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  • Southern Explorer – 15 Nights
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  • Wet & Wild South Luangwa & Lake Malawi – 7 Nights
  • Wet & Wild South Luangwa & Lake Malawi – 11 Nights
  • Wet & Wild South Luangwa, Livingstone & Lake Malawi – 11 Nights
  • Wet & Wild South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi & Lake Malawi – 11 Nights
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  • Malawi & Zambia Family Holiday – 15 Nights
  • Victoria Falls, Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa & Lake Malawi – 15 Nights
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  • Malawi National Parks & Reserves Overview
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  • Liwonde National Park
  • Majete Wildlife Reserve
  • Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
  • Nyika National Park
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Malawian Style is a specialist safari tour operator based in Malawi offering a large range of safari adventures in, and around, beautiful Malawi , Zambia and South Africa .

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Client testimonials.

Our trip to South Luangwa was great and I would recommend it to anyone. We saw all the animals we wanted to see and some we did not expect to see. Thank you to Malawian Style for giving us a weekend we will always remember.

My family and I had a very wonderful experience with Malawian Style. Our driver Isaac was terrific! He told us many stories and showed us interesting things. He has a great sense of humour and was a pleasure to travel with. Thank you for the unforgettable experience!

We had a wonderful trip through South Malawi and South Luangwa N.P in Zambia. The hotels, lodges were great and the food was excellent. Our driver, Eddie, was friendly and helpful. Also he knew a lot about the places and districts we visited. We had a perfect holiday due to Malawian Style and specially Eddie, our driver and guide.

Malawian Style offer an excellent service, and made me feel at ease. My guide Boniface was brilliant at helping with any queries. We will use this company again, and recommend to everyone. Thank you so much.

I really recommend booking a trip through Malawian Style. In our case we have just met helpful people and reliable information from the beginning. Everything was done by email, so informative that we never had to call anyone. They were very fast answering emails with any question you might have. They find the best option for you and your wallet. If I ever do something like this again. I will use Malawian Style. Thank you so much

safari tour malawi

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Malawi Tours & Safaris

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  • Lake Malawi . A   freshwater lake that borders three countries: Malawi, Tanzania , and Mozambique . It's also known as Lago Niassa (Nyasa in Spanish, after an extinct tribe) and is shaped like South Africa's famous Table Mountain. The deep blue waters are home to hundreds of species of fish - more than any other lake in the world. Lake Malawi is fringed with white-sand beaches ringed by palm trees, creating dreamy vistas of azure water and feathery palms. And if you're lucky, you might spot dolphins or elephants at play in the lake-side waters.
  • Liwonde National Park  is a place you can go to see African wildlife in its natural habitat. Visitors use boats to take safaris on the Shire River or safari on foot or by 4x4 vehicle. The park’s varied habitats contain many species of mammals and birds, including elephants, hippos, crocs, and large antelope. Other wildlife that can be seen include leopards, black rhinos, and eland.  
  • Majete Wildlife Reserve . A conservation and tourist site, located in the Lower Shire Valley in southwest Malawi, 70km from Blantyre's Chileka airport and 3 hours from Lake Malawi. Majete's recovery, restoration, and preservation of endangered species have made it one of Malawi's most popular wildlife reserves.
  • Nyika National Park . Malawi's largest national park, located on the Nyika Plateau, a highland massif on the Malawi-Zambia border. As a mountain catchment area, the plateau aims to protect various critical ecosystem functions, including water production and a refuge for rare wildlife and flora.
  • Lilongwe . The capital of Malawi and is home to a quarter of the country’s population. It's also a great place for tourists and travelers looking for some adventure and new experiences. The city is home to numerous markets and shopping areas, providing endless options for those looking to stock up on necessities or souvenirs from the south.
  • Thyolo .  Much of Malawi's product is cultivated in the Thyolo Region in southern Malawi. Green tea estates and purple jacaranda trees dominate the area. Mount Mulanje, Malawi's highest peak, is located here.

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1. Shire Eco Safari Camp

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2. 1 2 Travel Africa

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3. See Malawi Travel

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4. Kiboko Safaris

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safari tour malawi

Safaris in Malawi

Travel to malawi for a beach holiday.

Travel to Malawi for a classic tropical beach holiday. The country may be hundreds of miles inland but magnificent Lake Malawi has everything you need: warm, clear water under sunny skies, hammocks slung between palm trees and dramatic sunsets. You can scuba dive among clouds of sparkling fish, paddle a canoe to deserted beaches, and enjoy local cuisine and lakeside culture.

Our Top Regions to Visit in Malawi:

  • Lake Malawi – much of the lake is protected & home to beachfront resorts & honeymoon hideaways in an unspoilt, palm-fringed setting. Explore the lake by boat & kayak, scuba dive among clouds of brightly coloured fish, or just laze in a hammock & watch the world slowly go by.
  • Liwonde National Park – travel to Liwonde to see Africa’s heavyweight animals such as elephant, buffalo & hippo. Night drives reveal the park’s more elusive residents – hyena, serval cats and giant owls. It’s close to Lake Malawi, easily accessed and an excellent bird watching destination. A cruise on the Shire River is highly recommended.
  • Majete Wildlife Reserve – a conservation success story, Majete is Malawi’s best destination to search for the Big 5 – elephant, rhino, lion, leopard & buffalo. You’ll see many antelope species as well as zebra, hippo & crocodile & the bird watching is also very good. Activities include game drives, guided walks & boat cruises.

Malawi travel is usually in combination with other African destinations. In particular, it’s a country that blends well with neighbouring Zambia. Travellers have the chance to view Victoria Falls, enjoy a big game safari and then kick back on a golden beach. You could also add Malawi to a South African tour or even Botswana for an equally rich and diverse itinerary.

And Malawi is rapidly becoming more than just a beach destination: its national parks and game reserves are increasingly attractive for the seasoned safari traveller. Liwonde and Majete are the best ones and are easy to build into a Malawi travel itinerary. You’ll sit back to game viewing by 4X4, boat and even on foot; highlights include elephants, hippos, crocodiles & many antelope species.

You’ll also enjoy the hospitality of a country long known as Africa’s friendliest – service always comes with a smile in Malawi. Families with children will love the safe and welcoming nature of Malawi; romantics will appreciate its natural beauty and panoramic views.

Malawi accommodation ranges from value-for-money beach resorts to luxurious hideaways on private islands, ideal for honeymooners. There are a handful of safari camps and lodges in the best reserves, often the sister camps of safari accommodation in Zambia which makes travel between the two countries much easier.

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safari tour malawi

Clear blue water, golden beaches & as much or as little as you want to do – it’s the ultimate post-safari wind-down for families, honeymooners & those looking for an away-from-it-all escape.

safari tour malawi

Lake Malawi’s blue waters hide a pleasant surprise: thousands of dazzling fish. In fact, no other lake on Earth has more freshwater fish species! Snorkelling & diving adventures are part of the Lake Malawi experience.

safari tour malawi

Malawi is often combined with safari giant Zambia but you can go game viewing in Malawi’s own Liwonde & Majete reserves. You’ll have sightings much to yourself & the company of friendly & knowledgeable guides.

safari tour malawi

Sit back on a boat & watch Malawi’s wildlife pass by. The Shire River flows through Liwonde & Majete reserves, giving you the chance to spot hippos & crocodiles plus a wealth of birdlife

safari tour malawi

A guided nature walk gives you the chance to see the smaller details & enjoy some excellent bird watching. Undiscovered by tourists, Majete is a true wilderness where every trip into the bush is an adventure.

safari tour malawi

Lake Malawi, is an inland sea, that offers the chance for almost every water sport that you can ever imagine. For those seeking some activity some of the lodges on Lake Malawi offer waterskiing and other watersports.

safari tour malawi

A number of our properties have honeymoon suites to ensure extra space and privacy for our couples. In addition with offer some surprise romantic extras, private dinners,activities and more.

safari tour malawi

One of the not-to-be-missed experiences unique to staying on a tea growing estate. This is a definite for tea enthusiasts and simple occasional tea drinkers alike. See if you can taste the differences!

safari tour malawi

Experience the extraordinary, let us tailor-make your trip to Malawi!

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Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

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safari tour malawi

Two of the great attractions of Malawi’s national parks and wildlife reserves are their completely unspoilt wilderness and the absence of mass tourism. When you take a safari in Malawi you really do feel you’re looking at a scene that David Livingstone would recognise from 150 years ago. There’s a real touch of the Garden of Eden about the parks. You discover the animals on your safari, they are not lined up for your viewing as though in a theme park.

The big five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) can be seen in Malawi as well as a splendid range of antelope and the smaller cats such as caracal and serval. Hippos are to be found in large numbers, so much so that they are almost symbolic of Malawi’s wildlife. A safari in Malawi is about memorable experiences, not tick lists. Plenty of animals in beautiful surroundings but no convoys of vehicles characteristic of some African game parks. Visitors are relatively few in number, giving everyone the opportunity to experience all types of safari.

And there is a wide choice of safari types. You can use the customary 4×4 vehicle (most are open) for your game drives or you can really get to know the country and its wildlife on a walking safari. In some parks the walking safari is taken to the next level by allowing guests to focus on tracking particular animals on foot, especially rhino. Other options include boat safaris along the Shire river when in Liwonde or Majete . This is a wonderful way to see the animals close-up as they seem unperturbed by people in a boat. You can float close to the hundreds of hippos and watch the elephants drink just a few metres away. Canoe safaris are also offered in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve . Encounters with animals in the river here are less frequent, but the thick bush either side is rich with wildlife.

Malawi’s nine national parks and wildlife reserves are the places to go on safari and they cover a great diversity of landscape and vegetation types, so enhancing the variety of the safaris on offer across the country. With highlands, escarpments, forests, plains, grasslands, lowlands, riverine floodplains and many areas of genuine unspoilt wilderness, no two locations or safaris give the same experience.

In the north are the unique Nyika Plateau and Vwaza Wildlife Reserve : one a highland, the other a lower lying area. The central region has two vast game areas: Kasungu National Park in the west and Nkhotakota Reserve in the east. The latter is now developing very rapidly. In the south, the best known national park is Liwonde , along the River Shire, but there are also three game areas further south: Lengwe National Park and the wildlife reserves of Majete (a huge conservation success story and now a Big 5 reserve) and Mwabvi , as well as the private Chimwenya Game Park near Blantyre. Near the southern limits of Lake Malawi is the world’s first freshwater national park at Cape Maclear. This is one of Malawi’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a great site for anyone interested in an aquatic safari!

Beyond the safaris to see ‘big game’, it is difficult to find many countries that can approach Malawi as a destination for birdwatching . Few indeed will get close to the range of species that can be seen and even fewer have such ease of viewing. And for those looking for a more ‘hands on’ approach than a simple safari allows, there are opportunities to engage in Conservation Volunteer Projects.

Places offering Safaris

safari tour malawi

Chimwenya Game Park

Chimwenya Game Park is a serene, beautiful and privately owned 500 acre game park, in one of the last remaining indigenous forests inteh Shire HIghlands.

safari tour malawi

Kasungu National Park

Kasungu National Park is an 800 sq mile area of natural woodland and bush with stretches of open grass. Poaching has reduced numbers but there is still wildlife to be seen.

safari tour malawi

Lengwe National Park

Lengwe National Park is 350 sq miles of dense vegetation with good birdlife and a number of mammal species to be seen. It is only an hour or so from Blantyre.

safari tour malawi

Liwonde National Park

Liwonde is perhaps the most popular of all of Malawi's game parks. The River Shire flows along its western border, allowing boat safaris to discover the Big 5 and an array of birdlife.

safari tour malawi

Lower Shire Valley

The Lower Shire Valley is an extension of the Rift Valley and home to no less than three national parks/wildlife reserves.

safari tour malawi

Majete Wildlife Reserve

Majete Wildlife Reserve is a unique conservation and tourist destination for all visitors. An amazing success story of recovery and restoration, and now home to the Big 5.

safari tour malawi

Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve

Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve is little neglected in terms of wildlife but the landscape includes scenic rocky outcrops and rivers cutting through impressive gorges.

safari tour malawi

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is one of the two large wildlife areas in Central Malawi. A true wilderness, it has a promising future after recent mass restocking.

safari tour malawi

Nyika National Park

Nyika is Malawi’s largest park. Superb wildlife and landscapes in one, it offers breathtaking, unique, scenery combined with wonderful safaris.

Similar Activities

safari tour malawi

Conservation Volunteer Projects

Volunteering with wildlife is a becoming more common as Malawi continues to be at the forefront of wildlife conservation in Africa.

safari tour malawi

Boat Safaris

Game viewing from a boat can be extremely successful as many animals are less concerned about what's close to them on the water than what's close to them on the land.

safari tour malawi

Birdwatching

Malawi's varied terrains and environments create a birdwatcher's paradise. Around 650 different species have been identified and birds can be seen in the reserves and all across the country.

safari tour malawi

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safari tour malawi

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safari tour malawi

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Central african wilderness safaris are your best choice for discovering malawi's wondrous wildlife on display in our parks. with our expertly trained guides, head out on an adventure through the unspoilt wilderness., hand in hand..., central african wilderness safaris are proud to support a number of community projects in malawi. when you explore with us, you automatically get involved too., our lodge collection, liwonde national park, chelinda lodge, nyika national park, chelinda camp, heuglin's lodge, plan your dream trip today.

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  • Lake Malawi National Park
  • Likoma Island
  • Livingstonia
  • Liwonde National Park
  • Majete Wildlife Reserve
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  • Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
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  • Walk Malawi – 9 nights
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Lake Malawi Extensions

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  • Two Rivers Luxury – 9 nights
  • South Luangwa Southern Explorer – 10 nights
  • Zambia In Style – 11 nights
  • South Luangwa Adventure – 12 nights
  • The Lower Zambezi Explorer – 13 nights
  • The Luangwa Valley – 13 nights
  • Classic Zambia – 14 nights
  • The Kafue Explorer – 14 nights
  • Three Rivers Luxury – 15 nights
  • Three Rivers – Wild & Authentic – 15 nights
  • The Instagrammable Itinerary – 16 nights
  • Wild Zambia – 19 nights
  • Diving & Yoga Adventure – 14 nights
  • Diving, Dunes and Dolphins – 16 nights
  • Far and Wild Honeymoon – 8 nights
  • Zambia & Malawi Luxury – 10 nights
  • Green Season Luxury – 13 nights
  • Zambia and Malawi Family – 13 nights
  • Sunsets and Safaris – Mid Range – 14 nights
  • Sunsets and Safaris – In Style – 15 nights
  • Sunsets and Safaris – Luxury – 15 nights
  • South Luangwa and Northern Malawi – 15 nights
  • Southern Malawi & South Luangwa – Classic – 16 nights
  • Adventure Green Season – 17 nights
  • Southern Malawi & South Luangwa – In Style – 17 nights
  • A Walk on the Wild Side – 21 nights
  • Whales & Wildlife – 14 nights
  • River Ocean Explorer – 14 nights
  • Zambia & Mozam in Style – 14 nights
  • Wild Africa – 20 nights
  • MalZamBique Combo – 21 nights
  • The Big Three – 21 nights
  • Wildlife and bird safaris
  • Beach Retreat
  • Crafted Luxury
  • Adventure junkies
  • Honeymooning
  • Family Holidays
  • Walkers’ paradise
  • Scuba freak
  • Fish fanatics
  • Meet the Team

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Malawi Safaris & Holidays

Join us on an unforgettable journey through Malawi’s breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant cultural heritage. Our meticulously crafted tours offer a unique opportunity to explore the hidden treasures of this enchanting region, led by our knowledgeable and passionate guides. Discover the awe-inspiring landscapes and immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of Malawi as we take you on a lifetime journey.

Immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of Lake Malawi , one of the planet’s largest and most stunning freshwater lakes. Delve into the mesmerizing underwater realm and discover its breathtaking marine life. Take a trip to the charming and tranquil Likoma Island , where you can bask in the tranquillity of its picturesque beaches and soak up the area’s fascinating cultural heritage.

Embark on an unforgettable journey to Malawi, where you can witness the magnificent wildlife at two of the most renowned reserves – Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park . Brace yourself to spot the Big Five and other fascinating animals in their natural habitat. Mount Mulanje is an absolute paradise for adventure enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views, challenging hiking trails, and much more. If you’re a nature lover, you cannot miss the unique ecosystem of the Zomba Plateau , where you can explore the lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and stunning views of the surrounding region. And if you’re interested in exploring the rich cultural heritage of Malawi, our tours provide you with a chance to visit the historic towns, meet the locals and immerse yourself in the vibrant local markets.

With our tours, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in an authentic and inspiring journey that you’ll never forget.

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Bookings and enquiries, malawi tours faqs, how much is a safari in malawi.

Safaris in Malawi can range from $100-300 USD per day, depending on the level of accommodation and activities included. Budget safaris are around $300 daily, while mid-range lodge safaris average $500 daily. High-end luxury safaris can be $1000 per day.

Is Malawi good for safari?

Malawi has excellent safari opportunities, especially in game reserves like Liwonde National Park, Majete Wildlife Reserve and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Malawi may not be as famous as other African safari destinations, but it has abundant wildlife, including elephants, hippos, antelopes, leopards, lions, monkeys, crocodiles, and over 400 bird species. Moreover, the national parks in this region are comparatively less crowded than other popular safari destinations. With only a handful of operators allowed in the parks, you can have the entire park to yourself and enjoy a more intimate safari experience with your loved ones.

What is the best time to visit Malawi?

The best time to visit Malawi for safari is during the dry season, from May to October (to mid-November). This is when wildlife is more concentrated around water sources, and vegetation is sparse, making animal spotting easier. The rainy season from mid-November to the end of April can impact your safari experience due to limited park drives and heavy downpours. While the rainy season can bring some challenges, there are also benefits to going on a safari during this time. For example, it’s baby season, so you’re likely to see lots of cute and adorable baby animals. Additionally, rates are often cheaper during the rainy season, so it can be a great way to save money while still having an incredible safari experience.

Can you see the big five in Malawi?

Yes, Malawi offers the opportunity to see the big five, and Majete Wildlife Reserve is a notable destination where you can encounter these iconic species. The big five, including elephants, buffalo, leopards, rhinos, and lions, can be observed in the diverse and flourishing ecosystem of Majete. Our safari tours often include visits to Majete, providing an incredible wildlife experience for enthusiasts seeking to witness these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Majete is now home to wild dogs, which are doing very well, with many cab sightings recently.

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Malawi

Lake Malawi, the most southerly Rift Valley's great lakes, perfect for a myriad water activities

A wildlife success story, the revival of Liwonde National Park

Lake Malawi's Marelli Archipelago - perfect for water activities

Liwonde National Park, the sluggish Shire River offers great game viewing options

Lake Malombe, one of Africa's breathtaking Great Rift Valley freshwater lakes

Lake Malawi National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site - forget the Caribbean!

Malawi holidays and safaris

At the foot of the African Rift Valley, Malawi’s image is often defined by the translucent waters of Lake Malawi.

Malawi

Stretching to almost 600km, the lake runs like a backbone down the country. Children play along the lakeshore , the warm sand lapped by crystal-clear waters. Beneath the surface, fresh-water cichlids abound, as in a huge natural aquarium: a must for curious snorkellers. Islands dotting the lake are a magnet for adventurous kayakers, while further afield, the unexpected treasures of Likoma Island , with its imposing Anglican cathedral, reward a leisurely boat trip. Spreading out from the lake, fertile soils form rolling farmlands, and towering above are the mountains: three high plateaux whose lush wilderness attracts the discerning visitor to walk and hike in near exclusivity. In this diverse environment, wildlife abounds. Hippos and crocs are in their element in the tropical Shire River as it flows alongside Majete Wildlife Reserve and on through the bird-rich Liwonde National Park – both now home once again to the “big five”. Equally good for birding is the high-altitude Nyika Plateau , while the rugged Nkhotakota is an emerging “must” for wildlife enthusiasts. Throughout the country, Malawi’s attractions are intrinsically bound up with its natural beauty. This is a place to explore at leisure: on foot, by canoe, by sailboat. To marvel at waterfalls in the wilderness. To interact with a genuinely welcoming people. Perhaps simply to stop and unwind. “The warm heart of Africa” is a fitting description.

Malawi: the key destinations

For many, the stand-out is Lake Malawi , one of the largest lakes in the world and home to hundreds of species of colourful cichlids, many endemic to the lake. Fringed by soft, sandy shores, it’s a mecca for snorkellers, divers, kayakers and – of course – beach lovers.

Arguably the best place for a traditional safari in Malawi, Majete Wildlife Reserve is a real conservation success story and here both driving and walking safaris can take you in search of the “big five”.

More established is the lush, tropical Liwonde National Park , which lines the Shire River – a languid waterway patrolled by hippos and crocs. Elephant roam the banks, and the birdlife is prolific.

Similarly popular with birders – and hikers – are the highlands of Nyika National Park , a refreshing haven after a hot safari, while Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve appeals especially to adventurous travellers looking for a wildlife haven which is, as yet, seldom visited.

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7 places to stay

Tucked into secluded coves or built on rocky islands there are plenty of places to stay on Lake Malawi. It is ideal for a relaxing beach stay after a safari.

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3 places to stay

Malawi's wildlife areas are resurgent, with significant reintroductions and intensive conservation efforts. If you are looking for game viewing close to Lake Malawi, then Liwonde National Park is ideal.

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Nyika Plateau

2 places to stay

The Nyika National Park protects a large area of rich rolling grasslands, noted for endemic orchids, heathers and wild flowers, as well as roan, eland and other plains game.

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Likoma Island

Likoma Island in Lake Malawi offers sandy beaches and secluded coves with some of the best snorkelling and diving in Malawi. It also has one of Africa's largest cathedrals.

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Lilongwe is the capital of Malawi, and is usually used as an overnight stop . Most travellers will pass through here at least once on their way to safari or beach.

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1 places to stay

The capital of Malawi's Southern Region and the country’s financial and commercial centre, Blantyre is usually a one night stop for flight connections from the south of the country.

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Malawi Interior

Malawi's interior covers a large area although we feature relatively little here. The Zomba Plateau is a real highlight with stunning scenery, forests and waterfalls.

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This large, rugged reserve has been recently regenerated though intensive animal reintroductions and conservation work; it's Malawi's most interesting wildlife area and home to the Big Five.

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Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s oldest, largest and least-developed wildlife reserve. However, recent intensive conservation work and animal translocations is bringing new life to this reserve.

Our top ten Malawi holidays

All our holidays to Malawi are tailormade; these are just our suggestions to help you decide where to go.

For many travellers, the perfect combination is to spend a few days on safari, then to finish your trip by the clear waters of Lake Malawi – snorkelling, sailing or simply relaxing on the beach.

For others, no trip to southern Africa would be complete without seeing the majestic Victoria Falls , which can fit in well with Zambia's premier safari destination, South Luangwa National Park . Still others want the luxury of focusing on Likoma Island for a few days, or hiking in Nyika , or .... For such a small country, Malawi has plenty of options.

Look through our suggestions for trips below, then contact us and let us help to create a Malawi holiday especially for you.

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Utaka Cichlid Safari

10 days • 3 locations BLANTYRE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Explore two of Malawi's safari parks - Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park - before finishing your trip with some beach time: relaxing, snorkelling and sailing in Lake Malawi National Park.

US$4,340 - US$5,700 per person

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Red Zebra Cichlid Safari

7 days • 2 locations BLANTYRE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Explore two of Malawi's highlights, with a safari in rugged, remote Majete Wildlife Reserve before some beach time: relaxing, snorkelling and sailing in Lake Malawi National Park.

US$3,400 - US$4,500 per person

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Hyena Safari

11 days • 4 locations VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Mix relaxation and adventure on a safari combining the South Luangwa with Victoria Falls and the beaches of Lake Malawi. These three locations are among the most iconic in southern Africa.

US$8,630 - US$11,910 per person

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Peacock Cichlid Safari

4 days • 1 locations LILONGWE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Snorkel in Lake Malawi’s famously clear fresh water, relax on the beach and explore Likoma Island from the award-winning Kaya Mawa. A chilled luxury add-on to end your safari.

US$3,430 - US$4,480 per person

View all holidays

Our travellers' most recent reviews of their Malawi holidays

Many of our travellers take the time to send us feedback on their trips to Malawi and other countries: something that is very important to us.

All of these reviews are published in full and unedited on our website. See all 92 Malawi holiday reviews here , or click on a card below to read one of our most recent reviews in full.

This feedback helps us to keep bang up to date, and is valuable in helping other travellers to plan their trips. It is also read with interest by lodges in Malawi, who appreciate constructive feedback that is based on personal experience.

Arrived 20 Nov 2023, 4 nights

"My Nov 2023 trip"

Overall rating: Excellent

Arrived 1 Sep 2023, 20 nights

"My Sep 2023 trip"

Arrived 12 Aug 2023, 18 nights

"My Aug 2023 trip"

Arrived 1 Aug 2023, 15 nights

Arrived 24 Apr 2023, 11 nights

"My Apr 2023 trip"

Arrived 11 Nov 2022, 18 nights

"Malawi & Zambia in Nov 2022"

Arrived 18 Sep 2022, 13 nights

"Big birthday Africa trip 2022"

Arrived 15 Sep 2022, 15 nights

"Our Sep 2022 trip to Zambia and Malawi"

Arrived 19 Sep 2022, 19 nights

"My Sep 2022 trip"

Arrived 5 Sep 2022, 20 nights

See all Malawi reviews

Our travellers' wildlife sightings across Malawi

A wildlife safari is at the heart of many trips to Malawi, and many travellers keep records of their sightings, from elephant and hippo to lion and zebra.

On their return, they share these records with us, and its then included on this site. Thus we have built up a unique picture of where and when you’re likely to see Malawi’s key wildlife species. This is truly citizen science in action.

Read how this survey works.

For much greater detail of what you’re likely to see from individual camps and lodges, take a look at our interactive map showing the the best locations for wildlife species in Malawi .

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Where to find Malawi’s key wildlife species

Malawi may not spring immediately to mind for a safari, but since the turn of the millennium, the wildlife has steadily been improving – and so have our visitors’ sightings.

You can find the results of these in many ways across our website. Check out our wildlife sightings and reviews for individual camps and reserves; take a look at our maps or individual holiday pages; or see our dedicated wildlife pages.

Whether you’re in search of lion or leopard , zebra or the beautiful sable antelope , take a look at our data and discover the best places to seek them out.

For a map of the best camps and lodges for sightings of a given animal species, click on a card:

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

3,562 sightings from 3,920 observations

Where to see elephant in Malawi

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

47% SUCCESS

1,902 sightings from 4,064 observations

Where to see leopard in Malawi

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

81% SUCCESS

2,989 sightings from 3,669 observations

Where to see lion in Malawi

Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.

33% SUCCESS

1,033 sightings from 3,116 observations

Where to see cheetah in Malawi

Wild dog

Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are among the continent’s most compelling animals. Much misunderstood, these rare, tie-dyed canids are amazingly efficient hunters with a fascinating social life.

31% SUCCESS

850 sightings from 2,726 observations

Where to see wild dog in Malawi

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

55% SUCCESS

2,138 sightings from 3,871 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Malawi

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

619 sightings from 2,016 observations

Where to see black rhino in Malawi

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

86% SUCCESS

3,439 sightings from 3,988 observations

Where to see giraffe in Malawi

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

2,514 sightings from 3,038 observations

Where to see buffalo in Malawi

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

2,605 sightings from 2,925 observations

Where to see hippo in Malawi

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

22% SUCCESS

441 sightings from 1,971 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Malawi

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

49% SUCCESS

1,447 sightings from 2,938 observations

Where to see eland in Malawi

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

23% SUCCESS

464 sightings from 1,980 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Malawi

Wildebeest

Connochaetes sp.

Superficially bovine in appearance, wildebeests are known for their spectacular migrations sometimes in huge numbers. These resilient animals are some of Africa’s most successful herbivores.

68% SUCCESS

2,434 sightings from 3,591 observations

Where to see wildebeest in Malawi

Zebra

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

3,748 sightings from 4,449 observations

Where to see zebra in Malawi

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

54 sightings from 3,262 observations

Where to see pangolin in Malawi

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

67 sightings from 3,262 observations

Where to see aardvark in Malawi

Which is the best month to visit Malawi?

The best time to visit Malawi depends on many things, including interests, the length of a visit and the reasons for travelling. One person's top time to go to Malawi can be another person's worst!

A Malawi safari is generally best between May and October, when it’s mostly dry. The cool temperatures of June and July rise in September and October, notably in low-lying areas such as Liwonde National Park and along the shores of Lake Malawi .

Typically the rains start around November, but this can still be a good time for a safari – and it’s less busy than during the northern-hemisphere school holidays. This season is also excellent for birdwatching, although many camps close around Christmas until April or May.

Lake Malawi is an all-year-round destination, but can be at its most appealing between September and April, when temperatures are generally warm and snorkelling is at its best.

Click on the months below; see rainfall and temperatures here .

Malawi in January

January is the middle of the rainy season in Malawi. You can expect heavy rain for a few hours most days with some occasional flooding. It is generally hot and wet, with temperatures reaching over 30ºC. The landscape is green and lush and the air crystal clear. In the game reserves the thick bush can restrict animal sightings, making game viewing more challenging. With the abundance of water available the wildlife disperses and is no longer concentrated around water sources. However, many species give birth at this time of the year and it is a great time for birding. Although the majority of the safari camps are open at this time, most of the beach lodges along the lakeshore close in mid January.

  • Peak of the rainy season with thundershowers most days
  • Many animals are with young & birdlife is at its most spectacular
  • Bush lush & green; animals dispersed so game viewing more difficult
  • Air is clear & dust-free, which is great for photography
  • Majority of lakeside beach lodges are closed second half of January

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in January

Malawi in February

February is generally the wettest month and still the heart of the rainy season, with dramatic thunderstorms interspersed with sunny spells. Expect some flooding and the ground to be waterlogged. The thick bush still affects game viewing on land, and walking safaris are limited, but game viewing by boat on the swollen Shire River, in both Liwonde National Park and Majete Game Reserve, is a highlight. Birdlife is also at its most spectacular at this time of year. Visitor numbers and costs at the few open camps are low. Most of the beach lodges remain closed, with only one or two open all year.

  • The bush feels alive; birdlife is at its most spectacular
  • Good for photography but poor game viewing
  • Few tourists, so rates usually at their lowest
  • Majority of lakeside beach lodges are still closed

Weather in February

Malawi in March

The rainy season is nearing the end in Malawi. The thunderstorms become fewer with sunnier days, but you can still expect some rain most days. March is one of the last of the summer months with temperatures still around 25–30ºC most days. On safari the thick bush still restricts game viewing and walking safaris are limited too, with the larger animal species being quite elusive. On the plus side, migrant birds make the most of the abundant insect life. This time of the year is also great for keen photographers with the vivid green landscape and clear, dust-free air. The beach lodges are also starting to open again around mid-March, following the rainy season.

  • Expect to experience some rain most days
  • The bush feels alive, with birdlife still a highlight
  • Good for photography but game viewing remains poor
  • With few tourists, rates generally at their lowest
  • Beach lodges now open from mid-March

Weather in March

Malawi in April

April is a month of change in Malawi. The days start to cool down, rainfall decreases, and summer turns into autumn as the dry season approaches. Temperatures drop to around 25 ºC during the day with the evenings becoming cooler. This is the tail-end of the green season and, after five months of rain, the landscape remains green and lush, with game viewing still a challenge. However, the birdlife is still great, and the improving weather attracts more visitors to both the bush and the beaches along the Malawi lakeshore.

  • The temperatures are cooling down but still expect the odd rain shower
  • Start of the dry season with mostly clear and sunny days
  • Bush still green & lush: good for photography but not for game viewing
  • Very few visitors, and still one of the cheapest times to visit
  • The lakeshore beach lodges are now all open

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in April

Malawi in May

May is the end of summer and the first month of the dry season. There may still be the occasional shower, but clear sunny skies are becoming the norm. As winter approaches, daytime temperatures drop to a comfortable 20–25 ºC, but at night they’re down to around 10ºC, so warm clothing is advisable for early- morning game drives. As the rain disappears the landscape starts to dry out. Although the vegetation is still thick, the game viewing starts to improve and walking safaris becoming more reliable. Birding is still excellent, too. Around the lakeshore, temperatures can be significantly warmer, making beach holidays popular at this time of the year. Yet visitor numbers remain low, making May one of the most cost-effective times to visit.

  • Start of the dry season with mostly clear & sunny days
  • Temperatures are mild along the lakeshore so good for a beach stay
  • Bush still green & lush but game viewing improving
  • Good for photography & great birdlife
  • Very few visitors, & still one of the cheapest times to visit

Weather in May

Malawi in June

June is entirely in the dry season, and – along with May – can also be one of the coldest months. With no rain, clear skies and temperatures dropping to around 20–25ºC during the day, the nights can be cold, reaching around 10ºC. Warm clothing is advisable for early-morning and late-afternoon game drives. The landscape remains lush, but the bush starts to die back significantly, bringing a marked improvement in wildlife viewing. This, along with cooler temperatures, makes June ideal for walking safaris. Temperatures around the lakeshore tend to be significantly warmer, so June is another popular month for beach holidays with higher visitor numbers.

  • Well into the dry season with sunny days & cool temperatures
  • Thick bush is dying back, & game viewing improves
  • Increased visibility & cool weather perfect for walking safaris
  • Mild temperatures along the lakeshore: good for a beach stay
  • June is still low season : a popular time before high season starts

A very good time to visit

Weather in June

Malawi in July

July is the middle of the dry season in Malawi, with temperatures starting to pick up towards the end of the month. This makes July a good time for both safaris and beach holidays. Expect it to be pleasant during the day but still cold at night, especially at high altitude such as Nyika Plateau; blankets and hot water bottles are often provided on safari. As the vegetation dies back, animals start to congregate around perennial water sources, making this one of the best times of year for game viewing. July is also the start of high season and all the camps increase their rates to make the most of the improving game and the start of the international holiday period.

  • Warm dry days with crisp cold nights
  • Significantly improved game viewing
  • No limit on walking safaris, with pleasant temperatures a plus
  • Temperatures along the lakeshore ideal for beach and watersports
  • Approaching peak season, so significant increase in costs

Weather in July

Malawi in August

August is well into the dry season with game concentrated around water sources and the safari season approaching its best. The landscape is changing from green to brown and the air is becoming drier and dustier. There is also a lot of smoke in the air as burning of trees and vegetation is prevalent in Malawi, so this isn’t the best time for photography. Later in August the temperatures start to pick up, but early mornings and late evenings are still cooler – particularly out on open game drives where warm jackets, gloves and scarves are recommended. August is one of the most popular months. Pleasant weather and good game viewing attracts lots of visitors, and costs are correspondingly high.

  • Warm dry days with crisp cold nights still the norm
  • Game viewing at its best
  • No limits on walking safaris, with pleasant temperatures a bonus
  • Lakeshore temperatures remain good for beach and water sports
  • Still peak season, with attendant high costs

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Malawi in September

This is the most popular time of the year for a safari. There has been no rain for months and temperatures are starting to increase, making morning and evening game drives more comfortable. Daytime temperatures are now above 30ºC and evening temperatures relatively mild. Game viewing is at its best with the animals concentrating around the reducing water sources, making wildlife interactions more common. With the increasing heat the air becomes more hazy, reducing photographic opportunities and distant views. This is a good time to finish a safari with some relaxing time along the Malawi lakeshore. Costs, though, are high, and camps can be booked up months in advance.

  • Dry & hot during the day with clear skies & warm nights
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing
  • Dust & smoke creates a haze; not great for photography
  • Temperatures along the lakeshore perfect for beach and watersports
  • Peak season; camps are expensive & often full well in advance

Weather in September

Malawi in October

This is the last month of the dry season: the start of summer with temperatures peaking over 40ºC during the day and hardly less than 20ºC at night. This makes early-morning and late-evening game drives more comfortable but can be terribly hot during the day and makes walking safaris very challenging. The landscape is very dry and brown, so not ideal for photography, but game viewing remains at its best. With the lack of water the animals are all vying for the best spot to drink without being preyed upon. October is the perfect time to finish a safari with some relaxing time along the Malawi lakeshore. It is still peak season, though, and costs remain high.

  • Dry, hot days with clear skies; warm nights
  • The haze from dust & smoke is not great for photography
  • Warm lakeshore temperatures still good for beach & watersports

Weather in October

Malawi in November

November marks the end of the dry season and the start of the rainy season. Temperatures continue to increase with humidity building as the rains approach, which can be any time during the month. Be prepared for spectacular thunderstorms and short sharp showers. After the first rains the bush springs back to life and wildlife disperses, making game viewing harder. Birding, though, is on the up – and with the air washed clean, photographic opportunities improve. The first week or two are a good time to travel as the camps have reduced their rates and rains may not have started in earnest. However, while all the camps and beach lodges remain open some of the airstrips may become waterlogged, making road transfers more practical.

  • Typically the start of the wet season; very hot & humid
  • Increased chance of heavy rain as the month progresses
  • Greatly diminished game viewing once the rains arrive
  • A good time for photographers & keen birders
  • Lower rates at camps and beach lodges, with fewer visitors

Weather in November

Malawi in December

December is the first full month of the rainy season, with daily thundershowers expected, interspersed with sunny spells. Temperatures are around 30ºC with high humidity. After a few weeks of rain, the abundance of standing water causes animals to disperse and the bush becomes thicker and greener, reducing visibility for game viewing. Conversely, this is when many animals produce their young, and is a great time for birdwatching. The rain also clears the air of dust and smoke, making it much more favourable for keen photographers. December is still a good month to be along the lakeshore provided you don’t mind the afternoon rain showers.

  • Very hot & humid
  • Opportunities for game viewing decrease with the arrival of the rains
  • A great time for photographers & keen birders
  • Rates at camps & beach lodges fall, as do visitor numbers

Weather in December

Country guide

A guide to visiting Malawi

Whether you’re planning a safari, or a hiking trip , or to spend time by the lake, holidays in Malawi tend to be very relaxed. The small, tropical country is, as yet, relatively undiscovered by tourism and the people are famously friendly.

The physical and spiritual backbone of the country is Lake Malawi, whose sandy shoreline is perfect for beach lovers. Few snorkellers can resist the clear, mineral-rich waters teeming with brightly coloured cichlids, while kayakers are drawn to exploring the islands.

Malawi’s wildlife areas are similarly low key – from the slow-moving Shire River that defines Liwonde National Park to the small yet thriving Majete , complete with the “big five”. This is truly a country of land and lake safaris.

Where to go on a Malawi safari holiday

Malawi’s most established safari destination is Liwonde National Park , a lush, tropical park that lines the Shire River. Crocodiles and hippos patrol this languid waterway, elephant roam the banks, and more than 400 bird species have been recorded. For a more traditional safari, look no further than Majete Wildlife Reserve , a conservation success story where both driving and walking safaris can take you in search of the “big five”. Wild, remote and rugged, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve has seen a wildlife transformation in recent years, dominated by elephant and buffalo, and appealing especially to adventurous travellers. Nyika National Park , too, is popular with hikers and birders, a refreshing haven after a hot safari, yet still with herds of antelope and zebra – and leopard hidden in the hills.

