Malawi Towns, Cities, Locations and Districts
(Malawi, MW, South-East Africa)
Malawi is mainly made up of small rural communities, with large cities relatively far and few between. The capital city is Lilongwe, which is located in the Central Malawi region and currently has a population just topping 900,000 people, Also located in this region is the Ntchisi Forest Reserve, which lies to the north of Lilongwe.
The rest of the country can be neatly divided into the relatively unspoiled region of North Malawi and the more developed South Malawi. In the northern region, you will find the districts of Chitipa, Karonga, Likoma, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay and Rumphi, while in the south, the most notable destinations include Blantyre, Chikwawa, Mangochi, Machinga, Mulanje, Thyolo and Zomba.
Lilongwe became the capital city of Malawi in the mid-1970s. A relatively small city compared to others in this part of the world, Lilongwe offers a fascinating glimpse into traditional African life in its Old Town, in contrast to the cosmopolitan feel of its newer Capital City district.
More information about Lilongwe
Blantyre, also known as Mandala, may not be the capital city of Malawi, but it certainly competes in terms of size, boasting a population now comfortably topping 700,000. It is also the commercial heart in the country. Originally, the town was the home of Scottish missionaries. Blantyre and Limbe have always been individual districts and quite distinct places. Of late, though, Limbe has gained a more industrial feel than Blantyre. In fact, in recent years, there's been quite a lot of development in the city, with shopping centres springing up. New buildings aside, visitors will be pleased to discover that the city has retained some of its historic architecture, including its 19th-century town hall. Other attractions include the Museum of Malawi and the Carlsberg Brewery.
Zomba used to be the colonial capital of South Malawi. It may have lost its title to Lilongwe, but it is still home to the country's main university. Once a popular expatriate haunt, the city still has some interesting colonial architecture. The city's most famous landmark is undoubtedly the nearby Zomba Plateau, an extremely scenic spot which is reached by either taking a six-hour uphill hike, or catching a bus or taxi.
This fast-growing community in the northern region of Malawi is now home to a university and has all the amenities you'd expect to find in a small African city, including an airport, and a variety of restaurants and bars. Mzuzu has grown to become the capital of the north and in terms of population, is currently the country's third-biggest city, with almost 200,000 people now living here. Nearby attractions include Nkhata Bay, the Waterberg Plateau Park and the historic Livingstonia Mission.
Salima is an interesting little town situated within the Central Region, featuring a lively market where visitors can stock up on groceries and other provisions. Shopping done, most visitors head for the beaches of Senga Bay, located just 16 km / 10 miles away.
Rumphi serves as a good base for visits to Nyika National Park and the Vwaza Wildlife Reserve. Other than acting as a hub for public transport in the area, Rumphi is a lively small town, complete with a local market. Of interest, Rumphi is known for its extremely friendly locals, who find it hard to pass someone with a smile or greeting.
Located at the northernmost tip of Lake Malawi, Karonga is a pleasant town to visit. Karonga and the surrounding area is steeped in history and traditional culture, dating back to the 16th century, when it was the centre of the Ngonde Kingdom. Visitors interested in finding out more can head to the town's cultural centre and museum, or pay a visit to historic sites such as Mbande Hill, Mulozi's Stockade and Mbande Hot Springs.