Von Signac bis Matisse
„The historical and cultural center of Malawi“
Often, but confusingly, described as the largest traditional village in Africa, Nkhotakota is rich in history. Visited by David Livingstone in 1863, it was then a major centre for the slave trade. From the lakeshore here, tens of thousands of slaves were shipped across the Lake and then force-marched to the coast. The slave trade, with its strong Arab connections, has meant that the Muslim faith is well represented in today’s town. In 1960 Dr Banda chose Nkhotakota for his first political rally on his release from prison and prior to Malawi gaining its independence. The tree under which Livingstone met the salve trader, Jumbe, to try to persuade him to cease operations, can still be visited, down towards the lake. Most of the modern-day shops and services lie closer to the main M5 road.
Nkhotakota is one of the ports visited by the famous mv Ilala ferry on its weekly sojourn up and down Lake Malawi, and it is also home to the Nkhotakota Pottery, which is is an off-shoot of the more famous Dedza Pottery. As well as being able to see potters at work and buy items from the shop, it’s also possible to take a pottery course.
There are a few beachside lodges at Nkhotakota. The best beache is the pottery are accessed off the M5 a few km south of the town.