Malawi safari lodges and beach retreats

Malawi’s safari and beach lodges reflect the country as a whole – small, individual and very welcoming. In Liwonde , a scattering of lodges for different budgets line the Shire River, with lovely views through the trees and the chance to take part in boat, walking and driving safaris. Walking and game drives are also offered from Mkulumadzi , a luxury yet eco-friendly lodge overlooking the Mkulumadzi River, in Majete Wildlife Reserve . Around the shores of Lake Malawi , and on a couple of the islands, the focus switches to watersports and cultural excursions. Most lodges here are ideally suited to families, from simple and affordable beach lodges to larger (but not very large!) resorts, as well as the upmarket Pumulani , run by the renowned Robin Pope Safaris. There’s even a dedicated kayaking lodge that’s a 2-3 hour paddle from the mainland. Offshore, on a corner of Likoma Island , you’ll find the chic lakeside bungalows of Kaya Mawa and its equally-smart sibling, Ndomo Point House , which is perhaps Malawi’s best private beach retreat for larger families.

Malawi’s food and culture

Cultural experiences are everywhere in Malawi; travellers can't help but interact with lots of Malawians during a holiday here. Passing through villages, or browsing at local markets is always a good start, with crafts and textiles sometimes jostling for position among the foodstalls. Do also try the local cuisine. Nsima, or white maize – served with vegetables, fish or meat – is a staple, while specialities include chambo (tilapia fish, fresh from Lake Malawi), nthochi (banana bread) and mbatata (cookies made from sweet potato and cinnamon). Entirely unexpected is Likoma Island on Lake Malawi, largely inhabited by fishermen, but whose imposing cathedral is complete with carved soapstone and stained-glass windows. You’ll also find a gem of a small holiday hideaway here: Kaya Mawa , which is deeply involved with the local community.

Malawi in context: history, environment and people

Dominated by Lake Malawi, which is in part a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Malawi is a rich mix of landscapes, from highlands and plateaux to valleys and fertile farmlands. The early inhabitants of this region date back to the Stone Age, but the arrival of Bantu-speaking peoples around the 10th century and the founding of the Maravi Empire marked a new stage. Despite the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, it wasn’t until the 1800s that European influence was significant. Establishment of a British protectorate in 1891, later named Nyasaland, led to the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Resistance against colonial rule was strong, led by Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who became prime minister on independence in 1964. Malawi’s population is made up of 11 different ethnic groups, each with its own set of cultural norms and practices. The largest is the Chewa tribe, whose mother tongue, Chichewa, is the official spoken language of Malawi.

Maps of Malawi: two styles

A quick glance at a map makes it clear that Malawi’s shape is defined by Lake Malawi. Fringing the eastern side of the country it occupies the valley floor of the Great Rift Valley, its steep sides creating a dramatic yet fertile landscape.

This natural diversity is thrown into relief with our different styles of mapping. Switch on “terrain” imagery and the country’s highlands stand out; zoom into the areas and you’ll gain a vivid indication of the country’s topography – with its wildlife reserves and safari lodges.

Click onto any of the markers, and follow the links in the bubbles until you find maps of these areas, with precise locations for the various safari camps and lodges.

Reference map

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Understand more about Malawi

Having an understanding of the practical details when planning a holiday can help to make everything run smoothly, and travelling to Malawi is no exception.

Even with our team of specialists behind you, it helps to understand a little of what to expect. Whether you’d like to know more about flights to Malawi, or to read about Malawi’s attitude to LGBT travellers , we can help.

You’ll also find a quick fact-check on things such as currency and language, along with our straightforward advice on the subject of tipping .

Flights to Malawi

Flights to Malawi

Malawi general information

Malawi general info

Advice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Travellers in Malawi

LGBT travel in Malawi

Tipping in Malawi

Tipping in Malawi

We can arrange flights for those taking a holiday to Malawi from the UK, but if you’d prefer to organise them yourself, we will gladly work your itinerary around them. From London , the easiest and most direct way to reach Malawi is to fly to Johannesburg, often with British Airways, and then to connect through to one of Malawi’s two “gateway” airports, Lilongwe or Blantyre, with Airlink. Alternatively you can fly into either of these two airports via Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines. From the USA , you can either fly to London, then we will organise your connecting flights to Malawi – as above – or you can book direct to Malawi, leaving us to arrange any internal flights within the country.

Flights to Malawi

Malawi general information

As with all countries, we advise our travellers to check the latest advice from their government and health specialist before setting off. Several vaccines, including typhoid, polio and tetanus, are usually sensible for Malawi, and it’s also worth considering yellow fever. Malaria is common, and in some areas of the lake, bilharzia is prevalent. Always check the latest recommendations with your GP or travel clinic. Although English is one of the official languages, and is widely spoken, the country’s second official language is Chichewa. Even learning the odd word or two will be appreciated. Malawi is two hours ahead of GMT, with no time difference between the winter and summer months. The local currency is the Malawian kwacha (MWK), but credit cards are increasingly accepted in lodges.

Malawi general information

Advice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Travellers in Malawi

We've been organising trips to Malawi for our travellers since about 1998 and in that time we’ve booked many trips for gay travellers. We have never heard of any issues experienced by our travellers due to their sexuality. In more general terms, there remain some laws in Malawi against homosexuality, although these are rarely enforced and we aren’t aware of them ever having been applied to tourists on holiday in Malawi. As a visitor, your sexual preferences and gender identity are, of course, your private business. If you don’t identify as a heterosexual person, that should not be of any interest to anybody. It is only if your behaviour is deemed unacceptable that you might face reproach – and that would also apply to heterosexual couples behaving inappropriately.

Advice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Travellers in Malawi

In Malawi, as in most countries around the world, tipping in Malawi is completely voluntary and should be dependent on the quality of the service you have received. Most visitors would think of tipping guides, trackers and waiters individually, but consider also those behind the scenes – the chefs, the cleaners, the maintenance staff. Many lodges have a general tip box, with proceeds split equally between this team. Although tips can make a large difference to those in the service industry, there’s a fine line between the right amount to tip and tipping too much. So while we at Expert Africa believe that good service should be rewarded, please do be mindful of the potential impact on the community, since excessive tips can upset the balance of the local economy.

Tipping in Malawi

Ideas for holidays in Malawi

For some travellers, a trip to Africa – and Malawi is no exception – is all about the thrill of safari. For others Malawi offers the chance of pure relaxation in a beautiful beach-side setting with gentle waves lapping the sands. Some are travelling solo, others in small family groups, still others may be embarking on that adventurous trip of a lifetime.

Malawi can fill all of these dreams – and more. From luxurious island hideaways in Lake Malawi to impressive safari lodges with top-notch guiding in Liwonde and Majete ; rugged hiking trips on the Nyika Plateau to full-on kayak adventures – there are a lot of options.

With so much to offer, we have put together a selection of holiday suggestions, below. All our trips are tailormade, so take a look through these ideas, then give us a call and let one of our Malawi experts help to design the right trip for you.

Let us help you customise your trip

All of our holidays on this site are just ideas; none are fixed. All of our trips are tailor-made, so we'll always adapt them to suit you. Talk to an Expert and let us help you to work out your perfect trip.

Talk to an Expert

Call us now! We’ll match you with the Specialist in our team who is best suited to help you. Then together we can start planning your trip.

Set up your itinerary

Based on our experience and your ideas, your specialist will create a detailed, costed itinerary. We’ll refine it together, until we have a trip that you’re perfectly happy with.

Prepare for your trip

The same Specialist will make the seamless arrangements for your trip, send you detailed travel documents, and be available to answer any questions before you depart.

Travel with peace of mind

After you set off, you’ll be cared for by our partners in Africa, most of whom have worked with Expert Africa for decades. And if you ever need us urgently, we’re available 24/7.

When you return

We love to learn about your trip, and so will always be grateful if you’ve the time to give feedback to your Specialist when you return.

Where to stay in Malawi

Ask us for more details of what’s where, and what’s likely to suit you best!

Mkulumadzi Lodge

Mkulumadzi is a class act in a superb location. Come for comfort, a rugged reserve, interesting antelope species, great guiding and a real feeling of getting away from it all.

Pumulani

Beside the lakeshore, Pumulani is a smart, beach retreat. It's owned by Robin Pope Safaris, from Zambia, and perfect for a few relaxing nights after a safari.

Kaya Mawa

Kaya Mawa Lodge on Lake Malawi's Likoma Island is Ideal for diving, snorkeling or just relaxing.

Mvuu Wilderness Lodge

Mvuu Lodge is a very comfortable lodge on the Shire River in the Liwonde National Park, offering boat, walking and driving safaris.

Mumbo Island

Mumbo Island

Mumbo Island Camp is a small eco camp on a small granite island in Lake Malawi. This is a great, remote spot for kayaking and snorkeling.

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Tongole Wilderness Lodge is a relatively new luxury lodge in the Nkhotakota Wilderness Reserve offering walking, fishing and canoeing safaris in a pristine wilderness environment.

Latitude 13

Latitude 13

Latitude 13 is a very cutting edge modern guest house located in the leafy suburbs of Lilongwe.

Chintheche Inn

Chintheche Inn

A warm, welcoming beach lodge on the western shore of Lake Malawi, Chintheche Inn offers simple but comfortable accommodation, and a wide range of activities, from watersports to cultural excursions.

Kuthengo Camp

Kuthengo Camp

Kuthengo Camp is a small, relatively new bushcamp on a bend of the Shire River, under shady fever trees and baobabs. It's a quality operation run by a professional team with a good track record, so is already a reliably good option in Liwonde.

Mvuu Camp

Mvuu Camp is a comfortable family-friendly camp on the banks of the Shire River. If offers boat, walking and driving safaris.

Makokola Retreat

Makokola Retreat

Makokola Retreat is a large, family friendly lodge located on a stunning beach on the southern lakeshore of Lake Malawi.

Ryalls Hotel

Ryalls Hotel

In Blantyre, the capital of Malawi's Southern Region, the Protea Hotel Ryalls is a decent place to stay and can be useful for overnight stops.

Ku Chawe Inn

Ku Chawe Inn

Zomba Plateau in Malawi

Chelinda Lodge

Chelinda Lodge

Chelinda Lodge is located on a hillside with views of the rolling grasslands of the remote Nyika Plateau.

Heuglins Guest House

Heuglins Guest House

Heuglins Guest House, located in the northern suburbs of Malawi's capital Lilongwe, is ideal for overnight stops, and offers the possibility to visit Lilongwe's bustling old town market.

Domwe Island

Domwe Island

Kayak Africa's Domwe Island in Lake Malawi

Makuzi Beach

Makuzi Beach

Makuzi Beach Lodge is situated on the northern shores of Lake Malawi and has one of the very few private beaches in Malawi

Blue Zebra Island Lodge

Blue Zebra is a simple and affordable beach lodge with lots of character, which is popular with expats and ever increasingly with international visitors.

Ndomo Point House

Ndomo Point House

Ndomo Point House is a private house on Likoma Island with its own pool and chef.

Chelinda Camp

Chelinda Camp

Safaris and travel to Chelinda Camp, on Malawi's Nyika Plateau

Special types of holiday to Malawi

A holiday in Malawi is as much about how you travel and your interests as about the country itself. Families are drawn by the variety, culture vultures by the people and history; some come seeking solitude; others a beach lodge or a luxury safari - or both.

Watersports feature high on the list, from snorkelling and diving to kayaking and sailing. Wildlife holidays share top billing in Majete and Liwonde , with superb birding in the mix too.

For photographers, stunning lakeside scenery backed by high, verdant mountains vie with underwater shooting in clear lake waters – and of course wildlife close ups on safari.

Up in the mountains, hiking comes into its own, from short walks to challenging treks, and horseriding adds a further dimension.

Take a look at the options, then talk to us and we’ll help to create a holiday in Malawi designed to suit you.

Beach holidays

Beach holidays

Discover Africa's coast and tropical islands.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

Diverse habitats, discreet hides and superb guiding.

Cultural experiences

Cultural experiences

Get an insight into Africa's cultures and history.

Diving & snorkelling

Diving & snorkelling

Find captivating marine life beneath the waves

Luxury

First-class service, scenic vistas and unparalleled comfort await you during these carefully selected luxury holidays. 

Private villas & houses

Private villas & houses

Enjoy Africa with just your friends & family

Riding holidays

Riding holidays

Explore Africa's wilderness on horseback.

Walking

Explore Africa's most scenic trails on foot.

Wildlife safaris

Wildlife safaris

These trips include hard-hitting game and fascinatingly elusive species alike, as well as superb guiding and a variety of diverse ecosystems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Malawi FAQs

How often have you thought of a travel question that feels too trivial to ask? Most people feel like that sometimes, yet such questions are important.

Below we’ve included some of those that we’re frequently asked – from where you can see the “big five” in Malawi, to what exactly are cichlids.

No matter how small your question may seem, please don’t hesitate to contact us . Our experts have years of experience travelling in Africa – and we’re here to help.

