On the southern shore of Lake Malawi is the evocatively named Monkey Bay, but visitors are just as likely to see signs of industry as they are monkeys. It is a small town with a population little over 15,000, with its main purpose being as a construction and repair centre for the Lake’s small shipping operation. Monkey Bay is considered to be one of Malawi’s main lake ports, and is where the famous Ilala ferry docks and begins its weekly sojourn up and down the Lake. It’s a useful service centre, though, sitting on the Nankumba Peninsula, it is a fair few miles off the main road that tracks the lakeshore northwards. There are some sandy beaches and rocky headlands to explore but it is more town than resort. Most tourists looking for leisure or relaxation head to the Lake Malawi National Park at Cape Maclear round the headland with its greater choice of lodges, deserted islands, beautiful beaches and water activities.
There are a few small and inexpensive lodges at Monkey Bay but, as well as those across the peninsula, better options lie to the south. The Norman Carr Cottage is a unique lodge not far south from Monkey Bay, nestled under a canopy of large indigenous trees. With its own beach access to the water front the cottage makes for a lovely and relaxing stop if wanting to some lake activities.