Monkey Bay

Monkey Bay

Monkey Bay is in a town in the Mangochi District at the southern end of Lake Malawi and one of Malawi’s main lake ports.

It is home to large monkey population and the main gateway to Lake Malawi National Park and Cape Maclear for those using public transport.

Monkey Bay is referred to as the “best-known resort area” in Malawi with sandy beaches and tropical fish all around. It also provides a good place to go diving and get PADI (Scuba Diving Certification).

The ferry harbour at Monkey Bay is in use by the MV Ilala and the small town remains the main bus and minibus terminus servicing the peninsula. For this reason, many travellers pass through Monkey Bay on their way up the lake or head straight to Cape Maclear.

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Cape MaclearCape Maclear Cape Maclear is the busiest resort on Lake Malawi and ...
MangochiMangochi Land Area (km²) / Rank 6,273 km² / 3rd out of 28 di...
  1. Monkey Bay is home to large monkey population. 
  2. It is the main gateway to Lake Malawi National Park and Cape Maclear for those using public transport.
  3. It is referred to as the “best-known resort area” in Malawi.

Getting there and away

Monkey Bay is 206km (128miles) from Lilongwe and 253km (157miles) from Blantyre. Coming by road, Monkey Bay lies about 10km from the M10 between Salima and Mangochi, along a well surfaced feeder road branching north at Chirombo junction. The quickest and best road route from Lilongwe entails following the M1 through Dedza to Masasa, then the newly surfaced S127 to Golomoti, then the M5 south for about 1km before turning left into a new extension of the S216 that connects with M10 en route to Chirombo and Monkey Bay.

AXA buses go to Monkey Bay, usually via Mua and the southern lakeshore (four hours) from Lilongwe. You’re probably better off going by minibus to Salima (two hours), from where you might find a minibus going directly to Monkey Bay. It’s much easier to reach Monkey Bay from Blantyre on the ordinary bus that travels via Liwonde and Mangochi (five to six hours). A quicker option is to go by minibus (four to five hours), but you’ll need to leave early in the morning and you might have to change at Mangochi.

Monkey Bay Harbour, at the north end of the small town centre, is an embarkation point for the MV Ilala, and the Malawi Shipping Company maintains a booking office here. For further details of the itinerary and ticket prices.