Where can you see the “big five” in Malawi?

The “big five”: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. It’s a heady combination of animals – and all can be seen in Malawi. Following extensive regeneration since 2003, Majete Wildlife Reserve once again boasts all five of these iconic animals, having been sorely neglected in previous years. Its 700km² of fairly rugged land now protect not just the “big five” but also giraffe , cheetah , zebra and of course plenty of antelope. Hippo and crocodiles, too, are in their element in the fast-flowing Shire River as it flows alongside the park. That same river defines the smaller Liwonde National Park , but here its waters – equally attractive to hippo and crocodiles – flow more slowly, lined by palm trees and imbuing a lush, tropical feel. Elephant and buffalo are commonly sighted in the park, though leopard – while present – are more elusive. Lion , wild dog , black rhino and cheetah have all been reintroduced since 2015.

How much is a safari in Malawi?

As with any holiday, the cost of a safari in Malawi will depend on many variables. Among these are the time you’d like to spend in the country, the activities you’d like to do on safari, and whether or not you’d like to combine a safari with a visit to Lake Malawi or into the mountains. Costs depend on the time of year you’re travelling, where you’re travelling, how you’re travelling, and your choice of accommodation. Take a look at our suggested holidays in Malawi, then get in touch with us and one of our Malawi experts will help you to create an itinerary around your budget.

Why is Malawi particularly good for a family holiday?

Variety is key to almost all family holidays in Malawi, and in this Malawi the country excels. It’s also famously friendly, often dubbed “the warm heart of Africa”. Diversity runs through the landscape, from rolling hills and highlands to lush forests and fascinating national parks, and on to the beautiful beaches of Lake Malawi. Activities around the lake make it a superb family destination, from swimming and snorkelling to kayaking and sailing. With countless colourful fish, there’s plenty to see beneath the waves, while small islands dotting the lake are excellent for exploration. Combine this with a wildlife safari, typically to Majete Wildlife Reserve or Liwonde National Park , where low visitor numbers allow a more intimate family experience than in many other countries. Whether your family wants to run along a sandy beach, or play in the waves, or explore local markets, or hike in the mountains, Malawi comes up trumps.

What exactly are cichlids?

Cichlids are a diverse group of freshwater fish belonging to the family Cichlidae . Known for their wide variety of colours, sizes and habitat preferences, they include many species that will be familiar to aquarium enthusiasts. Indeed, the clear waters of Lake Malawi, covering an area of 30,000km², can seem like a vast aquarium. More than 800 species of cichlid inhabit these waters, many of them endemic - and many at risk of extinction. They range in size from 2.5cm to 90cm, and exhibit a wide variety of behavioural traits - from complex breeding rituals to advanced forms of parental care. Many are also aggressive, especially during the breeding season or when defending their territory. The diet of cichlids is equally diverse, with herbivores, carnivores and omnivores all featured within their ranks. It’s an adaptability that makes them particularly interesting for scientific research, offering valuable insights into the processes of natural selection and adaptation.

What's it like to swim in Lake Malawi?

Genuinely warm, clear waters teeming with fish make swimming in Lake Malawi akin to swimming in a giant aquarium – at 29,600km 2 , the lake is the ninth largest in the world. The feel is that of a calm sea, especially as you can’t always see the other side, yet despite the soft sandy beaches and secluded coves, the water is fresh rather than salty. When swimming anywhere in Africa (and Lake Malawi is no exception) it’s wise to take informed local advice about the dangers – which could come from larger animals like hippos and crocodiles or from unseen hazards like bilharzia. Sticking to well-known swimming locations – checked with well-informed local experts – is the best advice to avoid any problems. Then you can take in your surroundings at leisure, from those myriad fish to distant rolling hills lit up by an African sunset.

Our other African destinations

As specialists in Africa, we are well-placed to help you choose the right country for your African adventure.

While Malawi offers plenty of variety, those in search of a more focused safari experience might like to consider neighbouring Zambia , whose South Luangwa National Park can also work well for a top-notch safari in combination with a Malawi holiday.

Zimbabwe , too, offers high standards of wildlife guiding and – like Zambia – has the added bonus of the Victoria Falls .

For something a little less “wild”, take a look at Kenya or Tanzania , whereas for a self-drive holiday, Namibia is a must.

Entirely different is Rwanda , where visiting a family of mountain gorillas is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Like Malawi, several other countries – Kenya , Mozambique and South Africa - present the combined appeal of safari and beaches, or how about an idyllic island add-on to Zanzibar or even the Seychelles ?

The choices are many and varied, so do contact us ; we’re here to help you plan your perfect African holiday.

Botswana

With big game, glamorous lodges and one of the greatest unspoilt wildernesses on Earth, Botswana is perhaps Africa's most exclusive safari destination.

Kenya

Humanity’s ancestors lived in Kenya, which is now home to people speaking 42 languages, and some of Africa’s rarest, most magnificent wildlife.

Mozambique

An ocean paradise protected by world-class marine parks, Mozambique’s idyllic archipelagos offer heavenly hideaways, outstanding diving and laid-back luxury.

Namibia

Spectacular scenery, diverse wildlife and a rich cultural heritage await discovery by air, with a guide or on a self-drive adventure.

Rwanda

This small, mountainous country offers Africa’s best gorilla treks, other good safari options and a profound human element in every trip.

Seychelles

The ultimate glamorous getaway: the lush islands of Seychelles are enchantingly beautiful and stylish sanctuaries for both wildlife and ocean-lovers.

South Africa

South Africa

Cosmopolitan Cape Town, world-class wineries, brilliant ‘Big Five’ safaris and spectacularly diverse scenery make South African holidays fabulously exciting and enjoyable.

Tanzania

East Africa’s biggest country has a wide range of parks to explore and some of the Indian Ocean’s best island retreats.

Zambia

Home to walking safaris, exceptional wildlife, superb guiding and the mighty Victoria Falls, Zambia is Africa at its most alluring.

Zanzibar

The ultimate Spice Island: Zanzibar’s mystique, marine life and chic beach retreats make it Africa’s most alluring archipelago.

Zimbabwe

Stunning national parks teeming with game, plus Africa's finest professional guides and the spectacular Victoria Falls: Zimbabwe is enthralling.

Elephant safari in Linyanti

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QuestSafariAndLodging

Your Gateway to unforgettable experiences!

Are you ready for an unforgettable journey through the warm heart of Africa? Look no further! Quest Lodges and Safari invites you to explore the vibrant landscapes, Beautiful Lake Malawi, rich culture, and breathtaking wildlife of Malawi.

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Whether you're a nature enthusiast, cultural explorer, or adventure seeker, we have the perfect package for you.

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With years of experience, our team knows Malawi inside out. We curate unique itineraries that showcase the best of our country.

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Central & Southern Essence: Malawi's Finest

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Dedza diaries: writting your malawian adventure

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Malawi Tours & Safari Packages

55 Tours to Malawi, ordered shortest to longest trip. Prices are from R33657 $1830 £1439 €1688 A$2767 C$2509 NZ$2995 to R224800 $12223 £9611 €11275 A$18479 C$16761 NZ$20006 per person. Use our Tour Search → to filter by price, duration, start point, travel style and more.

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Zambia Safari in South Luangwa National Park

Luangwa Valley leopard, Zambia Safari

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Lion in South Luangwa, Zambia Safari

Lake Malawi & Zambia Safari in South Luangwa Valley

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7-Day Northern Malawi Safari (Budget Lodge Tour)

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Southern Malawi Safari (Budget Lodge Tour)

Lake Malawi sunset

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Sunset Over Lake Malawi

13 Day Victoria Falls to Dar es Salaam Lodge Overland Tour

Elephant at Kafue River

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Wild Zambia Safari Adventure (Small Group Tour)

Bangwelu male black lechwe

16 Day Zambia, Malawi & Tanzania Africa Overland Safari

Luangwa River

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16 Day Zambia, Malawi & Tanzania Camping Overland Tour

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Malawi & Zambia Safari - Budget Small Group Tour

South Luangwa lions, Zambia Safari

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22 Day Victoria Falls to Kenya Lodge Safari (Overland Tour)

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Why Travel to Malawi ? by Andrew Hofmeyr

Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa, is famous for its friendly people and beautiful Lake Malawi. This relatively small, yet diverse country is a laid-back travel destination where the pace of life slows down and you get to relax and appreciate its spectacular natural scenery.

Although the Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country around 20% of its total area is covered by the fresh-water Lake Malawi . Malawi is the ideal destination for a relaxing beach break on the shores of the Lake of Stars, where you can participate in water sports or explore its clear, warm waters by boat, yacht or catamaran.

The country consists primarily of a long narrow plateau and rolling plains, gentle hills and a few mountain ranges. Most of Malawi’s population is rural with agriculture being the main industry. The majority of Malawians still live in traditional villages that welcome visitors interested in their way of life.

Malawi Highlights – Lakeshore Beaches, Scenery & Wildlife 

Malawi is home to over 650 recorded bird species found across the country's different landscapes. The birdlife consists primarily of woodland or grassland varieties including the Livingstone flycatcher, red-winged francolin and the endemic Lillian’s lovebird, and is a summer home of many migratory species.

Lake Malawi, as well as the rivers and dams of Malawi also attract waterbirds such as fish eagles, hamerkops, kingfishers, egrets and pelicans. Raptors, like the African marsh harrier, black-breasted snake eagle and peregrine falcon, add to the variety of birdlife.

Lake Malawi - Malawi's Jewel

The vast freshwater Lake Malawi is one of the most scenic Lakes in the world, idyllically located between high mountains in a warm climate. The lake is famous for its warm crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, and the endemic cichlid fish. The crystal clear waters of Lake Malawi stretch over 500km along eastern Malawi forming most of the border between Malawi and the rugged coast of Mozambique and Tanzania. The lake, also known as Lake Nyasa, lies in the Great Rift Valley running through Malawi. Its fish-rich waters serve as a major food source for Malawians, including fish chambo and the Kampango, a large catfish.  Lake Malawi is an excellent destination for freshwater snorkelling and diving, as well as water sports like waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, and swimming. boasts a variety of brightly coloured fish in its tropical waters, making it an excellent destination for snorkelling and scuba diving. The lake also boasts sandy white beaches fringed with palm trees, ideal for lazing on. 

Lake Malawi National Park located on the southern end of the lake is a World Heritage Site, considered of great importance in the study of evolution. Other wildlife found at Lake Malawi includes monitor lizards, hippopotamus, baboons, antelopes, hyrax, crocodiles and a sizeable population of African fish eagles.

Liwonde National Park - Wildlife & Scenic Delight

Liwonde National Park is considered Malawi’s top game reserve offering the best game viewing in the country, as well as some of the most beautiful scenery. Liwonde is located in the south of Malawi along the Upper Shire River and is said to be the longest-established park in the country. Liwonde Park is home to one of the largest elephant populations in Malawi with these gentle mammals frequently being sighted at the river’s edge, along with hippopotamuses, zebras, antelopes and crocodiles.

The park is home to high concentrations of sable antelope, kudu, duiker and oribi, and warthogs. Waterbuck, reedbuck, antelope and if you’re lucky even lions and leopards can also be spotted in Liwonde. The park runs a rhino-breeding program having reintroduced two black rhinos into the wild. Liwonde is also rich in birdlife with species including the African Fish Eagle, jacana, white-bellied cormorant, Palm-nut vultures, Western Banded Eagles, Brown Snake Eagles as well as a number of weavers and bishops. The uncommon Lilian's lovebird is also found in Liwonde along with Carmine and Boehm's Bee-eaters. Liwonde Park offers visitors excellent accommodation options, night game drives and game-viewing boat trips.

Malawi Safaris - from Sailing in Style to Camping Overland

There are a wide variety of Malawi safaris to choose from including overland camping, lodge, and fly-in safaris. Malawi is an ideal beach and wildlife getaway destination that combines well with Zambia’s Luangwa National Park.

On Lake Malawi safaris your days are typically spent relaxing on the sandy beaches along the lakeshore, swimming in the warm waters or participating in the variety of water sports on offer. You get to enjoy fresh fish caught by the local fisherman using traditional fishing techniques and you can try paddling a dugout canoe if you’re up for the challenge. On dry land you can learn to play the local game of bao or hunt for bargains at the local markets, as well as go horse riding or visiting a local school and village.

African Budget Safaris combine Zambia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia with a visit to Malawi, in various itineraries encompassing the best beach and wildlife highlights in southern Africa. Highlights include Victoria Falls, Zanzibar’s Stone Town, Luangwa Park in Zambia, Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, South Africa’s Kruger Park and Chobe in Botswana, to name a few.

Find out more with our Malawi safari travel guide page.

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Malawi Safaris

Malawi safaris and tours.

They call Malawi the “Warm Heart of Africa”. Not only are the people of Malawi incredibly warm-hearted and friendly, the country is blissfully peaceful and tranquil. It’s one of the safest countries to visit in Africa and one of the most magical.

It’s a relatively small landlocked country in southeastern Africa which occupies a narrow, curved strip of land along the East African Rift Valley. It’s bordered by Tanzania to the North, Lake Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the east and south and Zambia to the west. It’s the perfect safari destination. Book your Malawi Tour and Safari direct with MoAfrika Tours.

Lake Malawi is no doubt the first place you think about when planning a holiday to Malawi. It’s covers one-fifth of the country’s total land area and is the jewel of the country. Covering an area of almost 30 000 square kilometres and reaching depts of 300 metres, Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa and one of the deepest in the world.

Most people on holiday in Malawi are drawn to the country for its outstanding outdoor adventure destinations and its beautiful wilderness areas. Malawi isn’t a popular safari destination mainly because the wildlife in the national parks have almost been decimated by rampant poaching but this is due to change with dedicated conservation projects bearing fruit and animal numbers increasing.

It may be a landlocked country but Malawi offers visitors the perfect “beach and bush” holiday. From lying on pristine white beaches on the islands of Lake Malawi to boating, snorkeling and windsurfing in the crystal clear waters to outstanding bush walks, biking or horse-riding in the country’s wonderful nature reserves; Malawi has something to offer everyone. What makes Malawi special is it’s a breathtaking-beautiful part of Africa that is untamed and unspoilt by commercial development and tourism. You can have a blissful holiday in Malawi without the safari and beach crowds and highly affordable if you have US Dollars or Euros to spend.

FAST FACTS ABOUT MALAWI

Malawi once formed part of the Maravi Empire which was an African kingdom founded in the late 15th century. The Maravis became known as the Chewa which is an ethnic group most Malawians belong to today.

Scottish missionaries arrived in the region in the 19th century, including the legendary Dr David Livingstone. He was one of the first Europeans to make the grueling journey across Africa; arriving in Malawi in 1859.

Malawi was a British protectorate for over 75 years. The British assumed control of Malawi in late 1880s and the country’s name was changed to Nyasaland in 1907. Nyasaland means ‘land of the lake’. Malawi became a self-governed country in 1964 and an official republic in 1966.

Malawi lies in Africa’s Great Rift Valley which is a continuous geographic trench that stretches approximately 6 000 kilometres in length. The Great Rift Valley runs from Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley in Asia to Mozambique in southeastern Africa.

Mount Mulanje in Malawi towers some 3 000 metres above ground level and is the highest mountain in Central Africa. In the southern region of Malawi, the Zomba Plateau rises to a height of 2 000 meters; in the north, Nyika National Park rises to a height of 2 500 metres making it the highest plateau in Central Africa. Malawi is not a wealthy country. It is burdened with grinding poverty and much of its population suffers from chronic malnutrition and high rates of infant mortality. Most of Malawi’s population are subsistence farmers producing cash crops that are sold at local markets.

The massive commercially-operated agricultural estates in Malawi employ at least four-fifths of the working population and account for about one-third of the country’s GDP and the vast majority of Malawi’s export earnings. The main export crop is tobacco followed by tea, sugar and cotton. Malawi is the leading producer of burley leaf tobacco in the world. This is a low grade, high nicotine tobacco and a chief export of Malawi.

Tobacco and tea are the chief exports of Malawi. Malawi also has the highest production of burley leaf tobacco, a low grade, high nicotine tobacco. Malawi is one of the most densely populated countries in southern Africa but it’s also one of the least urbanized. More than 80% of the population live in rural settlements. However, urbanisation in Malawi is picking up the pace which is far faster than both the African and global averages.

Lake Malawi is roughly the size of Belgium; running 563 kilometres in length from the northern to southern tip. It’s the 9th largest lake in the world, the 3rd largest and the 2nd deepest. It is only eclipsed in depth by Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. It is home to 700 recorded species of cichlid which are tiny, colourful fish that live in the shallow waters.

David Livingstone described Lake Malawi as the “Lake of Stars”. He was referring to the thousands of twinkling lights of the fishing boats which drift across the lake at night. Malawi is divided into 4 distinct regions: the East African (or Great) Rift Valley, the central plateaus, the highlands and the isolated mountains. The East African Rift Valley is a massive trench depression which runs through Malawi from north to south and contains Lake Malawi and the Shire River valley.

The precise route of the border with Tanzania is a source of ongoing controversy. After 127 years, Malawi and Tanzania are still at odds at to who to who owns what and where. The confusion came about because of a bureaucratic bungle that was made when the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty of 1890 was drafted between Britain and Germany when Africa was calved up by colonial powers. The dispute revolves around whether the border runs firmly up the middle of Lake Malawi or ebbs along the edge.

Lake Malawi spans some 29 525 square kilometres of which 24 408 falls within Malawi. The lake is also known as Lake Nyasa which is a name that stems from the days with the country was called Nyasaland.

Lake Malawi has more recorded fish species than any other lake in the world. The Zomba Plateau is home to the white-winged apalis which is a highly endangered bird found in isolated regions in Africa. There are fewer than 100 breeding pairs left in the wild. Good numbers of this precious species are found in the Jacaranda trees in an area on the outskirts of Zomba.

Malawi is the only country in the world outside of Denmark that has a Carlsberg factory.

The name Malawi is derived from the old name given by the Maravi for the Nyanja people that inhabited the region. The traditional dress worn by women in Malawi is called Chitenje. It’s a rectangular piece of fabric which comes in a variety of patterns, colors and designs. It’s tied the same way you tie a sarong and it’s also used as a baby sling or as a pot holder.

Portuguese explorers introduced maize (corn) to the region. Today, maize is the staple grain of Malawi. Malawi travel is safe if you make safety a priority. Stick to the beaten tourist path and stay in reputable Malawi hotels and Malawi safari lodges at the main tourist destinations in the country.

BRIEF HISTORY OF MALAWI

The original people living in what is now Malawi were simple hunter-gatherers from the Stone Age. When the Bantu people arrived in the 4th century, they introduced iron tools and weapons as well as farming technique. By the 15th century, the people who lived south of Lake Nyasa had begun building an empire called the Maravi. By the 18th century, the Maravi Empire included parts of what is now Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Thereafter, the Maravi Empire broke down.

The Portuguese explorers had arrived in the region by the 16th century. They came in search of slaves and ivory which were sold to them by the Maravi in exchange for maize (corn). Towards the end of the 18th century and the early 19th century, people from northern Mozambique called the Yao would frequently raid Malawi and take captives which were sold to the Arabs as slaves. In the 1840s, a fierce tribe called the Ngoni invaded the area and frequently fought the Yao.

The British-Malawi era commenced in the late 1880s shortly after Presbyterian missionaries and British merchants followed David Livingstone out to Africa. In 1883, Britain sent a consul to the region and thereafter the British gradually took control of Malawi.

Most of Malawi was formed into the British Central African Protectorate by 1891 and the Shire Highlands Protectorate was formed in 1889. The British ended the slave trade and created and ran successful coffee plantations in its place.

Malawi was renamed Nyasaland in 1907 and the country was given a legislative council. When World War 1 started, the German infantry from Tanzania invaded Nyasaland but they were repelled. A man named John Chilembwe led a rebellion in early 1915 in a fight for independence but that too was crushed by the British forces.

Finally, in 1944 the Nyasaland African Congress was established and by 1949, native Malawians were allowed to sit on the legislative council for the first time. In 1953, the British joined Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi) into a single entity which they called the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The African Congress was renamed the Malawi Congress Party in 1959 under the leadership of Dr Hasting Banda. There was a period of unrest and protests and a state of emergency was declared during which Banda was imprisoned for a short time.

The British realised they were losing their grip on the country and independence was inevitable. In 1961, the Malawian Congress Party won elections to the legislative council and in 1962, Britain agreed to make Malawi independent. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved in 1963.

Malawi became independent in July 1964 and Dr Banda was named Prime Minister of Malawi. In 1966, Malawi was made a republic and Dr Banda became President. The British Queen was no longer head of state.

Zomba was the capital of Malawi under British rule but by 1975, Lilongwe had become the capital of the Republic of Malawi. Banda ruled as a dictator and in 1971 made himself president of Malawi for life. All dissent was ruthlessly crushed, letters and telephone calls were censored as were films and magazine. Banda became extremely rich while most of his people were poor and living in dire poverty.

Violent protests erupted in Malawi in the early 1990s at the same time the country suffered a severe drought. Some western countries suspended aid and the Malawi churches decried the situation. Banda was finally forced to hold a referendum in 1993 and the great majority voted for democratic rule. Free and fair elections were held in May 1993 and Baliki Muluzi became the new president of the Republic of Malawi. Elections held in 2004 saw Bingu wa Mutharika elected as President of Malawi and in 2012 Joyce Banda became the first woman President of Malawi. The current president is Peter Mutharika who is Bingu’s brother.

MALAWI ECONOMY

Malawi is still ranked in the top 5 poorest countries in the world but it has seen some economic growth in recent years. It’s a developing country and there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of Malawi. South Africa is Malawi’s most significant trading partner. Other trading partners include China, the United States, India and neighbouring African countries.

At least 40% of Malawi’s foreign exchange earnings come from the export of tobacco. Malawi is in fact the leading producer of burley leaf tobacco which is a low grade, high nicotine variety. The other major export products are raw sugar, tea and cotton.

Tobacco is mostly grown on the central plateau on large agricultural estates and by a few smaller farming enterprises in the region. Tobacco farmers have been urged to diversify due to the fact that a worldwide campaign against smoking is likely to increase global demand for tobacco. Tea and coffee is grown on expansive plantations on the Shire Highlands, in northern Malawi and in the northeastern Viphya Mountains.

Cash crops typically grown on a commercial or subsistence basis include maize (corn), beans, peas, peanuts, cassava, bananas, pulses, sweet potatoes and rice. Livestock farming in Malawi includes chickens, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. Apart from the massive agricultural estates, most farms in Malawi are small with little more than 1 hectare per farmer.

Fishing is practices by local fisherman as well as commercial fisheries. Lake Malawi is a rich source of fish and its within easy access to the majority of the country’s population who tend to live close to the lake. However, overfishing in Malawi is a problem and the people of Malawi face a dire shortage of fish for the pot and to sell in the future.

Malawi doesn’t have extensive mineral deposits. Small-scale mining of coal occurs in the north and you’ll find quarries for the extraction of limestone for the production of cement.

THE PEOPLE OF MALAWI

There are approximately 17.8 million people living permanently in Malawi. The population is grouped in to 10 major ethnic groups which includes the Chewa, Nyanja, Lomwe, Yao, Tumbuka, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, and the Lambya/Nyiha.

The warm-hearted and welcoming disposition of the people of Malawi is the main reason the country is regarded as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. Most inhabitants of the beautiful country live in abject poverty, are not widely educated and have limited resources to better their lives and those of their family. Somehow, the people of Malawi remain upbeat and gracious for the freedom and liberty they do have.

Between 1968 and 1994, Chewa was the national language of the country. It is now one of numerous languages used in print and broadcast media. Children in Grades 1-4 are taught in their mother tongue and from Grade 5 they are taught in English.

Three out of four people in Malawi are Christians. The remainder are Roman Catholic or Muslims. The people of Malawi have freedom of religion and as a whole the freedom of speech and equality. Malawi beach holidays and a Malawi safari are the main attractions but if you get a chance to meet the people of Malawi on cultural village tour; you’ll find the experience fascinating and be richly blessed by their warmth and friendliness.

IS MALAWI SAFE TO VISIT?

Yes, One of the first questions people ask when planning a Malawi holiday is whether the country is safe. The good news is Malawi is one of the safest countries in Africa to visit and travel around. The crime rate in Malawi is extremely low and the people are friendly and welcoming.

In 2014, Lonely Planet ranked Malawi as the 5th best country to visit not just in Africa but in the whole world. Lake Malawi is the most popular tourist destination in Malawi followed by Mulanje Mountain, Nyika National Park, Kugoni Cultural Centre and a selection of national parks and wildlife reserves.

As can be expected, petty crime does occur in the major towns and cities in Malawi. This ranges from pickpocketing to bag snatching, mugging and theft out of hotel rooms. International tourists are often targeted by crime syndicates in common tourist scams such as card cloning or skimming. Be vigilante with your banking cards and take the usual precautions to keep your personal details and PIN codes private.

Make safety in Malawi a priority and use common sense; as you would travelling to any country in Africa. Pay attention to safety tips and before leaving for your holiday in Malawi, do some research to find out more about areas that are safe to visit or not and typically what crime affects tourists in the country.

The people of Malawi have strong spiritual beliefs and visitors are restricted from going to certain places such as the Mulanje Mountain. The locals believe it is home to spirits and unwanted visits by foreigners are not encouraged.

MALAWI TOURISM

Malawi is a beautiful country and worth a visit if you love outdoor adventures, wildlife and beautiful natural surrounds. It’s a land of lakes and expansive plateaus which are defined by the great grooves crated by the East African Ridge.

It’s a long, narrow country which lies on the borders of Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. For its size, it’s jam-packed with outstanding natural resources and home to a nation of warm-hearted and friendly people.

Malawi tourism revolves around Lake Malawi and its outdoor adventure activities and gorgeous accommodation in spectacular settings. From snorkeling and sunbathing to yachting and fishing, a holiday at Lake Malawi is fun for the whole family.

