How to get here by Air
A typical return ticket from London or Manchester to Lilongwe costs around £600, depending upon the season. The best airlines to fly with are Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airways, KLM and Air France which each have only one stop. For the cheapest flights we recommend www.skyscanner.net. If you are flying to Africa from Europe, Australia, Asia, or the Middle East, the cheapest hubs to fly into to reach Malawi are Johannesburg or Dar Es Salaam. From either of these hubs you could travel overland to Malawi or take a low cost carrier to reach Lilongwe. Alternatively, the East African hub of Nairobi provides another option if you wish to make connecting flights.
Once in Africa there are direct flights there are direct flights to Malawi from Eithiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia
How to get here by Land
1. From Tanzania: From Dar Es Salaam, you can catch the TAQWA bus direct service to Lilongwe (which costs around $60USD). Alternatively, from Mbeya you can take a mini bus or taxi to the Malawi border. After walking through Malawi immigration (Songwe) you can either take a mini bus (a little further down the road) or a share taxi to Karonga (500 Kwacha) (or further on if you wish). You will need to change at Karonga to a Mzuzu bound minibus, which usually costs about (800 Kwacha).
For share taxis just look for the random cars just after immigration. If you choose the minibus option you will have to change at Karonga to a minibus bound for Mzuzu.
2. From Mozambique: From Tete, there are minibuses to the border for about $3-4 USD. From the Malawi side there are minibuses to Blantyre for about 600-700 Kwacha. From Blantyre there are regular minibuses or buses to Lilongwe.
3. From Zambia: There are four direct buses (Kobs bus company) from Lusaka to Lilongwe each week (around $40 -$50USD). Alternatively, from Chipata to the border, there are shared taxis $3-4 USD. On the Malawi side there are shared taxis from the border to Mchinji for about 300-400 Kwacha. From Mchinji there are direct minibuses to Lilongwe.
4. From Lilongwe (Malawi): You can take a bus (we recommend AXA but there are many companies) either via the Lakeshore (m5) direct route which takes about 8-12 hours or via Mzuzu (m1) 5-6 hours. Both are similarly priced at about 3500 Kwacha.
5. From Mzuzu (Malawi): You can either take a share taxi for about 1200 Kwacha per person, bus (AXA), or minibus for 1000-1200 Kwacha per person to Nkata Bay. Buses usually take longer, but share taxis can take a while to fill up (up to an hour). Alternatively you can take a private taxi for about 7000-8000 Kwacha. When you hire a taxi, be sure either way, when you agree on a price to Nkata Bay that you tell them you want to go to Butterfly Space, other wise they will charge an extra 800-1000 Kwacha just drive a few minutes up the hill.
6. From South Africa: From Johannesburg there twice weekly direct buses to Lilongwe, which takes around 35 hours. Companies inlcude Vaal Africa, Chita One, and Ingwe Coach.
7. Once in Nkata Bay (Malawi): You can either walk up the hill to the lodge or take a local taxi for 800-1000 Kwacha per vehicle.
How to get here by Sea
The Ilala currently runs up and down the lake between Monkey Bay and Chilumba stopping in at various places along the way to load and unload people and cargo. The costs and times of the boat often changes. To give you an idea, it takes almost 2 days to reach Nkhata bay from Monkey Bay. We recommend you take first class for long journeys , 2nd will suffice if you are only coming form the islands. Please note there are no passenger seats in first class and only a half covered deck, so bring some shade! It is best to check with the locals what the current ferry schedule and prices are. As a side note there is also a cheaper local boat which runs frequently along the Northern shore but it does take a lot longer than the Ilala to reach Nkata Bay.
Please note: The ATM machines in Nkhata bay are notorious for being out of order. They only dispense up to 20,000 Kwacha, or around $60USD at a time, so it is best to stock up on cash in Mzuzu or Lilongwe before you leave for Nkata Bay. We recommend Standard Bank. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards in Malawi and most of Africa, however, Mastercard is accepted at Standard Bank machines in Mzuzu and Lilongwe.
Our contact details:
PO BOX 211
Tel: +265 (0) 999265065 or +265 (0) 999156335