Mzuzu is the capital of Malawi's Northern Region and is the third largest city, by population, in Malawi. The City has 128,432 residents plus 20,000 commuters (Mzuzu University students) with about 1.7 million people living around the outskirts of the city. It is situated in Mzimba District, in the center of an agricultural region, and the area surrounding the city specializes in tea, rubber, and coffee cultivation. The Viphya Forest to the south of the city is the largest man-made forest in Africa.
The City was originally developed around the Commonwealth Development Corporation's Tung Oil Estate in 1947 and received city status in 1985.The name comes from a mispronunciation of the word 'Vizuzu' by the white settlers. It became a crossroads going south, lakewards and northwards to Tanzania.
The culture of the city reflects the northern Tumbuka culture. Tumbuka is widely spoken in Mzuzu. Popular foods include botolo fish (a bottle-nosed mormyrid, Mormyrus longirostris or botomu in Chichewa).
It is home to Mzuzu Central Hospital, one of four such hospitals in the country. The pharmaceutical manufacturing company Kentam Products Limited is based in Mzuzu.
Economy and Infrastructure
The commercial hub of the region has coffee, timber, fruit, milk and honey production. Manufacturing includes medication, cosmetics and timber. Through Mzuzu University, the City with its 128,432 residents plus 20,000 commuters has a highly skilled labour force. and along with its arable land, sufficient potable water and electricity. There is good capital mobility through new banking facilities. There are also small to medium-sized businesses located there that provide telecommunication services, internet cafes, and multipurpose stores. National chains like Chipiku, Peoples Trading, and A.C opticals can be found. The city is the home base of national companies Mzuzu Coffee, Kentam Products Limited, and NorthernLife magazine. Mzuzu has two major markets, including Taifa Market that sells fruits, clothes, cellphones, shoes etc. Mzuzu is a growing city in Malawi.
The city is home to Mzuzu University, founded in 1994. Through Mzuzu University, the city has a highly skilled labour force. Mzuzu Technical College, which was founded in 1958, is located in Mzuzu. It is home to leading high schools in the north, including Marymount Secondary School, Viphya Schools and Mzuzu Academy.
Mzuzu is a city situated in wooded, hilly terrain. The Viphya Forest to the south of the city is the largest man-made forest in Africa. The weather in Mzuzu is chilly in the cold season.
Nearby tourist attractions include the sandy beaches of Lake Malawi and water activities. Nyika National Park, Malawi's largest park, is great for trekking, mountain biking, horse riding safaris and 4x4 excursions. The entertainment venues at Mzuzu hotel and the Key Lounge attract national and international artists and host other activities that are popular for tourists and the local community. There are also various recreation centres such as amusement parks towards the Nkhata Bay road. It used to house a zoo but this has since been closed. Mountain hiking can take place at the nearby Kaning'ina mountains.
By air Mzuzu city is served by the Mzuzu Airport. There are plans to construct a new and bigger airport by the government. It also has well built roads that are not keeping pace with the development of the growing city. Its industrial area has poor roads not befitting its status. This has been attributed to poor governance.
Football is popular sport in Mzuzu. Two teams, Moyale Barracks FC and Mzuni represent the city in the Malawi's top flight league. Mzuzu Stadium (15000 capacity) is the city's sole stadium built around 1970 using prison labour.
- "Malawi". www.africaguide.com. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
- "Malawi: Fragile Forests". Travel Africa Magazine (17). August 2001.
- World Gazetteer: Malawi: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population