It’s the perfect “beach and bush” destinations even though Malawi is a landlocked country. On your travels around Malawi, you’ll experience the powder-white beaches on the shoreline of Lake Malawi and its many delightful islands as well as the wild beauty of its national parks and wilderness reserves.

Malawi is home to the Big 5, an abundance of other wildlife and over 700 recorded bird species as well as over 700 recorded species of fish. Grab a Malawi map and you’ll see that the country is dominated by the great Lake Malawi and a couple of majestic plateaus that are home to a rich variety of fauna and flora.

If you look at a Malawi map, you’ll see the narrow, elongated country is divided into the northern, central and southern regions:

  • Northern region The northern region is the least populated part of Malawi and Mzuzu serves as its regional capital. Although sparsely populated, the northern region is renowned for its natural treasures which includes the Nyika National Park and Makuzi Beach.
  • Central region There are 5 national parks in the central region of Malawi including Lake Malawi National Park, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Ntchisi Forest Reserve. You’ll find the busy capital city of Lilongwe in the central region.
  • Southern region The southern region of Malawi is the most populated area and home to the cities of Blantyre and Zomba which serve as the administrative centres of the country. You’ll also find Mount Mulanje in the southern region which is the highest point in Malawi.

THINGS TO DO IN MALAWI

There is so much more to Malawi than its famous Lake Malawi or as some people still call it, Lake Nyasa. The country is not popular as a safari destination at the moment but this is changing as dedicated conservation programmes seek to restore the numbers of animals in the national parks.

If you’re a sun babe, watersport addict or just wanting to escape the busy tourist crowds in the rest of Africa, Malawi is the ideal holiday destination for a ‘surf & turf’ holiday for the whole family where peace and tranquility are guaranteed.

MALAWI’S FAMOUS FESTIVALS

Lake of Stars Festival Lake of Stars Festival is an annual three-day international festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa. The first festival took place in 2004 and attracts over 4,000 attendees with musical acts drawn mainly from Africa and Europe. Will Jameson set up the Lake of Stars Project in 2003 to encourage international tourism to Malawi, taking inspiration from events like WOMAD and Glastonbury. The project uses cultural tourism to generate revenue and exposure for Malawi. The project was born from a desire to help promote Malawi as a tourist destination, support the country’s cultural sector and expose Malawian artists to an international audience.

Sunbird Sand Music Festival The Sunbird Sand Music Festival is Malawi’s hallmark event that attracts locals, musicians and tourists from around the world each year to celebrate Malawi’s rich cultural heritage. The first Sand Music Festival was held in 2009 and has grown in popularity to become the largest musical festival of its kind in Malawi hosting crowds of over 6 000 people and attracting some 100 exhibitors. The international festival features music, dance, poetry, comedy, disruptive entertainment, sports and drama. It also features an exhibition of arts and crafts and other local products, a tourism expo, an outdoor area for food and drink vendors selling traditional as well as branded fare, a youth zone and a business expo for the corporate, SMME and government sectors. In 2018, the international music event took place at the Sunbird Livingstonia Beach in October. It featured local artists and headliner artists from countries like Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Likoma Summer Festival (Li-Fest) The Likoma Summer Festival is an annual event held over the Easter period on the magnificent Likoma Island. Dubbed the Li-Fest, it’s held over the long weekend and is aimed at promoting tourism to the Island District while at the same time providing a platform for local artists to showcase their talents. Revelers are treated to a ship cruise music party which takes them around Chizumulu Island. The rest of the time is spent rocking to the sounds of live music performances, watching traditional dance groups, playing beach games and racing canoes or sightseeing on the beautiful Likoma Island. International artists attracted to the annual summer music festival come from as far afield as South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

BEACH HOLIDAY IN MALAWI

It’s unusual to talk about a beach holiday in Malawi because it’s a landlocked country but that’s exactly what Malawi is known for; idyllic holidays on white-washed beaches. The lake water is calm, clear and warm and there are obviously no strong currents like you’d find in the sea. This makes Lake Malawi paradise for families with young children and outdoor and watersport enthusiasts. Watersport activities at Lake Malawi range from snorkeling and scuba diving to boat cruises, sailing, water skiing, kayaking, canoeing and windsurfing. On the beach, Malawi holidaymakers enjoy playing football on the beach, fishing, horse riding and hiking.

What makes Lake Malawi special is it isn’t overly commercialised by mass tourism. The islands are untamed and unspoilt by development and you’ll find quaint fishing lodges and intimate beach lodges rather than unsightly tourist resorts.

Lake Malawi is like a giant fish tank at an aquarium. The water is crystal clear and filled with brightly-coloured fish species. There are over 500 recorded species of indigenous tropical fish in the lake which you can see snorkeling or scuba diving.

Visibility can reach up to 30 metres in the months of August to December which is the best time to visit Lake Malawi for snorkeling and diving. You can do a simple resort diving course with a professional PADI or NAUI instructor which is offered by the large beach resorts in Lake Malawi.

A gorgeous sunset boat cruise is one of the best things to do on Lake Malawi. The boat trip takes you to a few of the smaller islands located off the shoreline. Kayaking, canoeing and sailing yachts is also extremely popular and a wonderful way to explore the palm-fringed shoreline of Lake Malawi. Some lodges offer waterskiing. Winds are rarely very high and the conditions for waterskiing on Lake Malawi are usually perfect. Sailboarding is also popular although there’s often no more than a light breeze to get you going.

The best beaches and bays to visit in Lake Malawi are:

  • Senga Bay: close to Lilongwe Island; the beaches are great but the lake can get a bit rough at certain times of the year
  • Mangochi Bay : close to Blantyre and easy to get to; several bigger beach lodges are found at Mangochi Beach, the beaches are perfect and the lake is generally very calm
  • Cape Maclear Bay: a haven for backpackers with simple accommodation; calm waters perfect for snorkeling and diving around the rocks of Otters Point and off Mumbo Island
  • Chintheche Beach: one of the best beaches in Lake Malawi; renowned for its fine sandy beaches and lush tropical surroundings; it’s a popular weekend retreat for both locals and tourists with a wide range of accommodation available
  • Kande Beach: located south of Chintheche Beach, it’s a beautiful stretch of lakeshore which is popular for holidaymakers and water sport enthusiasts
  • Monkey Bay: a tourist hub for transport and provisions; you need to walk quite far to get to a good beach
  • Nkudzi Bay: perfect for a Malawi beach holiday
  • Namaso Bay: perfect for a Malawi beach holiday

What is the best time to visit Lake Malawi?

The best time to travel to Lake Malawi is in the dry season from April to November. October is the best month because the waters are calm and clear and the weather is warm and balmy. Malawi Lake can get quite windy in August and September and the waters are not always calm or as clear for snorkeling, diving and yachting. Winter in Lake Malawi is June/July. This is a windy period and temperatures in the evening drop.

Is it safe to swim in Lake Malawi?

Lake Malawi is safe to swim in but you need to follow the rules:

  • only swim in an area designated for watersports and recreational activities
  • don’t swim in an unknow area before checking with the locals that it’s safe
  • don’t swim between sunset and sunrise
  • don’t swim in a river mouth
  • don’t swim among reeds
  • Lake Malawi was one of very few great lakes in Africa that did not have bilharzia but in recent years, a number of cases have been recorded among locals and visiting tourists. Bilharzia is an illness caused by a waterborne worm and it can cause serious health problems. Fortunately, bilharzia can be treated with tablets but the risk is you might not realise you’ve got it until it’s too late.

MALAWI SAFARIS AND TOURS

A Malawi safari is not the first thing you think of when you’re dreaming of a holiday to this wonderful country. This is because animal numbers in the national parks of Malawi are significantly lower than other popular national parks in Africa because they’ve been ruthlessly targeted by poaches and hunters.

This is changing with NGO’s such as African Parks addressing the wildlife conservation crisis in the country. The conservation and wildlife management group is the driving force behind the rescue and rehabilitation of failing game reserves in Malawi. This includes Majete Wildlife Reserve, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park. Liwonde National Park is about to see its fortunes turned around with the return of big cats which forms part of an ongoing rehabilitation programme initiated by African Parks. This includes fencing the entire 129-kilometre perimeter, restocking the park with local species that were declared extinct in the region and relocating elephants which are surplus in other national parks around southern Africa.

Hundreds of elephants have already been relocated to Liwonde National Park as part of a massive animal relocation project. It’s expected that numbers of lions, leopards and cheetah will return to good levels as well as black and white rhino.

African Parks is a non-profit organisation based in South Africa that has the support of the Dutch government and industries. The group has already transformed Majete Reserve in Malawi and the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. The objective is to establish Malawi as the next big safari destination in Africa.

SAILING IN MALAWI

Sailing or yachting as some call it on Lake Malawi is legendary. The conditions are perfect for a day’s sailing on the magical waters or you could opt to book a 3-4 night sail boat cruise which takes you to the hidden coves and islands of Malawi. If you have enough time, you can sail all the way from Liwonde Island to Kaya Mawa which is one of the most popular island resorts in Lake Malawi.

Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon

Lake Malawi is famous for its annual Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon which is an epic long-haul race and fundraiser. The sailing marathon falls in the season of the Mwera which provides strong south-easterly winds which often blow up without warning and provide excellent sailing conditions even for the more experienced and skilled sailors.

The event was started in 1984 by a group of avid sailors and today is an internationally-recognised competition. The competitors and their supporters stay in different beach resorts situated up the west coast of Lake Malawi.

BIRDING IN MALAWI

Malawi is a birdwatcher’s paradise mainly because of the vast variety of habitats which range from wetlands to lakes, forest and Afro-montane highlands. There is are 650 recorded bird species in Malawi, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

Special bird sightings include Lilian’s lovebird, brown-breasted barbet, white-backed night heron, rufous-bellied heron, long-toed lapwing, bat hawk, Dickinson’s kestrel, Pel’s fishing owl, palmnut vulture, osprey, Livingstone’s flycatcher, fiery-necked and Gabon nightjars, and calling African barred owlets.

FISHING IN MALAWI

Fish is the staple diet of many lakeside residents and the fishing industry is one of the most important agricultural outputs of Lake Malawi. For people on holiday in Malawi, fishing at the lake and the many streams and rivers is a popular attraction.

Fishing in Malawi is especially popular on the southern lakeshore north of Mangochi and at Senga Bay. A number of fishing tournaments are held each year in these popular fishing spots in Malawi and catches include the delicious Sungwa.

There are 700 recorded fish species in Lake Malawi and the majority of them are cichlids. You’ll also find perch, yellowfish, lake salmon and a smaller version of lake salmon, tiger fish and catfish. The Bua River runs through the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and is excellent for salmon. Other hot spots for salmon include the Luweya, Lufira and North Rukuru rivers. The ferocious tiger fish is abundant in the Lower Shire river, particularly below the Kapichira Falls on the southern boundary of the Majete Wildlife Reserve. Further down, you’ll find good numbers of catfish and barbel.

The streams and dams of Zomba Plateau, Mount Mulanje and Nyika Plateau are well stocked with rainbow trout. Only fly fishing is permitted in these regions, using flies tied on single hooks. The fly fishing season in Malawi is between September and April. As a rule, the best time of year to visit Malawi for a fishing trip is between September and April.

HIKING IN MALAWI

Malawi is popular as a hiking destination and you’ll find hordes of hikers making their way to places like the Zomba Plateau, Mount Mulanje and Nyika Plateau for breathtakingly-scenic hiking trails. The number of magical hiking trails in Malawi is vast.

The Zomba Plateau reaches a height of some 1 800 metres and offers hikers a combination of relaxed or more strenuous hikes through lush forested areas. Birdwatching usually goes hand-in-hand with hiking in the spectacular mountain surrounds.

Mount Mulanje is a massive granite massif located in southern Malawi which offers hikers a combination of easy and more difficult hikes. It’s perfect for families with younger children because there are a number of walks in the nature reserve that can be enjoyed over a couple of hours. Nyika Plateau is renowned for its magnificent high rolling hills and open savanna grasslands strewn with natural orchids and dotted with wild game such as zebra and antelope.

Did you know?

Malawi is the home to Central Africa’s largest mountain. Mulanje Mountain is found in the southern region of Malawi; rising from Chiradzulo district and the tea growing areas in Mulanje district. It’s an ideal destination for hiking and rock climbing in Malawi. Mulanje Mountain is actually referred to as the Mulanje Massif. A massif is a block of rock on the earth’s crust bounded by faults and shifted to form peaks of a mountain range.

HORSE RIDING IN MALAWI

Horse riding in Malawi is extremely popular because the horses can take you to magical places in the montane forests that you can’t get to by car. People who arrive on holiday in Malawi and want to horse ride have the option of two trail-riding tourist operations. This is Kande Horse at Chintheche and The Plateau Stables on Zomba Plateau.

The Plateau Stables are the only trail-riding operation in the South and Central regions of Malawi. The city of Zomba is just over an hour’s drive on a new road from Blantyre and the stables are based near the top of the Zomba mountain range at an altitude of 1 500 metres. Trail rides take you on an assortment of routes and usually include steep hills and dales where you can drop up to 2 100 metres. The views are spectacular and forest surrounds are magical.

