Malawi named one of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel Top Countries for 2022! Find out more.
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Salima & Senga Bay


Set back from the shore of Lake Malawi in Central Malawi is an important service and trading centre, the town of Salima. Close to the junction of the M14 road to Lilongwe and the lakeshore highway (M5), the town is 10 miles (16 km) inland from Senga Bay. This is a very busy little town with an interesting market and all the usual services.

To the east of Salima town is Senga Bay. This beautiful bay is the closest point on Lake Malawi to the country’s capital, just one and a half hours’ drive due east from Lilongwe. A broad stretch of sandy beach is host to a range of hotels, extending from the luxurious to small lodges and campsites. The two Serendib properties, Blue Waters by Serendib and Kambiri Beach by Serendib are amongst the most popular in Senga Bay, with plenty of facilities and activities for its guests. Off shore on its own deserted island in the Marelli Archipelago (part of the Lake Malawi National Park) is the wonderful Blue Zebra Island Lodge.

Round the northern headland of Senga Bay lies Leopard Bay, which is home to more accommodation options. Partly sited on the wooded headland separating the bays is Safari Beach Lodge, a charming lodge that has gained an excellent reputation over many years. Further north, alongside the next headland, is currently the area’s newest, Kumbali Lake Retreat – a rustic eco lodge run by the same owners as the highly regarded Kumbali Country Lodge in Lilongwe. In the heart of Leopard Bay, an exciting new development, and a first for Malawi,  the 5 star luxury Malo Resort is being built. It is due to open in late 2021 and, in the meantime, offers investment opportunities.

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Accommodation in or near Salima & Senga Bay

Blue Waters by Serendib

Blue Waters is an elegant getaway for the discerning traveler to enjoy world-class service amidst tranquil surroundings. Situated on Senga bay, in the lakeside town of Salima along the shores of Lake Malawi.

Blue Zebra Island Lodge

Blue Zebra Island Lodge is situated in the Lake Malawi National Park on Nankoma Island, offering 9 exclusive tented en-suite chalets each overlooking the lake with some of the chalets boasting private lake access.

Kambiri Beach by Serendib

Kambiri Beach is an exclusive resort, consisting of 67 rooms elegantly renovated, situated on the shores of Lake Malawi, in the picturesque town of Salima in the Senga Bay area.

Safari Beach Lodge

Safari Beach Lodge is an eco lodge directly on the shore of Lake Malawi located in the secluded Senga Bay Forest Reserve. It has its own private beach, a swimming pool, a beautiful platform bar and a lush forest garden with views over Leopard Bay.

Kuwona Cottage

Kuwona Cottage is a private beachside cottage, run by Kiboko Safaris, situated on the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi. Enjoy spectacular views of the lake from your own private beach.

Kumbali Lake Retreat

Kumbali Lake Retreat is an eco-friendly lodge on the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi. Owned and run by the same family who own Kumbali Country Lodge in Lilongwe.

Malo Resort

*COMING SOON* Malo Resort is a 5 Star Lakeside Devolvement being built on the shores of Lake Malawi. Due for completion in late 2021, this is the first of its kind in Malawi.


Other Places to Visit in Central Malawi

Chongoni Rock Art

In the forested granite hills around Dedza is the Chongoni Rock Art Area, a UNESCO World Heritage SIte. this is the densest cluster of ancient rock art found in central Africa.

Dedza

Dedza is a town of interest for a variety of reasons. At 1600m (5300ft) it is the highest town in the country and sits in a beautiful landscape of forests and highlands.

Dwangwa

Thirty miles north of Nkhotakota is the settlement of Dwangwa, a useful place to stock up and refuel when travelling up and down the lakeshore.

Dzalanyama Forest Reserve

Dzalanyama is approximately 40 km from Lilongwe and covers the steep range of hills which bear the same name. It's a beautiful natural environment to explore and enjoy.

Kasungu National Park

Kasungu National Park is an 800 sq mile area of natural woodland and bush with stretches of open grass. Poaching has reduced numbers but there is still wildlife to be seen.

Lilongwe

Lilongwe is Malawi’s capital. The Old Town is distinct and has the appearance of a traditional African settlement, whilst the City has much in common with other twentieth century urban developments around the world.

Marelli Islands

The Marelli Islands group, consist of three uninhabited islands that are protected as part of the Lake Malawi National Park. They are 3 km from the Senga Bay shore.

Mua Mission

Mua Mission is famous for the quality of the wood carvings produced and sold there. The standards are superb and the prices very reasonable.

Nkhotakota

Often, but confusingly, described as the largest traditional village in Africa, Nkhotakota is rich in history. Visited by Dr Livingstone in 1863, it was then a major centre for the slave trade.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is one of the two large wildlife areas in Central Malawi. A true wilderness, it has a promising future after recent mass restocking.

Ntchisi Forest Reserve

Ntchisi Forest Reserve contains some of the last remaining indigenous rainforest in Malawi. Some trees tower thirty metres overhead.


Other Places to Visit on Lake Malawi

Chintheche

Chintheche offers some of the best beaches on Lake Malawi, with a collection of luxury lodges right by the shore.

Dwangwa

Thirty miles north of Nkhotakota is the settlement of Dwangwa, a useful place to stock up and refuel when travelling up and down the lakeshore.

Karonga

Karonga is one of Lake Malawi's most northern towns. It is home to a wonderful new museum of cultural history and archeology.

Lake Malawi National Park

Lake Malawi National Park is the world's first freshwater national park and world heritage site, situated at Cape Maclear.

Likoma Island

Likoma Island sits on the far side of the Lake Malawi in Mozambican waters. The island is home to stunning beaches and lodges, with access by boat or aircraft.

Manda Wilderness (Mozambique)

A massive 100,000 ha area of Mozambique land which runs to the eastern shore of Lake Malawi forms the Manda Wilderness Community Reserve.

Mangochi Lakeshore

The Mangochi Lakeshore is a strip of southern Lake Malawi where many popular hotels and resorts offer beachside accommodation.

Marelli Islands

The Marelli Islands group, consist of three uninhabited islands that are protected as part of the Lake Malawi National Park. They are 3 km from the Senga Bay shore.

Monkey Bay

Monkey Bay is considered to be one of Malawi's main lake ports, and is where the famous Ilala ferry docks and begins its weekly sojourn up and down the Lake

Nkhata Bay

Nkhata Bay is a small sheltered harbour on Lake Malawi's northern shore. It is a focus for the fishing industry but becoming increasingly important as a tourist centre. 

Nkhotakota

Often, but confusingly, described as the largest traditional village in Africa, Nkhotakota is rich in history. Visited by Dr Livingstone in 1863, it was then a major centre for the slave trade.

Northern Lakeshore / Chitimba

The lakeshore in the far north between Nkhata Bay and Karonga is dramatic, with steep rift valley escarpments at times forming the shoreline.


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