Nkhata Bay is a small dusty fishing village which is located on the shores of the Lake Malawi. It has a relatively small population of about 15000 people and these are extremely welcoming people who will make your stay at the Bay more welcoming when you visit. One might ask when it is the right time to visit the Nkhata bay but it all depends on the activities that you are going to carry out when you visit the Bay.
If you are planning on taking walks around the village and relaxing at the beaches, it is best if you visit the Bay during the dry season and for those that want to visit the Bay for birding, the best time is during the wet season. But this does not mean that you cannot visit the bay anytime that you want because it is accessible throughout the year.
When it comes to activities that are carried out at the Nkhata Bay depend on which tourist attraction destinations that you are going to visit when you get to the Nkhata Bay. Its location near Lake Malawi makes it a top destination for tourists in Malawi and some of the things that will make your stay at the Nkhata Bay include the following:
There are several bird species that habitate at around the Lake and the best way for one to see them is by relaxing on the Nkhata Bay. Some of the common birds include the lesser flamingo, the African fish eagle which are normally fed by the tourists at the Nyanja lodge and many more other species. Make sure that before you go for birding, you walk with the necessary equipment needed for birding and the best time to go for birding at the Nkhata Bay is during the wet season.
The Kawalazi coffee farm is located along the dusty road that leads into the Nkhata Bay and for those that drive to the Bay, there will be a sign post at the roadside showing you exactly where it is located. When you get to the plantation, you will find someone who will take you through the farm while explaining about the different coffee bean types in the farm, how it is planted, harvested before being taken to the factory for processing. The best way to explore the farm is by walking through it therefore you need to pack good trekking shoes and you might also help in picking up the coffee with the locals and it is also the perfect chance to meet with the locals and get to know more about them.
The strategic location of the Nkhata Bay makes it the perfect place for all those that want to go for fishing either for sport or food. The locals have boats that you can use while you go out for fishing but remember to ask for a life jacket in case of any accidents and while fishing you will learn about the local methods that the locals use while fishing and how they preserve the fish locally. And if possible participate in the fish market where fish is auctioned off to the highest bidder.
The tea and rubber plantation are also located on your way to the Nkhata Bay and it is the perfect place to begin your exploration of the bay. The best way to explore the tea and rubber farms is by hiring a bicycle to take you around as the routes passing through the farms are extremely narrow. There will be a guide who will take you through the farm and for all those who do not know how tea looks like before it is processed, this is the perfect time for you to see it, help with picking the ready tea leaves and also meet with the locals and learn more about their traditions and how they live in the area.
There are several accommodation facilities that can be found on Nkhata bay and when you arrive at the bay irrelevant of the transport means that you have used, the hotel will send a representative to pick you up and you should also know that accommodation comes in three categories that is basic, mid-range and luxury accommodation facilities.
The Mayoka village lodge is located at the edge of the bay and in order to get to it, you are to use a boat as a mode of transportation. Before heading to the lodge you need to make sure that you book ahead of time and be specific about when you are checking out of the lodge. They have good self-contained rooms and serve well prepared local food to their visitors.
The Kande Beach resort has all the rooms that fit into someone’s interests that is single and double self-contained rooms and campsites. They have a café where you can get great tasting food and its location at the southern end of the bay gives all the visitors the privacy that they need. You will also be able to carry out many activities here like fishing, horse riding and relaxing on the beach.
The Butterfly lodge is located nearer to the Centre of the bay and it is known to be more expensive than the rest of the accommodation facilities due to the privacy that they offer to their visitors and not forgetting the self-contained rooms and the good food that is served at the lodge both local and international. The tourists can also get involved in the different projects that are prepared by the lodge like youth projects and volunteering at a local school.
The Nyanja lodge is one of the most popular lodges at the Nkhata bay and this is because it has been around for more than twenty years. It offers both double and self- contained rooms with all the best service from the workers ad they also have a campsite available for backpackers.
The Blue packers is located in a quiet place and they have both self-contained rooms which are both single and dual rooms. They also serve good meals at the lodge and if you want to fully relax and enjoy the bay, then this is the perfect place for you to stay but you will also need to book in advance in order to get the best rooms.
The Nkhata bay is known to be extremely safe but that does not mean that it is entirely safe and that is why you should make sure that you avoid walking on the streets at night and alone at least make sure that you go with your tour guide and also do not walk with all your valuables it is better if you leave them in your room.
There are mainly three transportation modes that can get you to Nkhata Bay easily and these include using a bus, a boat and a plane and the main determinant of what you will use is the amount of money that you have for transport.
There are several mini buses that can be found in Mzuzu and these move at different intervals to the Nkhata Bay. They are fairly cheap as a trip costs about four dollars to the Nkhata Bay and when using the buses, you have to brace yourself because they are sometimes overloaded.
There are also buses that leave Lilongwe and these also offer the trip to Nkhata Bay cheaply although the good thing about using these buses is that they are not overloaded and you can enjoy your ride even though sometimes it might turn bumpy.
Travelling by air might be a bit expensive but it is one of the easiest way of getting to Nkhata Bay. There are flights form Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu that fly in directly to Nkhata Bay and these take a specific number of people but the good thing about using this is that it is both comfortable and fast.
Many tourists are forced to take the boats or ferries because these are easily accessible and fill fast as compared to the other modes of transportation. The journey by water is really exciting because you get to see many aqua animals swimming by, the different bird species lounging along the Lake and see the other floating Islands at the Lake Malawi.
The freedom that comes with visiting Nkhata bay can only be achieved when you visit it personally and since it is located near a water body, do not forget to take insect repellents so that you avoid insect bites especially since Malawi is well known for her infestation of malaria causing mosquitoes.