Malawi interior is both an urban area
Malawi InteriorMalawi, also referred to as 'Land of the Lake', is dominated by one geographical feature – Lake Malawi. This is the central focus for most visitors to Malawi, and we offer a variety of great options on the lakeshore and the water itself.
That said, for Africa aficionados there are many accessible destinations in Malawi's interior worth a visit. From its capital city, Lilongwe, to the rather provincial Mzuzu – there is more to Malawi than a lake. Here we've gathered together places in Malawi away from the lake to which we sometimes send visitors:
LilongweLilongwe was founded in 1906 as a settlement for Asian traders and quickly attracted European business. Today, Lilongwe is Malawi's capital and the main city of the Central Region. It consists of two quiet different parts: The old town is almost indistinguishable from other small African towns. Especially the market and the Asian quarter are worth a look. The new town – the capital city – is made up mainly of offices and hotels.
Although Lilongwe holds little of interest for most travellers, it is a pleasant place to stay for a night. Therefore, Heuglins Guest House is a perfect accommodation only minutes away from the city centre.
For more detailed information, see our separate page about Lilongwe.
ZombaOverlooking Liwonde and the Shire River Valley, Zomba Plateau is Malawi's oldest forest reserve. Here, waterfalls, trout dams and walking trails are interlaced with pine and indigenous montane forests. Ku Chawe Inn is a super mountain retreat on the Zomba Plateau.
Mua MissionAbout 160 kilometres east of Lilongwe, in the foothills of the Dedza Highlands, Mua Mission was first established by the Roman Catholic Church about 100 years ago. Since then a village has grown up around the parish buildings, and a remarkable plantation of mahogany trees has also been added. This was started by the first missionaries to ensure continuity of supply for the woodcarvers, and remains an impressive testament to their foresight.
Recently, in keeping with this tradition of promoting of plant and animal awareness amongst the local people, a beautiful landscaped garden has been laid out here and a fascinating cultural museum has been built. The KuNgoni Art and Craft Centre was started here in the 1970s and is now famous throughout the region for the high quality of its woodcarvings.
MzuzuMalawi is split into three administrative regions, and Mzuzu is the 'capital' of the Northern Region. It lies about 370km north of Lilongwe, 200km from Nyika National Park, 120km from Livingstonia Mission and 100km west of the beach at Chintheche. For most visitors, Mzuzu is a small, provincial town to be passed through rather than stopped at – but if you need to stay here, then the Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel is an ideal lodge for over-night stops.
BlantyreWith a population of around 700.000, Blantyre is Malawi's second largest city. It is the 'capital' of the Southern Region and – off the record – Malawi's commercial capital. Blantyre Mission was founded in 1876 by the Established Church of Scotland. It was named after the small Scottish village in which David Livingston was born. Due to the healthy climate and the mission's role as communication centre for traders, Blantyre was very attractive to European settlers and soon became the most important settlement in the country – a position it still occupies today.
Lying in a valley ringed by low hills, the landscape around Blantyre is more attractive than the area around Lilongwe. Whilst this doesn't mean that it is a real tourist attraction, it is the central focus for travel in the south of Malawi. Many visitors spend a night or two here at some point, and in this case the obvious choice is Ryalls Hotel - now run by the Protea Hotel Group.