So, you want to take a trip to Nkhotakota for the festival, but you’re wondering if you can hang around and do other stuff while you’re around this nice place?
Nkhotakota is both a district and a town (the boma), and it has an interesting history as well as some interesting places to go to see. It was a place of Arab slave trade, and also where “Islam and Christianity first met, conversed, negotiated with each other and agreed to have mutual existence”. In addition to the monuments of cultural history present in the district, there other things to experience, like a wildlife reserve to go on safari, and hot springs – not to mention the lake!
Let us give you a brief list of some of the things to see and do in Nkhotakota.
Nkhotakota is located on the shore of the beautiful Lake Malawi. From the boma you can go by car or motorbike (approximately 30 minutes) to some really nice beaches around the Sani area (f.ex. Pottery Lodge, Fish Eagle Bay, Safari Lodge). These are perfect sites for swimming, snorkling and kayaking.
Mawira Hot Springs
Mawira is an area of hot water that continuously gushes from the ground since time immemorial. The hot springs are also known as the Chagaduka hot springs. or Kawira hot springs. We think the guys over here described the experience very well: http://www.travelmalawiguide.com/mawira%20hotsprings.html
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Want to see elephants mixed with gorgeous scenery? Nkhotakota wildlife reserve is the place for you. The reserve is the largest and oldest reserve in Malawi. The terrain in the reserve is hilly with dambos (wetlands) and miombo woodlands which dominates the vegetation. There is a great variety in mammals and bird species in the park – elephants, antelopes, baboons and leopards, to name a few. The park has been vulnerable to charcoal burning, logging and poaching, which resulted in a massive decrease of wildlife. However, in 2015 the nonprofit organization African Parks started managing the reserve and they managed to increase animal populations.
More info about the Wildlife Reserve:
Monuments of colonial history
In Kombo village, in Nkhotakota boma (town) you can find the remains of what is known as the first Masjid (Mosque) in Malawi, built in 1860, called Bondo Mosque. This mosque is a reminder of the Arab slave trade in Malawi, led by chief Jumbo. At the mosque captured slaves were rested, fed and cleansed before they were sendt to a journey they would not return from.
It is also a reminder of the birth of Islam in Malawi, and how Islam and Christianity live side by side.
More information about this:
Also in Kombo village, in the grounds of the St Anne’s Mission Hospital in the Nkhotakota boma (town), the explorer David Livingstone supposedly camped under this large tree while leading an expedition to Malawi in the 1860s. When he returned a few years later, he met with chief and slave trader Jumbe, and persuaded him to abandon the slave trade. The agreement did not last, however, and Nyasaland (former name of Malawi) would wait until 1891 to see the end of the trade.
Other things to see and do
If you are proceeding from Nkhotakota town down towards the lakeside, as you get closer you will see big rice plantations. The plantations in addition to the surrounding nature creates a beautiful scenery. Bring out your cameras, you would want to capture this!
Dwangwa sugar plantation
A one and a half hour away from Nkhotakota town you can find the large sugar plantations of Dwangwa trading centre. You can learn how the sugar is processed, taste it and enjoy the place.
Along the lake there is the Pottery Lodge, where you can take lessons in pottery and make your own ceramics.
More info to be found on their web page: