The Best Things to Do in Nkhata Bay
Nkhata Bay is one of the most popular beach resorts in northern Malawi.
While Nkhata Bay is a great place to relax along the lake, it also offers a wide range of activities and attractions.
This article provides an overview of what to do and where to go in Nkhata Bay.
Watersports in Nkhata Bay
Scuba Diving at Aqua Africa
Aqua Africa Scuba Diving School is located opposite the Ilala Ferry Port in Nkhata Bay.
Lake Malawi is home to many tropical fish and hundreds of species found nowhere else on earth.
You’ll see lovely colourful fish and cichlids that protect their offspring in their mouths.
Malawi’s gorgeous Rift Valley landscape is reflected under the water, creating a stunning lake landscape of dramatic rock formations, caves and cliffs.
These features make Nkhata Bay one of the best freshwater diving destinations in the world.
It is said that Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than the USA and Europe combined.
No previous diving experience is required.
A range of scuba diving courses are available, from the half-day Discover Scuba Diving (USD85) for beginners to the four-day PADI Open Water Course (USD400).
For those who are already certified, they can offer refresher courses, advanced level courses and a range of specialty dives.
Malawi is said to be the one of the most affordable places in Africa to obtain a PADI certification.
Mayoka Village is a lively and friendly lodge on the lake.
Mayoka is also a focal point of activity for travellers around Nkhata Bay.
All guests have free access to stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, canoes and snorkelling equipment.
Stay at Mayoka Village and enjoy a full range of water sports.
Take a Boat Tour
If you come to Nkhata Bay, you can’t afford not to take a boat tour.
The lake has many attractions that are not easily seen from land.
Boat tours include activities such as fish eagle feeding, cliff jumping and snorkelling.
You can also visit Sandy Beach (Mpapa Beach) and relax on the beach while watching fishermen sort fish and maintain nets.
Boat tours can be arranged at any of the lodges in Nkhata Bay.
Volunteer in Nkhata Bay
Butterfly Space is a non-profit, community-based lodge that brings together international volunteers and the local community, situated on a cliff top overlooking Lake Malawi.
Butterfly supports a variety of community projects both within and outside the lodge, and volunteers can get involved in any project they feel passionate about.
There are also an Internet & Information Centre and a recording studio for youths on site, which attract many youths at weekends and after school.
Enjoy Food in Nkhata Bay
Located near the harbour in Nkhata Bay, Kaya Papaya is a very popular restaurant among tourists looking for delicious food.
In 2020, the restaurant was taken over by the current Dutch owner, who was a chef in The Netherlands, and the quality of the food has reached one of the highest levels in Malawi.
The large balcony on the upper floor overlooking the town of Nkhata Bay is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the cool breeze after a day of snorkelling or scuba diving on the beach.
It’s a must-visit when you are in Nkhata Bay.
Chicken Burger and Steamed Buns are highly recommended.
Pizza Sunday at Mayoka Village
Mayoka Village is a lively, friendly lodge with a spacious and comfortable restaurant and bar area, ideal for socialising and relaxing.
Vegetables are grown in the organic garden and fresh, excellent food is cooked to order.
“Pizza Sundays” are held every Sunday and pizzas are baked on site in a special oven.
Freshly baked pizzas by the lake are exceptional.
Crestview Restaurant is a local food restaurant in Nkhata Bay.
It is the place to go if you want to try traditional Malawian food, especially the unique dishes of Nkhata Bay.
The most recommended dish is Batala (butter fish) with Kondowole.
Kondowole is a local Malawian food mainly eaten in Northern Malawi.
While Nsima is made from maize flour, Kondowole is made from cassava flour.
If you are in Nkhata Bay, you should definitely try Kondowole.
Some people say that if you eat it for lunch, you don’t need to eat anything else in the evening because it is so filling and you don’t get hungry.
Buy Souvenirs in Nkhata Bay
Established in 2007, Bamboo Shop is a lovely handmade jewellery shop located on Chikale road in Nkhata Bay.
The shop offers many quality products such as jewelleries (necklaces, earrings, bracelets etc.), paintings and sculptures.
The jewellery is made on the spot by the owner called Mr. Machine.
You will find a piece of jewellery with your favourite colour combination.
Some of the items are only available in this shop, so if you are looking for a souvenir of your visit to Nkhata Bay, you should definitely stop by this shop.