga

Cultural & Museum Centre Karonga

Cultural & Museum Centre Karonga

This museum, off the M1, celebrates the numerous fossil discoveries made in these parts, and the skeleton of the Malawisaurus (or a copy of it, anyway) takes pride of place. Visits take the form of a guided tour,...

Top ChoiceItalian in Mzuzu

Macondo Camp

This Italian restaurant offers treats such as homemade pasta made daily, Parmesan flown from Italy and monthly live music on the stoep. Dishes include pizza, steaks, spring rolls and the ever-popular ravioli with...

Top ChoiceThai in Nkhata Bay

Kaya Papaya

Close to the harbour, with a big upstairs balcony overlooking the main street, Kaya Papaya has an appealing Afro-Asian-fusion chic that's matched by a menu of zesty salads, pizza and Thai fare such as green...

National Park in Northern Malawi

Nyika National Park

Nyika National Park

Malawi's oldest reserve is easily one of the most magical experiences in any trip to the country. Towering over 2000m above sea level, the Nyika Plateau is enigmatic; one moment its rolling grasslands recall the...

Church in Likoma Island

Cathedral of St Peter

Likoma's huge Anglican cathedral (1911), said to be the same size as Winchester Cathedral, should not be missed. Its stained-glass windows, crumbling masonry and sheer scale are testament to the zeal of its...

Cultural in Northern Malawi

Malipenga Dance Season

Around northern towns such as Nkhata Bay and Karonga, locals celebrate both the end of the harvest and their Tonga culture with malipenga dances. Malipenga imitates military drills: it was devised by northerners...

Wildlife Reserve in Northern Malawi

Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve

Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve

This 1000-sq-km reserve isn't on the mainstream tourist track, but its plentiful wildlife means it shouldn’t be overlooked. As well as a plethora of antelopes – pukus, impalas, roans and kudus, to name a few –...

Museum in Livingstonia

Stone House Museum

The fascinating museum in Stone House (once the home of Livingstonia founder Dr Robert Laws, and now a national monument) tells the story of the European arrival in Malawi and the first missionaries. Here you can...

Waterfall in Livingstonia

Manchewe Falls

This impressive waterfall thunders 125m into the valley below, about 4km from Livingstonia (towards the lake). Follow a small path behind the falls and there’s a cave where, so the story goes, local people once...

Coffee in Mzuzu

Mzuzu Coffee Den

This cafe with two-tone furniture is the local hangout of choice – use the wi-fi and enjoy a cafetière or cappuccino of the strong 'n' sweet local coffee. Dishes such as burgers, chambo and sweet-and-sour chicken...

Fashion & Accessories in Likoma Island


In this thatched workshop, single mothers and orphans handcraft a range of items using locally sourced materials, reflecting Likoma's colours and culture in their cushion covers, throws, table runners, art and...

Church in Livingstonia

Livingstonia Church

Dating from 1894, this mission church has a beautiful stained-glass window featuring David Livingstone with his sextant, his medicine chest and his two companions, with Lake Malawi in the background. You can...

Asian in Mzuzu

Joy's Place

This restaurant attached to the hostel of the same name serves noodle and kimchi dishes, as well as Western choices such as chicken burger and steak and chips. The dinky bar and prayer-flag decor make it one of...

Bar in Mzuzu


Attached to the Mimosa Court Hotel, this is a great spot with a sunny terrace for meeting the locals over a cold beer (MK950). Hip-hop videos boom from the TV, and it does snacks (MK600) such as pizza slices and...

Beach in Nkhata Bay

Chikale Beach

On the southern side of Nkhata Bay, Chikale Beach is a popular spot for swimming and lazing on the sand, especially at weekends. After church on Sunday, the locals set up a speaker stack and enjoy a few beers.

Indian in Mzuzu

A1 Restaurant

Indigo- and red-walled A1 has sport on the TV above the bar, and a menu featuring North Indian and Malawian cuisine. It offers classic dishes like tikka masala and rogan josh; the butter chicken is tasty.

Malawian in Mzuzu

Soul Kitchen

Watch Mzuzu go by on Soul Kitchen's shaded stoep with a barbecue smoking away at one end and a view of the city's only traffic light. Barbecued chicken, chambo, omelette and T-bone steak are on the menu.

Cultural in Likoma Island

Likoma Festival

The Ilala ferry cruises to Likoma, with much barbecuing, music and revelry en route, for a weekend of cultural performances and beach sports.

Museum in Mzuzu

Mzuzu Museum

The city museum has displays on the people and the land of northern Malawi. Exhibits include traditional hunting implements, musical instruments, and photos of a paramount chief's coronation ceremony. If you’re...

Cafe in Nkhata Bay

One Love

At One Love, with an unbeatable view of the bay, Kelvin the Rasta serves cold beers and simple dishes such as chapattis, nsima (a filling porridge-like dish made from white maize flour and water) and beans (mains...