Mangochi was founded by colonial administrator Sir Harry Johnston in the 1890s as a British colonial defense post on the littoral plain of the Shire River's western shore. After this, Fort Johnston – as the town was then known – was an important slave market and administrative center.
The British gunboat Gwendolen was built in Mangochi in 1897. At 340 short tons (310 t), it was the largest ship to sail on Lake Malawi until being scrapped shortly after World War II. The gunboat, operated by the Protectorate of Nyasaland, scored an early success in World War I when it defeated the German vessel Hermann von Wissmann in August 1914.
Rioting in June 2003 injured three people. From March to November 2007, roughly 480 children were "rescued" from child labor on tobacco farms in Mangochi. In July 2008, elephants terrorised areas around Maldeco Fisheries in Mangochi and caused several deaths and damage to property, mainly crops. The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture proposed moving the elephants into several game reserves, although the proposal stalled when some residents said they wanted the elephants to remain.
Mangochi is at an elevation of 1,541 feet (470 m), near the southern end of Lake Malawi, between the main lakeshore road and the Shire River and 5 miles (8 km) south of its entrance into Lake Malombe. The town is roughly 120 miles (190 km) northeast of Blantyre, Malawi's largest city. It is situated 1.4 miles (2.3 km) away from Mponda, 2.2 miles (3.5 km) away from Chipalamawamba, 2 miles (3.2 km) away from Mbaluku Laini and 1.4 miles (2.3 km) away from Yangala.
Languages and ethnicities
Mangochi was developed as an agricultural center and has marine-engineering shops. Cash crops grown in the area include tobacco, cotton, and groundnuts. Rice and maize are intensively grown along the lakeshore, and commercial fishing is also important.
Amenities include several shops, supermarkets, a post office and banks.
The Lake Malawi Museum houses ethnic, environmental, and historical exhibits. They include the Hotchkiss gun with which the British gunboat Guendolin defeated the German gunboat Hermann von Wissmann with a single shot in their brief naval engagement in August 1914. The museum has also a scale model of the Guendolin. An even older exhibit is a marine steam engine that was built in 1898 and powered the Universities' Mission to Central Africa's SS Chauncy Maples until 1953.
Mangochi is located just off the M3 road. All buses travelling from Monkey Bay to Blantyre stop in Mangochi. Minibuses travel to Liwonde, Zomba, and Blantyre. Matolas travel to Liwonde National Park and to the border town of Chiponde.
Mangochi is described by Lonely Planet as having a "vaguely Swahili feel", with "palm trees, Arab-looking people and coconuts for sale in the street." There are several guesthouses and lodges for tourists in Mangochi. Pranay B. Gupte suggested staying at the Nkopola Lodge, where one can swim, fish, and sail.
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- The Story of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland A. J. Hanna Faber and Faber, 1960
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- Msiska, Karen (2008-07-07). "Mangochi against removal of elephants". The Daily Times. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- Baldauf, Richard B.; Kaplan, Robert (2004). Language Planning and Policy in Africa: Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. pp. 85–89. ISBN 1-85359-725-2.
- Baldauf, p. 91
- "The Ship". Chauncy Maples, Lake Malawi's Clinic. Chauncy Maples Trust. 2009–2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Mangochi". Malawi Tourism. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- Gupte, Pranay B. (2008-09-28). "Malawi Now Inviting Visitors to Its Feast of Beauty; Malawi Is Now Inviting Visitors to Share In Its Feast of Natural Beauty If You Go". The New York Times.