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Chilumba is a town in Malawi. It is located on the north-western coast of Lake Malawi, close to Karonga, in the Northern Region. Its population is between 2000 and 5000.[1] The section of lake facing Chilumba is called Chilumba Bay.

The MV Ilala steamboat, that connects the main settlements on Lake Malawi, has Chilumba as its northernmost stop. Once it has reached Chilumba, it starts its travel back to its base in Monkey Bay in the south.

Heterogeneity in landscape gives Chilumba a unique environment for diversification of recreation and production activities. From the lake side, it is one of the unique places with Islands (Chirwa and Chitende) that host several species of plants, birds and fishes. The Islands are used by fishermen as temporary docking points.

Chitende Island has a long cultural history in that it was a shrine where the inhabitants of Chilumba led by Mponela offered sacrifices in times of hardships. Some places are feared up to now that twins are not supposed to visit and they could disappear. The morning sun rays on Lake Malawi creates a reddish reflection on the waters that was believed to be the path of the snake 'god' that was being worshipped. Chitende also has a connection to fish production and catches. Sacrifices sometimes were given to please Chitende to increase chances of fish catch by fishermen. Today Chief Mponela gets free fish as he still is believed to continue praying for fish catch luck.

The peninsula facing Chirwa is a typical feature with rocky shore with deep waters potentially suitable for rock diving. The bay facing the jetty has shallow waters for docking boats and potential for shallow water walking to 50m then swim into deep waters facing the Chitende Peninsula and Mphiri hills. West of the peninsula lies a 3 km stretch of pure sand beach. The sand extends upland a distance of 1 km and magnificently looks like a desert of dark sand separated by two swamps. The upper land away from the lake is prime agricultural land used during the 1980s to early 90s as maize seed production diversification scheme. Behind lies a natural boundary of forest reserve that extends to the lake through Mphiri hills on the north ideal for horse riding.

The western end is where the giant Nyika Plateau lies whose escarpments facing the lake has been the source of electricity generation since the 1990s.


  1. ^ Chilumba Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine at Collins Maps