When I first thought about traveling to Nkhata Bay from Lilongwe, it was on a bicycle in 2013. I had little idea in terms of what to expect only it was super popular for volunteer projects and apparently, one of the best places for backpackers in Malawi. Simply put, it was both. Here are just a few reasons more people should be traveling to Nkhata Bay:
5 Reasons you should be traveling to Nkhata Bay
Traveling to Nkhata Bay is an adventure
Okay, it might be a bit tiresome at times but traveling Malawi is also a cultural experience and if you keep the right mindset, even fun. Although I don’t recommend people travel Malawi on a bicycle, it’s a genuine experience to meet and travel like the locals.
It is one of the best places to Volunteer in Africa
Malawi is known as one of the best places to volunteer in Africa and the same can be said about volunteering in Nkhata Bay. Whether you want to help out in a community school or assist a medical facility, participate in the construction of a nearby village or teach English to some local children; there are many volunteer projects in Nkhata Bay from which to choose.
Nkhata Bay is stunning
Sitting on a balcony with the sun going down and gazing across Lake Malawi is one of the most memorable things to do in Africa. This may be a poor part of the world but it is also incredibly stunning and this fishing village is a prime example.
Not everyone else is traveling to Nkhata Bay
Even though this is a popular place for backpackers in Malawi, not everyone is traveling to Nkhata Bay and in this sense, you can expect an unspoilt and primitive experience. Locals here are welcoming and always enjoy meeting curious backpackers or volunteers.
Morale of the story: Get here before everyone else joins the party!
Tips on traveling to Nkhata Bay
Traveling to Nkhata Bay from Lilongwe was not as easy as I expected. There are in fact no direct buses from the capital to this backpackers haven and little information on how to get to Nkhata Bay either. After some research in town, I found out the best way to get to Nkhata Bay was either taxi or by taking a bus to Mzuzu and onward to the small fishing village itself.
Taking a taxi to Nkhata Bay is not cheap so the bus is the most common means. Having arrived in Mzuzu, you will notice it’s a lot quieter and laid back than the capital but this is about to change yet again when you reach the final destination. You may need to wait a short while for the next bus to depart for Nkhata Bay but be patient, from there it won’t be long until you arrived in this little pocket of paradise.
Backpacking Tip: The bus station in Lilongwe is a bit hectic and intimidating for first-time travelers but really, it’s an easy process once you stay calm. There are many bus ticketing booths so just choose one of them and make sure you can see the actual bus before you depart.