Mangochi town lies on the Shire River and has a market, shops and a busy, happy atmosphere. The Lake Malawi Museum is here. As Fort Johnston, Mangochi was once an important anti-slaving centre and later a colonial administrative town. Broad tree-lined streets, part of the earliest town planning in Central Africa and some remaining, dilapidated, buildings are evidence of a colonial heritage. A colonial monument to Queen Victoria stands near the new bridge, and overlooking the river are two mementos of Lake Malawi’s rich history – a gun used in Britain’s first naval victory of World War I, and a memorial plaque to the 145 people who drowned in Lake Malawi’s worst shipping disaster, the sinking of the m.v. Vipya during a storm in 1946. There are places to stay for the passing traveller, a supermarket and banking facilities.
Lake Malawi’s shores between Mangochi and Monkey Bay have long been a favoured holiday destination. You can choose between a dozen lodges and hotels set on beaches of golden sand.
Excursion opportunities, too, are many. These include very successful commercial fish farming by Maldeco Aquaculture near Nkopola Lodge and tropical palms at Tropex near Club Makokola. Koma Croc is a crocodile farm which welcomes visitors. Boadzulu, a rocky island off Club Makokola, mentioned by David Livingstone in his Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambezi and its Tributaries and the Discovery of Lakes Nyassa and Chilwa (London, 1865), is well worth the short cruise to see giant monitor lizards basking on the rocks. The population of fish eagles on this shoreline is said to be the densest in Africa and their haunting cries are heard everywhere, dawn till dusk.