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Location in Malawi
Coordinates: 11°27′29″S34°00′54″E / 11.45807°S 34.015131°E / -11.45807; 34.015131 Coordinates: 11°27′29″S34°00′54″E / 11.45807°S 34.015131°E / -11.45807; 34.015131
CountryFlag of Malawi.svg  Malawi
Region Northern Region
 (2018 Census [1] )
Time zone +2
Climate Cwb

Mzuzu is the capital of Malawi's Northern Region and is the third largest city by population in Malawi. The city has 221,272 residents and 20,000 commuters (Mzuzu University students) with about 1.7 million people in its metropolitan area. [2] It is situated in Mzimba District. Mzuzu lies in a gap in the Viphya Mountains, and the agricultural region surrounding the city specializes in tea, rubber and coffee cultivation. [3] The Viphya Plantation south of the city is the largest man-made forest in Africa, and the Lunyangwa and Kaning'ina forest preserves are east of the city. [4]


Some of the popularly known locations in the city include Chibavi, Luwinga, Area 1B, Chibanja, Katoto, Zolozolo, Masasa, Mchenga-utuba, Chimaliro, Kaning'ina and Katawa.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
source: [5]

Ethnic Groups

Ethnic Groups in Mzuzu City (2018 Census) [6]
Ethnic Groupspercent

According to the 2018 census, the Tumbuka people are the largest ethnic group in the city composing 51.71% of the city's population. The largest minority ethnic group are the Chewa making up 13.51% of the population. Other minor ethnic groups include the Ngoni with 8.09% of the population, Tonga with 7.36%, Nkhonde with 4.08%, Lambya with 3.75%, Yao with 3.59%, Lomwe with 3.54%, Sukwa with 1.07%, Sena with 0.66%, Mang'anja with 0.38%, Nyanja with 0.28%, and other ethnic groups with 2% of the population. [6]


Religions in Mzuzu City (2018 Census) [6]

  Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (28.01%)
  Catholic (17.28%)
  Seventh-day Adventist/Baptist/Apostolic (16.27%)
  Pentecostal (6.62%)
  Anglican (1.58%)
  Other Christian (22.21%)
  Muslim (4.06%)
  Traditional (0.1%)
  Other (3.59%)
  No Religion (0.28%)

The largest religious denomination in Mzuzu is Church of Central Africa Presbyterian with 28.01%. The largest minority religion is Catholicism with 17.28%. Other minor religions include Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist, and Apostolic with 16.27% combined, Pentecostal with 6.62%, Anglican with 1.58%, other Christian denominations with 22.21%, Islam with 4.06%, Traditional with 0.1%, other religions with 3.59%, and no religion with 0.28% of the city. [6]

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 the tung planters settled.


The culture of the city is an amalgam of other cultures of the northern region. Tumbuka is widely spoken in Mzuzu but other languages such as Chewa, Tonga, Swahili, Ngonde are also spoken. The city has a museum where different artifacts depicting the cultures of the north are on display. Popular foods include sima (either made from maize, locally called sima ya ngoma, or made from cassava, locally called sima ya mayagho), rice, locally called mpunga, and batala fish (a bottle-nosed mormyrid, Mormyrus longirostris ). Batala comes from the nearby Lake Malawi waters in Nkhata Bay. 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)20182019966323918133
Average relative humidity (%)82828586858483776762708079
Mean monthly sunshine hours 145.7137.2164.3171.0217.0219.0238.7275.9288.0300.7252.0176.72,586.2
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source: NOAA [7]

Economy and infrastructure

The commercial hub of the region has coffee, timber, fruit, milk and honey production. [2] Manufacturing includes medication, cosmetics and timber. Through Mzuzu University, the city has a highly skilled labor force. [2] Mzuzu also has good arable land, but is still developing its electricity industry towards a sufficient and reliable state. There is good capital mobility through new banking facilities. [2] 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, Mzupaso Paints Limited and Northern Life magazine. Mzuzu has two major markets, including Taifa Market that sells fruits, clothes, cellphones, shoes and other products.


The city is home to Mzuzu University, founded in 1999. 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. [8] It is home to leading high schools in the north, including Marymount Secondary School, Wukani private Secondary School, Katoto Government Secondary School, Zolozolo Community Day Secondary School Viphya Schools and Mzuzu Academy. [9]

The city also has several primary schools such as Wukani, Trust Academy, Wongani private primary school [run by MIC Catholic Sisters], Beehive and Hilltop schools.


Mzuzu is situated in wooded, hilly terrain. Miombo woodland predominates around the city. North and south of the city, the Viphya Mountains are home to montane grasslands and forests. The Viphya Plantation in the mountains south of the city is claimed to be the largest man-made forest in Africa.

The weather in Mzuzu is chilly in the cold season.


In the center of an agricultural region, and the area surrounding the city specializes 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, offers hiking, mountain biking, horse riding safaris and 4x4 excursions. [2] The entertainment venues at Mzuzu hotel and O Seasons formerly known as Key Lounge attract national and international artists and host other activities that popular with both tourists and the local community. Other entertainment venues include Mzuzu Golf Clib, Villa Kagwentha (known for discos every Saturday nights) and the newly opened Squirrels park. There are also various recreation centers such as Lake View Lodge and the Mzuzu Sanctuary. Mzuzu Botanic Gardens is located Zolozolo. Mountain hiking can take place at the nearby Kaning'ina mountains. Gulliver Dam, which supplies water to Mzuzu City and the surrounding areas, offers hiking as well

The 1st Poulner Scout Group (UK) has set up a Scout Campsite with significant infrastructure just outside of Mzuzu called the Kavuzi Campsite. [10] [11]


By air Mzuzu City is served by the Mzuzu Airport. In 2017, construction began on a new and bigger airport by the government in the Dunduzu area. [2]

Mzuzu is on Malawi's M1 Highway, which runs the length of the country from north to south. It is the northern terminus of the M5 highway, which runs eastwards through a gap in the Viphya Mountains towards Nkhata Bay, and then south along the shore of Lake Malawi.


