Malawi Northern Region

Malawi Northern Region

Less well known than the other regions of the country, the Northern Region has so much to offer the tourist. With a lower population density, it is a region for those who wish to experience Africa at its most unspoiled. It has a different character from the rest of the country, recognisable in its scenery and its people. Except for Lake Malawi, the Northern Region is characterised by its great highlands and its quite astonishing beauty is the lasting memory of all who explore this unique area.

The Northern Region covers an area of 26,931 km² (16,734 mi²). It has six districts namely Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay and Likoma and is the least populated of Malawi’s region.

The islands of Chizumulu and Likoma in Likoma District are part of Malawi even though they are on the Mozambique side of the lake.

It borders Tanzania to the north and east, and Zambia to the west.

Its headquarters are in Mzuzu which is less than one-fifth the size of Lilongwe or Blantyre. It is, on the average, the highest of the regions, characterised by unique highland areas and dramatic lake shorelines.

It has one National Park and one Wildlife Reserve.

Chitipa 4,288 km² 1,656 mi²
Karonga 3,355 km² 1,295 mi²
Rumphi 4,769 km² 1,841 mi²
Mzimba 10,430 km² 4,027 mi²
Nkhata Bay 4,071 km² 1,572 mi²
Likoma 18 km² 7 mi²


The people living in the Northern Region are mainly the Bantu. They include the Tumbuka, Tonga, Ngoni, Nkhonde and Lambya. The main towns in this region are cosmopolitan (multi-ethnic), with people from various cultures and races living there.

Economic Activities

The main economic activities in the Northern Region include mining of bauxite, uranium, aluminium and kaolinite, production of hydro-electric power, timber and rubber, fishing, making of boats, keeping of livestock (pigs, goats, sheep and cattle) and cultivation of tea, coffee, tobacco, maize. Cassava and rice.

Mzuzu, which is the third largest city in the country, acts as the main commercial hub of the Northern Region.

Manufacturing of medical products and cosmetics is also common while fishing is a major economic activity in Lake Malawi and Likoma Islands. Livestock rearing and the processing of related products are common in Karonga and Mzuzu.

Coal mining is done in Livingstonia, boat building and repair in Karonga, and rubber and tobacco processing in Nkhata Bay.

Main Tourist Attractions

Nyika National ParkNyika National Park         (Entrance gate: early-18.00 daily, USD1...
Vwaza Marsh Wildlife ReserveVwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve (Entrance gate: early-18.00 daily, USD...
Chintheche, Bandawe, Kande, and DwangwaChintheche, Bandawe, Kande, and Dwangwa The beaches along the 198km...
LivingstoniaLivingstonia Livingstonia, perched on the Rift Valley Escarpment ab...
Cultural & Museum Centre KarongaCultural & Museum Centre Karonga Entrance: USD2, 8:30-17:00 (Mo...