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 and 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 centre of an agricultural region, and the area surrounding the city specialises in tea, rubber, and coffee cultivation. The Viphya Forest to the south of the city is the largest man-made forest in Africa. Some of the popularly known locations in the city include Chibavi, Luwinga, Area 1B, Chibanja, Katoto, Zolozolo, Masasa and Mchenga-utuba.
The city was 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. Vizuzu are plants that grow along the Lunyangwa river. These plants were spotted near the present Mzuzu Government Secondary School also known as Area 1A where thetung planters settled. It became a crossroads going south, lakewards and northwards to Tanzania.
The culture of the city is an amalgam of the cultures of the northern region. Tumbuka is widely spoken in Mzuzu but being a city, other languages such as Chewa, Tonga, Swahili, Ngonde are also spoken. The city has a museum under the Museums of Malawi where different artefacts depicting the cultures of the north are on display. Popular foods include batala fish (a bottle-nosed mormyrid, Mormyrus longirostris or batala in Chichewa). Batala comes from the nearby Lake Malawi waters in Nkhatabay. Other common foods include: maize, bananas, plantains, cocoa, cassava and sweet potatoes.
Mzuzu City is home to Mzuzu Central Hospital, one of four such hospitals in the country. The city is also serviced by Mapale Health Center located at the city centre next to the city's main shopping mall, Shoprite. There are also several CHAM hospitals such as St. Johns, St. John of God Mental Hospital, Nkhorongo SDA Clinic. The city also has private clinics like: Katoto MASM MEDI Clinic, Mumbwe, Kandindindi Evergreen. The pharmaceutical manufacturing company Kentam Products Limited is based in Mzuzu.
|Climate data for Mzuzu (1961–1990)|
|Average high °C (°F)||25.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||19.9
|Average low °C (°F)||16.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||203.3
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.3 mm)||20||18||20||19||9||6||6||3||2||3||9||18||133|
|Average relative humidity (%)||82||82||85||86||85||84||83||77||67||62||70||80||79|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||145.7||137.2||164.3||171.0||217.0||219.0||238.7||275.9||288.0||300.7||252.0||176.7||2,586.2|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||4.7||4.9||5.3||5.7||7.0||7.3||7.7||8.9||9.6||9.7||8.4||5.7||7.08|
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 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 1999. Through Mzuzu University, the city has a highly skilled labour force. The university has five faculties namely: Tourism and Hospitality Management, Education, Health Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Information and Library Science. Mzuzu Technical College, which was founded in 1958 by the White Fathers, is located in Mzuzu. It is home to leading high schools in the north, including Marymount Secondary School, Viphya Schools and Mzuzu Academy. The city also has several primary schools such as Wukani, Trust Academy, Wongani, Beehive and Hilltop schools.
There are also several private secondary schools like St Peters, Target, Our Time and Multi Career, Skyway and Star.
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.
In the centre of an agricultural region, and the area surrounding the city specialises in tea, rubber, and coffee cultivation.
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 O Seasons formerly known as Key Lounge attract national and international artists and host other activities that are popular for tourists and the local community. Other entertainment places are Mzuzu Golf Clib, Villa Kagwentha (known for discos every Saturday nights) and the newly opened Squirrels park. There are also various recreation centres such as amusement parks towards the Nkhata Bay road such as Lake View Lodge and the Mzuzu Sanctuary. Foreat lovers can also chill at the Mzuzu Botanic Gardens in Zolozolo. Mountain hiking can take place at the nearby Kaning'ina mountains. Nature lovers can also enjoy peace and tranquility at the Gulliver Dam, which supplies water to Mzuzu City and the surrounding areas.
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.
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- "Malawi: Fragile Forests". Travel Africa Magazine (17). August 2001.
- World Gazetteer: Malawi: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population
- "Mzuzu Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "301 Moved Permanently".
- "Homepage". mzuzuacademy.org.
Media related to Mzuzu at Wikimedia Commons