Monkey Bay

The main road of town

Monkey Bay is at the southern end of Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa), in the Southern Region of Malawi. It is a small port town, home to large monkey population and gateway to Cape Maclear and the world heritage listed Lake Malawi National Park.

Get in[edit]

The M/S Ilala is still calling at Monkey Bay port on its way to Karonga. The much more modern M/S Mtendere has been mothballed.

There is daily "AXA" bus from Lilongwe bus terminal, starting at 08:00, arriving to Monkey Bay around 14:00.

Get around[edit]



Dugout canoes on Lake Malawi

The best thing to do on the lake and in Monkey Bay is kayak to the surrounding rocky outcrops and small islands and snorkel to see the amazing fish. Take a snorkel and goggles along - the water is so calm that fins are unnecessary. Kayaks can be hired for the day from Venice Beach backpackers for around US$10.

You can also board the MV Mangunda in Monkey Bay. The ship is available for sunset "booze cruises," daytrips to Cape Maclear and the islands, or extended trips to Liwonde National Park.





  • Alcon Cottages (Within Monkey Bay), +265999951301. Single rooms cottage and private bathroom; Cottages with private lounge, kitchen, and private bathroom. Alcon Cottages is a group of gorgeous stone cottage with all modern conveniences, including fans and mosquito nets. This lakeside resort also has a renowned restaurant (try the local fish dishes!), a well-stocked bar, a swimming pool, a trampoline, and a pool table. Families, couples, locals, and foreigners all feel welcome and comfortable here.
  • [dead link] MV Mangunda (Cruise Ship docked on the shores of Monkey Bay), +265 88 8278473. The MV Mangunda sleeps up to 8 people in cabins with shared bathrooms and showers. The cruise ship is available for hire for daytrips to Cape Maclear or Liwonde National Park.
  • Hakuna Matata Backpackers, near the bus stop, a friendly, South African-run place, K350 single, K500 double (and very simple accommodations from K150), meals at moderate prices. On the entertainment side, a lively bar with two pool tables, darts and juke box. The meeting place for travellers in Malawi.
  • [dead link] Palm Beach Leisure Resort, +265 1-594-798.
  • Nkopola Beach Resort, +265 1-594-444. A nice destination for overlanders, campers, or day trippers who plan to bring their own food. A short walk from Nkopola Lodge, the beach resort is snugly nestled at the base of a tree and boulder-packed mountain. You can arrange to sleep in one of the tents permanently set up, or even one of the small houses, or just set up your own place. Cold drinks are available from the bar, though if you want food you may have to walk up the beach to the Lodge.
  • Nkopola Lodge, +265 1-594-444. Suited for day visits and longer stays, caters mainly to foreigners and wealthier locals from the city. Offering a friendly staff, several levels of comfort are available to suit your budget. Part of the Sunbird hotel chain, renovations have been underway to help bring the entire facility more up to par. The family-size bungalows face the gentle rolling waves of the lakeshore; roundavals sit in a second row of buildings behind the bungalows with no view of the lake. Of special note is the zoo-like enclosure that offers many varieties of tropical birds. Also on the grounds are plenty of monkeys, rock dassies, monitor lizards, baboons, and even donkeys.
  • Club Makokola, +265 1-580-772, +265 9-971-012. Club Mak is the premier spot between Mangochi and Cape Maclear. Air Malawi offers flights to its airstrip, making it a popular spot for those wanting to land somewhere between Blantyre and Lilongwe. A gorgeous 18-hole golf course is another draw to Club Mak. The prices are steep. The grounds are spacious and well manicured, with a tropical feel and lots of green. They offer large spacious rooms and a bar and restaurant on the beach; it offers fantastic views of the lake. US$160 a night for tourists, $80 for locals, but can be bargained down.
  • Tropex, the resort's plant nursery just outside the main gate, is a great place to pick up your own sapplings and start your own tropical forest. Day visitors are able to use the facilities, including the lovely pool. Prices are K400 per adult per day, children are K200 each. Meals are acceptable, though the portions a bit small for the price.
  • Boadzulu Lodge, +265 1-594-725-570-562. Across from Boadzulu Island (well known for its bird wildlife), this affordable lodge 30 km north of Mangochi offers a friendly atmosphere with mature grounds. Each of the rooms --with fans (standard), aircon (executive), DSTV (all) appear to be clean and well maintained. The bar and restaurant (seating 50), both with the option of eating outdoors, are attractively situated next to the beach under a huge tree offering great shade and beauty. Other amenities include beach volleyball, snorkeling, scuba, water skiing, fishing, and kayaking as well as the option of hiring a boat to take you to Mvuu camp (Liwonde National Park) or up the lake to Cape Maclear. The most affordable options for lodging is the camping area which has army-style spacious tents with beds inside and a place next to each tent for a personal vehicle to be parked. They are also equipped with electricity and nearby shower/bath.
  • Andrews Holiday Resort, +265 1-580-772/445/469/244/447, 09-971-012/0161594372 / 09-941-264 / 08-824-962.
  • [dead link] Sun 'n Sand, +265 1-594-545-550. Hosts a huge variety of amenities on its sprawling grounds just a little ways past Club Mak. Children will agree that the best thing offered here is the pool--rumoured to be the largest in the country! Kids will also love the fun (and unique) playground equipment, inflatable jumping castle (on weekends), kiddy pool, and plenty of animals around the place (guinea fowl, ducks, geese, and even ostriches). One downside to this place is that it is so big it can take a while to walk from your room to the restaurant, or from the room to the pool, depending on where you are staying. The area's Asian population especially frequent this establishment. A small but attractive mosque is situated on the far end of the property (next to the pool) so vacationers don't need to worry about missing daily prayers.
  • Venice Beach Backpackers (Within Monkey Bay), +265 9991-9453. A very cool and laid-back place to stay right on the white sandy beach. Its owned and run by 100% native Malawians. Want to have an African experience? This is the place. They offer kayaks, scuba diving, fishing trips and day trips to Cape Maclear, the other side of the Peninsula.
  • Mufasa Camp Backpackers, +265 993080057. Offers basic but comfortable accommodation on an idyllic, quiet and private beach. If you like 'rustic', can cope with no electricity (you can recharge computers and phones in town for K50) enjoy carefree lounging on the sandy beach or swimming in the clear waters of Lake Malawi only metres from your room, this may be a place for you. The menu and bar is limited but it's the location and price that are most attractive. To find Mufasa go to the end of the road that takes you into Monkey Bay and turn right at the port. A sign directs you to turn right again onto a dirt road. Follow this to the camp. Camping K2000, Dorm bed K3500, own room K10,000.
  • Cool Runnings Backpackers (next to Murfasa Backpackers). Camping and dorm beds Camping K2,400, Dorm bed K4,800.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Monkey Bay is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!