Mzuzu to Nkhata Bay: Traversing down the M5

Over the just ended holidays my family travelled to Chintheche, the famous beaches on the northern shores of Lake Malawi. Chintheche lies about 40 kilometres south of Nkhata Bay boma and just over 80 kilometres from Mzuzu. It is famed for its pristine beaches.

Our journey took us through beautiful mountain views, a rubber plantation and natural woodland from Mzuzu. A photo story of the journey.


Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road

The 46km long Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road was recently constructed by ZÜBLIN and STRABAG International GmbH. The road is part of the M5 starting from the Salima turn-off in Balaka running through Salima and Nkhotakota to Mzuzu.

Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road

It was wet morning but a very beautiful drive.

Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road

The rolling hills as you drive out of Mzuzu have an uncanny resemblance to Rwanda’s mountainous terrain.

Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road

Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road

Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay taxi

The Mzuzu – Nkhata Bay road is serviced by many Toyota Sienta mini MPVs operating as taxis. Like most secondary roads in Malawi, you will rarely find proper commuter buses.

Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road

Limphasa river on Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay road

Crossing Limphasa river in Nkhata Bay.

Nkhata Bay

Nkhata Bay boma overlooks the Lake Malawi and Nkhata Bay jetty. It is a bit of a tight squeeze and very busy! The bay itself is rather underwhelming and clearly has a waste disposal problem, something someone needs to get on top of. There a number of lodges in the town but we had a pristine beach to get to.

The white boat has some graffiti “Am not dead am just sick”.

Nkhata Bay

Soaking up the sun… the few rays the clouds let through.

Nkhata Bay

Canoes leaving and coming into port.

Nkhata Bay port

Outside Nkhata Bay Port, the main lake port in northern Malawi. Vessels such as the MV Ilala leave this port for the enclaves of Likoma and Chizumulu islands in Lake Malawi as well as ports further south in Salima and Mangochi.

Vizara Rubber Plantation

After Nkhata Bay boma you drive through Vizara Rubber Plantation. The estate was established by Sir Henry Wickham in 1876 and has approximately 600,000 rubber trees.  Vizara means “horn of plenty” in the local Tonga language. The plantation also processes spent rubber trees into timber.

Vizara Rubber Plantation

A timber plantation after Vizara.

Mangoes in Nkhata Bay

There are mangoes in Nkhata Bay. Lots of them. Roadside sellers around every bend and rotting ones under every other mango trees.

Last stretch

At Kawiya bridge, Chintheche beach in the background

At Kawiya bridge. After many hours of travel I was clearly happy to be in Chintheche.

Follow up post: Sun, sand and beer on the beaches of Chintheche.

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