Zomba is a small town in Malawi about 1 hr from Blantyre. It is the former capital of Malawi until Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the first President, moved the capital to Lilongwe. Most travelers visiting Zomba are coming for the plateau. The town itself has little for tourists but the people are welcoming, and there is a large market in the center, where you can buy almost anything.
There are several car hire companies in town that offer a reasonable range of saloons and 4x4s of varying quality and price. Be warned that the police set up frequent road blocks, and it is not uncommon to be stopped several times a day and be asked to present your driving licence and allow them to perform a cursory examination of the car looking for faults. There are frequent minibusses around town, and a taxi rank on the main Blantyre road.
The Plateau - See separate entry for 'Zomba Plateau'. The top is a 5-7 hour hike from the base at the Kandodo junction. There is a fine hotel, the Sunbird Hotel, at the top.
There is a small golf course and driving range on your left as you head out of town on the Lilongwe road. There is a swimming pool that is sometimes open to the public at the school.
There are several banks (including Standard Bank), and easy access to ATMs and bureau de change. Paintings by local artsts and carved wooden curios are for sale in a small compound just off the main road about 30m up the hill from Standard Bank. There are several spuermarkets including a Shoprite, and a Peoples Supermarket that sell most things you will need - although is is all more expensive than in other cities like Blantyre due to transport costs. There is also a good choice of hardware stores, clothes shops and pharmacies all along the main street. Fresh fruit, vegetables and meat can be bought cheaply at the large market that is behind the bus station. Zain mobile has a shop down from the bus station and MTL has an office just down the hill from Standard Bank. The postoffice is situated opposite Standard Bank.
- Tasty Bites. On the main road of Zomba, across from the MTL office. It has good Indian food and is a Globe wifi hotspot.
- Hotel Masongola. Has a good traditional menu and the chicken kawawa is an excellent dish. A little expensive.
- Sunbird Hotel. At the top of the Zomba Plateau. Western restaurant / bar with magnificent views over Zomba. Do buffet Sunday lunch / BBQ thats worth a look!
- Annie's, Mulunguzi Road. Two kitchens at Annie's Lodge cater to mid-market business clientele, civil servants, and travelers. The downhill location near the National Statistics Office on Mulunguzi Road has reasonably priced lunch specials (rice, nsima, stew, and so forth). The location up the hill (toward Masongola) offers a similar menu, a casual outdoor bar area, and has facilities for meetings and conferences.
- Dominos. Bar / pizzaria signposted from the towncenre, just off the main road towards the plateau. Service tends to be a little slow. Shows live sport with a projector on a wide screen.
- Annie's Lodge. Two kitchens at Annie's Lodge cater to mid-market business clientele and travelers. The downhill location near the National Statistics Office on Mulunguzi Road has reasonably priced lunch specials (rice, nsima, stew, and so forth). The location up the hill (toward Masongola) offers a similar menu, a casual outdoor bar area, and has facilities for meetings and conferences.
- Annie's Lodge. Decent rooms if a little faded, Globe wifi hotspot.
If you are looking for a more expensive upmarket stay - checkout the Sunbird hotel a 20 minute drive out of town at the top of the plateau. Magnificent views down over Zomba town.
- Pakachere, backpackers & creative centre, P.O. Box 1389, Zomba, Malawi (at the end of the golf course), ☎ +265 (0)994 685 934. Pakachere is a backpackers runed by local people not far from the city centre of Zomba. You can enjoy our accommodation as a traveler but there is also the opportunity to visit our bar, restaurant and the cyber bar to keep in contact with family and friends. Pakachere, All together under one tree