Lake Malawi ferry

This item appears on page 51 of the August 2018 issue.

On the Malawi side of Lake Malawi, the ferry MV Ilala travels for three days up the 365-mile length of the lake from the town of Monkey Bay (ferry is scheduled to leave each Friday at 8 a.m.) to Chilumba (arriving by 5:30 p.m. Sunday), with 11 stops in between. Each stop lasts roughly one hour.

Passage cannot be booked in advance. Tickets are sold only at the dock after the ferry has arrived, first come, first served, but for any number of stops. 

The following fares, as shown on the Malawi Tourism Guide website (, were last posted in 2015. For the full trip, the cost for the one “owner’s suite” (with private bath) is MWK50,950 (near $71), while any of five standard double cabins (sharing a bath) cost MWK39,190. The “first-class” fare, for those sleeping on the open-air deck, is MWK24,900. Food is available on board at extra cost.