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 labor. The City has two major basketball teams, Nkhulande and the Pistons.

Notable Residents

Shepherd Bushiri, founder of the Enlightened Christian Gathering, is from Mzuzu. Bushiri is also the founder of PSB Network [12] and the Prophetic Channel. [13]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Demographics of Malawi</span>

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Malawi, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lilongwe</span> Capital city of Malawi

Lilongwe is the capital and most populated city of the African country of Malawi. It has a population of 989,318 as of the 2018 Census, up from a population of 674,448 in 2008. In 2020 that figure was 1,122,000. The city is located in the central region of Malawi, in the district of the same name, near the borders with Mozambique and Zambia, and it is an important economic and transportation hub for central Malawi. It is named after the Lilongwe River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zomba, Malawi</span> Place in Southern Region, Malawi

Zomba is a city in southern Malawi, in the Shire Highlands. It is the former capital city of Malawi.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tumbuka people</span> Ethnic group in South-East Africa

The Tumbuka is an ethnic group found in Northern Malawi, Eastern Zambia and Southern Tanzania. Tumbuka is classified as a part of the Bantu language family, and with origins in a geographic region between the Dwangwa River to the south, the North Rukuru River to the north, Lake Malawi to the east, and the Luangwa River. They are found in the valleys near the rivers, lake as well as the highlands of Nyika Plateau, where they are frequently referred to as Henga although this is strictly speaking the name of a subdivision.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Karonga</span> Place in Northern Region, Malawi

Karonga is a township in the Karonga District in Northern Region of Malawi. Located on the western shore of Lake Nyasa, it was established as a slaving centre sometime before 1877. As of 2018 estimates, Karonga has a population of 61,609.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Northern Region, Malawi</span> Region of Malawi

The Northern Region is a region of Malawi. It had a population of 2,289,780 in 2018, and covers an area of 26,931 km², making it the smallest region both by population and area. Its capital city is Mzuzu. Starting in the north and going clockwise, the Northern Region borders on Tanzania, Lake Malawi, Malawi's Central Region, and Zambia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Region, Malawi</span> Region of Malawi

The Central Region of Malawi, population 7,523,340 (2018), covers an area of 35,592 km². Its capital city is Lilongwe, which is also the national capital. The region has an outlet on Lake Malawi and borders neighbouring countries Zambia and Mozambique. The Chewa people make up the majority of the population today.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Likoma Island</span>

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The Tumbuka language is a Bantu language which is spoken in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania. It is also known as Chitumbuka or Citumbuka — the chi- prefix in front of Tumbuka means "in the manner of", and is understood in this case to mean "the language of the Tumbuka people". Tumbuka belongs to the same language group as Chewa and Sena.

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Blantyre is a district in the Southern Region of Malawi. The capital is Blantyre, a commercial city where most Malawian industrial and business offices are. The district covers an area of 2,012 km² and has a population of 809,397. It was named after Blantyre, the birth village of David Livingstone in Scotland, one of the first missionary explorers who came to Nyasaland, as Malawi was called before independence in 1964. It is also a main trading point besides the other large cities in Malawi. The other large cities are Lilongwe, which is located in the central region, and Mzuzu, which is in the northern part of Malawi.

Dedza is a district in the Central Region of Malawi. It covers an area of 3,624 km.² to the south of the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, between Mozambique and Lake Malawi. The capital is Dedza.

Likoma District is the least populous district of Malawi, which consists of two separate exclaves of Malawi situated within Mozambican waters in Lake Malawi. It consists of two main islands, Likoma and Chizumulu. It is a district in the Northern Region of Malawi. The capital is Likoma.

Mzimba is a district in the Northern Region of Malawi. The capital is Mzimba. The district covers an area of 10,430 km.² and has a population of 610,944. It is the largest district in Malawi.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ntcheu District</span> District of Malawi

Ntcheu is a district in the Central Region of Malawi. It borders with the country of Mozambique. The district headquarters is Ntcheu, known as BOMA in the local language, but is most commonly called Mphate. It is run by Yeneya, the village headman. The district covers an area of 3,424 km.² and has a population of 659,608 people according to the 2018 Malawi Population and Housing Census. The Ntcheu district lies around halfway between Malawi's majors cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe - the capital city.

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The Viphya Mountains, also known as the Viphya Plateau or Viphya Highlands, are a mountain range in Malawi's Northern Region.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chewa people</span> Ethnic group from Southern and Central Africa

The Chewa are a Bantu ethnic group native to central and southern Africa and the largest ethnic group in Malawi. The Chewa are closely related to people in surrounding regions such as the Tumbuka and Nsenga. They are historically also related to the Bemba, with whom they share a similar origin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As with the Nsenga and Tumbuka, a small part of Chewa territory came under the influence of the Ngoni, who were of Zulu or Natal/Transvaal origin. An alternative name, often used interchangeably with Chewa, is Nyanja. Their language is called Chichewa. Internationally, the Chewa are mainly known for their masks and their secret societies, called Nyau, as well as their agricultural techniques.

Moyale Barracks Football Club is a Malawian professional football club based in Mzuzu, currently playing in the TNM Super League, the top division of Malawian football.


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  13. "Prophet Shepherd Bushiri - YouTube". YouTube . Retrieved 22 November 2021.

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