North Malawi has so much to offer the visitor. Less well known than the rest of the country and with a lower population density, it is a region for those who wish to experience Africa at its most unspoilt. Its quite astonishing beauty is the lasting memory of all who explore this unique area of central Africa.
The north is typified by its enormous highlands. Forming a stunning forested spine all the way from Central Malawi, Viphya Highlands is a rising and falling plateau rising to 6,000 feet or 1800 meters even though a number of peaks extend a additional 1,000 feet or 300 meter higher. along the borders with Zambia with Tanzania, just to the north, additional important ranges are the Malingu Mountains as well as the Misuku Hills mounting to more than 7000 feet or 2100 meters and 6500 feet or 2000 meters respectively. however the most wonderful of all is the impressive Nyika Plateau, high to at least 8,000 feet or 2,500 meters. The rising and falling landscapes of the beautiful centre of this plateau are depicted as whalebacks although the borders of this granite center are scarp-resembling especially where, in the northeastern, it structures the rim of the impressive Great Rift Valley.
Not only is Nyika a unique landscape, but it is Malawi’s largest national park, populated by numerous species, including large herds of roan and eland antelope. North Malawi’s other protected area is the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, a lower lying area offering a more traditional bush-game experience.
The highlands of the north also influence the nature of the lakeshore, which in this region can be quite dramatic – fishing villages sitting at the base of cliff-like escarpments accessible primarily by boat. Chintheche has perhaps some of the most beautiful of Lake Malawi’s beaches. Nkhata Bay is a bustling lake port, important to the fishing industry. Set back from the Northerm Lakeshore at Chitimba is Livingstonia, a mission settlement high on a plateau overlooking the lake, that has a fascinating history dating back to 1894. The most northerly lakeshore town of note is Karonga, an important archaeological centre and now home to a museum that tells the history of this area back to pre-historic times. The skeletal remains of the Malawisaurus dinosaur have been unearthed nearby, as have been the oldest human remains in the country. Across the lake, into Mozambiquan waters, is Likoma Island. Not only does it have some beautiful beaches, also a missionary-built cathedral the size of Winchester’s. A nearby stretch of the Mozambique shoreline,Manda Wilderness, is a 120,000 hectare community reserve of unspoilt wilderness and white sand beaches.
Mzuzu, the regional capital, is the only town of any size in North Malawi. Though still dwarfed by those to the south, it is growing rapidly now.