ZombaMalawi about 1 hr from Blantyre. It was the capital of Malawi until Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the first president, moved the capital to Lilongwe. Most travellers visiting Zomba are coming for the Zomba Plateau.
The town has little for tourists but the people are welcoming, and there is a large market in the centre, where you can buy almost anything.
There are several car hire companies in town that offer a reasonable range of saloons and 4x4s of varying quality and price. The police set up frequent road blocks, and it is not uncommon to be stopped several times a day and be asked to present your driving licence and allow them to perform a cursory examination of the car looking for faults.
There are frequent minibuses around town, and a taxi rank on the main Blantyre road.
The walk down is quicker as it is quick down hill pace on tarmac.
If you are happy to, large trucks which act as a bus service to those who live on the remote villages of the plateau, several times a day descend and ascend the plateau. If your going up the plateau wait up the road side away from the very center of Zomba (close to the police station/prison - not as scary as it sounds!)
If going down the mountain, stay near the Ku Chawe Inn and ask the curio boys when the last truck left. Make sure you leave plenty of time to catch a lift down!
The boys will try to sell you crystals from the mountains, and other small curious and lots of berries from the mountains.
Due to the remote location of the plateau, which is rarely properly explored the guide boys are keen to talk and find out about you.
You can ask at your accommodation to recommend a guide. Cost should be approximately 5000 MK for a day with a guide.
It is very easy to get disoriented in the forest!
- Go to the stunning waterfalls, in particular Williams Falls.
- Go to the top of Chawe mountain, or Queens View or Emporers view for a stunning look across Southern Malawi.
- Climb the Chawe mountain, which is possible in an hour if up for a good hike.
- Visit the viewpoints for breathtaking views.
- Visit the man made and natural dams.
- Visit (and swim under!) the waterfalls.
- There is a small golf course and driving range on your left as you head out of town on the Lilongwe road. There is a swimming pool that is sometimes open to the public at the school.
Shoprite Usave Supermarket.address: Namiwawa Road
Standard bankaddress: Kamuzu highwayHas a Master Card/Visa Card ATM.
There are a lot of curios available at the top of the plateau outside the Ku Chawe Inn.
Casa RossaIt has good Italian food and is a Skyband wifi hotspot.
Hotel MasongolaHas a good traditional menu and the chicken kawawa is an excellent dish. A little expensive.
Sunbird HotelWestern restaurant / bar with magnificent views over Zomba. Has a buffet Sunday lunch / BBQ.
Annie'saddress: Mulunguzi RoadTwo kitchens at Annie's Lodge cater to mid-market business clientele, civil servants, and travelers. The downhill location near the National Statistics Office on Mulunguzi Road has reasonably priced lunch specials (rice, nsima, stew, and so forth). The location up the hill (toward Masongola) offers a similar menu, a casual outdoor bar area, and has facilities for meetings and conferences.
DominosBar / pizzaria signposted from the towncenre, just off the main road towards the plateau. Service tends to be a little slow. Shows live sport with a projector on a wide screen.
Annie's LodgeTwo kitchens at Annie's Lodge cater to mid-market business clientele and travelers. The downhill location near the National Statistics Office on Mulunguzi Road has reasonably priced lunch specials (rice, nsima, stew, and so forth). The location up the hill (toward Masongola) offers a similar menu, a casual outdoor bar area, and has facilities for meetings and conferences.
In Zomba town
Annie's Lodgesingle/double rooms, Globe wifi hotspot.
phone: +265 994 685 934Pakachere is a backpackers run by local people not far from the city centre. Also has a bar, restaurant and cyber bar. hot water. wifi.
phone: +265 881336126address: Mountain Road 5 Zomba.4 rooms, camping 7,500 MK with breakfast
Peters Lodgesingle/double rooms
On the plateau
Sunbird Ku Chawe InnClearly signposted from Zomba town. Situated at the top of the plateau with stunning views. US$80-100 for a double room including breakfast.
phone: +265 992 802 702A beautiful, friendly and well-run place, with a fantastic chef. All 5 rooms are en-suite with hot running water. There's a garden with views down towards Zomba town, and a large residents lounge with a library and a log fire in the evenings. Price includes dinner and breakfast.
The Trout FarmA budget option, cabins cost about US$10/cabin/night. Each cabin sleeps two people in single beds and as well as lovely log cabins there are hot showers. The paths leading out around the plateau pass by the camp, and although no food is available at this farm, it is only a short walk to the Ku Chawe Inn. It can be fairly chilly at night, so wrap up warm!