Mzuzu was developed around the Commonwealth Development Corporation’s Tung Oil Estate in 1947 and was declared a city in 1985.
The name of Mzuzu is said to come from a mispronunciation of the word “Vizuzu” by white settlers. Vizuzu is a plant that grows along the Lunyangwa river.
Mzuzu is the capital of Malawi’s Northern Region and is the third largest city in Malawi.
It is about 380km north of Lilongwe and situated in Mzimba District. It stands at the junction of the lakeshore road M5 and Malawi’s main north-south highway M1.
Travellers heading to Blantyre, Lilongwe, Livingstonia, Nyika or Viphya, or to and from Tanzania tend to spend a night here.
Mzuzu is in the centre of an agricultural region, and the area surrounding the city specialises in coffee, tea and rubber cultivation. Manufacturing includes medication, cosmetics and timber.
Mzuzu has become strongly identified with the excellent coffee marketed by Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union, which represents more than 3,000 individual coffee growers in the highlands of Misuku, North Viphya, Phoka, Mzimba and Nkhata Bay.
The tea grown here is also recognized around the world as being among the world’s finest.
Through Mzuzu University, established in 1997 and has more than 1,000 students, the city has a highly skilled labour force, and along with its arable land, sufficient potable water and electricity.
The culture of the city is a combination of the northern region.
Chitumbuka is widely spoken in Mzuzu, but being a city, other languages such as Chichewa and Chitonga are also spoken.
- Mzuzu is the third largest city in Malawi.
- Mzuzu has become strongly identified with the excellent coffee called ‘Mzuzu Coffee’.
- Mzuzu University established in 1997 and has more than 1,000 students.
Famous Person from Mzuzu
Shepherd Bushiri (Christian Preacher, Televangelist, and Richest Malawian)
Getting there and Away
Mzuzu lies 380km north of Lilongwe and 245km south of Karonga on the surfaced M1, and 50km northwest of Nkhata Bay along the M5. In a private vehicle, it takes 5 hours from Lilongwe, 4 hours from Karonga and 45 minutes from Nkhata Bay.
The best bus services from Lilongwe and most other main towns are AXA Coach Service (MK9,800) or SOSOSO Coaches (MK9,000), whose buses leave daily from City mall and Game complex in Lilongwe respectively. It is highly recommended to book a seat at their office in advance.
Taqwa and Falson Bus run from Lilongwe to Nairobi via Songwe border, Mbeya and Dar es Salaam 5 times a week. Picking up passengers from the main bus station in Mzuzu around midnight and arriving in Dar es Salaam about 22 hours later. The bus crosses the border at first light, goes through Mbeya in the morning, gets to Dar es Salaam at around 11pm and leave for Nairobi the next morning.
Minibuses go to Nkhata Bay (one to two hours), Karonga (three to four hours), Chitimba (two hours), Rumphi (one hour) and the Tanzanian border (four hours). National Bus Company has daily departures to Lilongwe, Blantyre and Salima.
When you arrive at the bus station, you’ll find plenty of taxis waiting outside. Taxi stands can also be found at the People’s Supermarket on Kamuzu Avenue. It’s worth noting that transport to Nkhata Bay can be picked up at a stage on the Nkhata Bay road about 200m past the Courthouse. A transfer by taxi to Nkhata Bay would cost around USD30.