Largely unexplored and rarely visited by Westerners, the northern shores of Lake Malawi offer a breathtaking example of Africa at its most attractive. The steep backdrop of forested hills is lined with sandy beaches and dotted with idyllic fishing villages.

The vast azure lake stretches to the horizon where on a clear day the hills of Tanzania blush in the evening sun.


60 kilometres north of Nkhata Bay, at the mouth of the Lizunkhuni river, a cool and picturesque waterfall tumbles into the alluring waters of Lake Malawi. The hills are overhung with jungle canopies and rocky outcrops, home to baboons and monkeys, otters, bush babies, civets, genets, etc  and a huge variety of Africa’s rich bird-life including fish eagles, hornbills, hammerkops and at least four types of kingfisher.

Zulunkhuni River Lodge nestles amongst the rocks and boulders alongside this waterfall. Its lush, tropical gardens are shaded by mango, avocado, citrus and banana trees and provide a safe haven for humans and animals alike.

How do I get there?


From Nkhata Bay:

  • MV Ilala leaves Nkhata Bay harbour on Sundays at 6am going north, returning from Ruarwe at the same time on Monday mornings. It is advisable to arrive a little earlier to ensure time for buying tickets and easy embarkation. The Ilala has a restaurant and canteen on board that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Approx. 4 hours journey time.
  • MKorongo local boat (also known as ‘Jack boat’) leaves Nkhata Bay on Sunday’s, and wednesdays around 8am for Ruarwe. Anyone interested in travelling with Jack boat should check with Blessings at the Zulunkhuni River Lodge office in Nkhata Bay (or call 0999 071914 or 0888 906023) beforehand. Jack boat does not have any catering facilities on board so passengers should ensure they have adequate food and drinks supplies for the journey. Approx 8 hours journey time (can be quicker or slower depending on how many passengers are dropped off en route).

Other boats: There are numerous other boats for hire, some fast, some slow. Check with Blessings at the office for more details and price estimations.

From Chitimba and Livingstonia:

  • MV Ilala leaves Chilumba on Mondays very early in the morning.
  • Other boats: There are now boats leaving from Mlowe most days in the morning. Please check with Blessings in the office for more information.
  • For the adventurous, a challenging but very rewarding guided hike from Livingstonia to Ruarwe can be arranged through Mushroom Farm in Livingstonia. At time of writing, the guided hike costs 1000mk per day (regardless of numbers) plus food and accommodation for the guide. Tel: 0999652485 or 0888591564.

From Mzuzu:

There is a stunning road through the North Viphya mountains to Usisya which you can travel either by your own high clearance car or using local matolas which leave Mzuzu every day at 11am from outside Jenda Hotel.

From Usisya you can then walk (approx. 6-7 hours) or hire a boat north to Ruarwe (prices vary, ask for the Temwa building on arrival where staff can help you to arrange transport).


Please note: all prices quoted are subject to change at any time and are out of our control.