Land Area (km²) / Rank 2,196 km² / 17th out of 28 districts
Population (2018) / Rank 478,346 / 15th out of 28 districts
Population Density / Rank 218 persons/km² / 11th out of 28 districts

Salima is an important service and trading centre, 110km east (about one and a half hours drive) from Lilongwe.

To the east of Salima town is Senga Bay which is the closest Lake Malawi resort from Lilongwe. Senga Bay is often referred to as Salima.

The town has become a popular weekend retreat and conference venue for residents of Lilongwe.

Sunbird Livingstonia Hotel at Senga Bay has hosted Sand Music festival, the annual hallmark event as one of the most visible events in Malawi.

Senga Bay isn’t as scenically dramatic as Cape Maclear or Nkhata Bay. The main reason for its popularity is its proximity from Lilongwe.

The town has a broad stretch of sandy beach is host to a range of hotels, extending from luxurious to small lodges and campsites.

For those with private transport, the private Kuti Wildlife Reserve on the outskirts of Salima is worth a look, as is the nearby Thuma Forest Reserve.

Further south, Mua Mission offers fascinating insights into the cultures and tribes of the central region, and it is easily visited as a day trip from Senga Bay.

Kuti Wildlife ReserveKuti Wildlife Reserve URL Email in...
Thuma Forest ReserveThuma Forest Reserve Entrance: USD2 for Malawians, USD5 for Foreign...
Mua Mission and Kungoni CentreMua Mission and Kungoni Centre The Mua Mission was founded by Catho...
  1. Senga Bay in Salima is the closest Lake Malawi resort from Lilongwe.
  2. Sunbird Livingstonia Hotel at Senga Bay has hosted Sand Music festival which is one of the most visible events in Malawi.
  3. For those with private transport, Kuti Wildlife ReserveThuma Forest Reserve and Mua Mission are worth a look.

Getting there and away

The gateway to Senga Bay is Salima, connected to Lilongwe by the surfaced M14; to Cape Maclear, Mangochi, Zomba and Blantyre by the M5 south, and to Nkhotakota, Nkhata Bay and Mzuzu by the M5 north. The drive from Lilongwe to Senga Bay via Salima takes about 90 minutes in a private vehicle (allow 2 hours if traffic is heavy outside Lilongwe).

Using public transport, regular minibuses connect Lilongwe to Salima. Coming from elsewhere, there are plenty of direct minibuses from Mangochi and Nkhotakota, and all buses along the M5 north and south will stop at Salima to drop and pick up passengers.

Once in Salima, a steady stream of minibuses and matola pick-up trucks run between the bus station and the market in Senga village.