TEA TASTING IN MALAWI

The Shire Highlands around Mulanje Mountain is the heart of Malawi’s famous tea growing region. Both Mulanje and Thyolo have massive tea and coffee plantations which are renowned for their beautifully restored colonial estate houses. Guests visiting the tea estates are treated to old-style services and delicious home cooking. The views from the tea estates are magnificent. Estates like Satemwa, Lauderdale and Esperanza offer free tasting trips for tourists. For the full British tea-tasting experience, you can book yourself into the 1874 Huntingdon House located in the middle of Satemwa Tea Estate. It’s a unique experience with all the historical charm of a bygone era.

Built in 1937, the Satemwa Factory is known around the tea world as a producer of fine quality tea. It is now the last remaining tea farm of the original founding tea estates in Malawi which led to the creation of Malawi’s historic tea-growing industry.

When you dream of a holiday to Malawi you conjure up images of pristine lakes and idyllic beaches, verdant mountain plateaus and sprawling tobacco, coffee and tea plantations. Interest in Malawi as a tourist destination ebbs and flows and the magical country is yet to strike it hot on the safari circuit. The tourist industry in Malawi has grown considerably since the mid-1970s and the government of Malawi is aware of its considerable potential.

The main attractions for a wonderful holiday in Malawi include beach resorts situated on the shoreline of Lake Malawi, mountainous retreats in the Zomba Plateau and Mulanje Mountain and unspoilt national parks such as Nyika National Park, Kasungu National Park and Liwonde National Park.

Discover for yourself why the call Malawi the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. It’s warm-hearted, friendly people and incredible natural resources make it a magical holiday destination in Africa.

LAKE MALAWI

Lake Malawi is one of Africa’s Great Lakes. It’s an impressive and breathtakingly-beautiful lake situated on Malawi’s northeastern boundary with Tanzania to the north and Mozambique to the south of the great lake.

It’s estimated that Lake Malawi is about 3 million years old which is outstanding as the lifespan of an ordinary lake is about 10 000 years depending on how shallow it is and the type of soil is rests on. Formerly known as Lake Nyasa, the great lake is the southernmost and third largest lake in the Eastern Rift Valley. It lies in a deep trough and stretches 600 kilometres long and is up to 80 kilometres wide in places.

Portuguese explorer, Caspar Boccaro, was the first European to record its existence. Dr David Livingstone, a famous British explorer and missionary, reached Lake Malawi from the south in 1859 on an expedition to find the source of the Nile.

What makes Lake Malawi so special is its enormous variety of fish species. There are close to 1 000 recorded fish species in the lake of which at least 90% belong to the family called ‘Cichlid”. It is thought that at least 500 different cichlid species date back some 2 million years. On holiday at Lake Malawi, you might think you’ve been stranded on a magical tropical island. The palm-fringed sandy white beaches rival the likes of those found in Mauritius and the Seychelles. The lake water is crystal-clear and the lakeside surrounds are lush tropical rainforests.

It’s a popular tourist destination in Malawi for outdoor and watersport enthusiasts. The most popular activities include leisurely boat cruises, kayaking and sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving and of course, relaxing, sunbathing and swimming. Lake Malawi provides the people of Malawi with a valuable source of income. It’s estimated that fish constitutes up to 70% of the protein diet for Malawians and Lake Malawi is well-stocked with chambo and kapenta. These two fish species are the mainstream of the fishing industry.

The best time to visit Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi enjoys a sub-tropical climate and is a year-round destination although it’s best to visit the great lake in the drier winter months between early May to late October. The hot summer season in Malawi is from November to April but this is also the rainy season. If you’re wanting a splendid beach holiday in Malawi at Lake Malawi, you don’t want it ruined by torrential rain.

Winter in Malawi is between end May to early August and is generally mild and pleasant, getting cooler in the evenings the higher up the mountain plateaus you go. On the shoreline of Lake Malawi, winter days are warm, dry and sunny.

The best time to visit Malawi for a safari is in the dry winter months when the vegetation has thinned out and the animals congregate at rivers and the edges of lakes. Avoid go on holiday to Malawi in the mid-summer months of January and February. The temperatures gets unbearably hot and humid and the risk of contracting malaria is higher. Some of the roads in the national park become impassable after a heavy downpour.

Fast facts about Lake Malawi

  • Lake Malawi’s middle line and its northern and eastern shores form much of Malawi’s boundary with Tanzania and Mozambique
  • The freshwater lake is the third largest freshwater lake in Africa and the 8th largest in the world. It is also ranked the 2nd deepest lake in Africa.
  • The surface of the lake covers an area of 472 metres and the depth reaches 705 metres towards the northern end. It covers about a third of the land surface of Malawi.
  • About a quarter of Lake Malawi falls within Mozambique including the waters around Likoma Island and Chizumulu Island. The islands themselves belong to Malawi.
  • Lake Malawi is called Lake Nyassa by countries such as Tanzania. The name of Lake Malawi has been under dispute for many years.
  • A fresh southeasterly wind (the mwera) prevails from May to August which causes short gales and restless waters.
  • Dr David Livingstone nicknamed Lake Malawi “The Lake of Stars”. He was referring to the glittering lights of the distant lanterns of the fishing boats on the lake that looked like stars from far away.
  • Passenger and cargo vessels are operated by the Malawi Railways company. Monkey Bay, Nkhotakota, Nkhata Bay, Likoma Island, Chilumba and Karonga are the main lakeside ports in Lake Malawi.
  • Likoma Island is situated halfway up the lake shoreline and is an important cultural heritage site. It was a mission headquarters and an imposing Anglican cathedral was built on the island in the early 1900s.
  • Lake Malawi is fed by 14 perennial rivers. The Ruhuhu River is the largest river flowing into Lake Malawi from southern Tanzania and the Shire River is its largest outlet; flowing from the southern shores into the mighty Zambezi River in Mozambique.
  • Hundreds of species of fish have been recorded in the lake, many of which are endemic due to the fact that they were cut off from the Zambezi River by the Murchison Falls.
  • Increased environmental degradation has had adverse effects on wildlife in the lake. Excessive silting disrupts fish feeding and breeding grounds and has reduced their numbers.
  • Overfishing as well as the use of nets with a mesh size smaller than those recommended by fisheries experts and a general disregard for the ban on fishing in the breeding season has had a severely detrimental effect on fish populations in Lake Malawi.

LAKE MALAWI NATIONAL PARK

Lake Malawi National Park is a freshwater national park in Malawi that was created purely to protect the fish and aquatic habitat in Lake Malawi. It’s made up of all the idyllic bays, lakeshores, sandy beaches, headlands and granite islands of the Cape Maclear peninsular at the southern end of the lake. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 due to its global importance for biodiversity conservation, in particular fish diversity. Lake Malawi National Park is also renowned for its outstanding beauty, lush lakeshore vegetation and crystal-clear waters.

Lake Malawi was formed several million years and the water level has fluctuated greatly of the millennia. This has created different habitats for the cichlids which are known locally as ‘mbuna’. There are 700 recorded species of fish in Lake Malawi of which 90% are cichlids.

Nearly all of the cichlids are endemic to Lake Malawi and a few have minute ranges; only a bay or rocky islet for example or a few hundred meters of shoreline. Many are not even known to science and have not yet been formally named and described.

Lake Malawi National Park is also home to a wonderful variety of animals and birds. Common birds found on the lakeshores are the African fish eagle, white-breasted cormorants, kingfishers, hornbills, nightjars, kestrels and swallow-tailed bee-eaters.

The region is rich in history. It was discovered by Dr David Livingstone who named it Lake Nyassa. In 1875, the Scottish Presbyterian Church was built on Cape Maclear although a large baobab tree in the park is said to be Livingstone’s favourite place to give sermons and meet with other missionaries. The baobab is over 800 years old.

CAPE MACLEAR

Cape Maclear is one of the best holiday destinations on the southern shore of Lake Malawi. It’s hugely popular for its festive atmosphere and beach bars. A number of decent backpacker establishments attract the younger travelling set.

Most places in and around Cape Maclear form part of the Lake Malawi National Park which is the world’s first freshwater nature reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This includes the offshore islands located close to Cape Maclear.

Most of the places of interest around Cape Maclear – including its offshore islands – forms part of the Lake Malawi National Park, the world’s first freshwater nature reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site protecting hundreds of species of tropical fish.

CHIZUMULU ISLAND

Chizumulu Island is the smaller of the two inhabited islands in Lake Malawi. The other inhabited island is Likoma Island. Both islands belong to Malawi and make up the Likoma District. The fact Malawi owns both islands is due to them being colonised by the Anglican missionaries who spread east from Nyasaland. Mozambique was colonised at the time by the Portuguese. The British originally claimed the entire Lake Nyasa which is now Lake Malawi. However, in 1954, they signed an agreement with Portugal which recognised the centre of Lake Malawi acted as the boundary between Malawi which belonged at the time to the British and Mozambique which belonged at the time to Portugal. This made the islands of Chizumulu and Likoma enclaves of Malawi. Chizumulu Island is home to about 4 000 inhabitants made up mostly of fishermen and their families. The island can be reached by the MV Ilala steamer which makes weekly crossings to Chizumulu. There is virtually no infrastructure on the island and no farming industry so all food and general provisions are imported from the mainland.

A generator provides electricity on the island from 6am to 10pm with a two-hour break for lunch. There are no paved roads, rather well-constructed paths which run around the perimeter of the island. It’s takes approximately 3 hours to walk around the entire perimeter of Chizululu Island.

Two large hills dominate the interior of the island and cassava plantations most of the lower slopes of the hills. The upper parts are densely forested with scatterings of ancient baobab trees. Very few tourists stay at Chizumulu Island because it’s so remote and difficult to get to, although it’s only located 10 kilometres as the crow flies from Likoma Island. Some tourists pop across on sailing boats but more out of curiosity than because it offers much for a Malawi holiday.

LIKOMA ISLAND

Likoma Island is the larger of the two inhabited islands in Lake Malawi. The other inhabited island in Lake Malawi is Chizumulu Island. Both belong to Malawi and make up the Likoma District. Likoma Island lies halfway up the lake just a few kilometres from Mozambique and is surrounded by Mozambican territorial water.

The island spans some 18 square kilometres. It has a high population density of about 14 500 inhabitants made up mostly of fishermen and their families but despite this, the natural resources of the island are largely unspoilt. The interior of the island is covered in open grasslands with scatterings of large baobab trees and mango trees. The town of Mbamba is the main economic hub of the island and where you’ll find a busy street market and the famous Anglican cathedral, St Peter. It’s one of the largest churches built in Africa. Incredibly, the St Peter’s cathedral on Likoma Island is the same size as Winchester Cathedral in England.

There are no paved roads in Likoma Island and very few motor vehicles on the island. Electricity is provided by a massive generator which is turned off each evening at 10pm. There’s a small telephone network on the island and you get reliable internet connection with a 3G operator. Likoma Island can be reached by boat or plane. Nyassa Air Taxi offers scheduled flights in small aircrafts which fly between Lilongwe and Likoma as part of a regular shuttle service for tourists and the island inhabitants.

The islands main mode of transport is provided by the MV Ilala steamer boat which makes its way around Lake Malawi. It stops at all the main settlements on the coast and at the main islands. Fisherman tend to use smaller boats called dhows which they also use to transport goods and people.

There are a few decent backpacker establishments and beach resorts on Likoma Island which operate on a true eco-tourism basis. It’s a popular holiday destination for people wanting a fabulous beach holiday with snorkeling and diving. St Peter’s cathedral is one of the main tourist attractions on Likoma Island.

The best place to stay on Likoma Island is at Kaya Mawa Lodge. It’s a beautiful beach lodge which has 12 stone-and-thatch chalets perfectly positioned overlooking the crystal-clear lake waters. Each luxury chalet is uniquely designed and decorated; ranging from a spacious 2-bedroomed family chalet to a dreamy honeymoon suite on its own private island. Kaya Mawa Lodge is surrounded by mango trees and giant baobab trees. It’s the perfect holiday destination in Malawi for an island beach experience with loads of outdoor and watersport activities to keep everyone busy. The lodge also organises guided village and cathedral tours.

MANGOCHI LAKESHORE

The idyllic palm-fringed town of Mangochi Lakeshore is located south of Cape Maclear and is easily accessible from both Lilongwe and Blantyre. Even though it has the greatest concentration of hotels and lodges on Lake Malawi, the beaches are unspoilt and never overcrowded.

Mangochi Lakeshore is rich in history and you’ll find a number of historical monuments in the area which date back to the beginning of the 20th century. Previously called Fort Johnston, the town was established to limit slave traffic moving northwards towards Zanzibar.

The main historical attractions at Mangochi Lakeshore include a clock tower erected in memory of Queen Victoria and a Hotchkiss gun taken from the Gwendolen which was a gun boat that patrolled Lake Nyassa from 1889 to 1940. Next to the clocktower is a simple stone memorial that honours the 145 lives lost when the MV Viphya steamer sank in 1946. You’ll also find a museum in the town of Mangochi as well as an impressive Catholic cathedral.

Mangochi Lakeshore is popular for holidaymakers with an endless array of activities laid on by the hotels and beach lodges in the area. Each hotel in Mangochi Lakeshore has a private beach and visitors enjoy waterskiing, wake boarding, paragliding, beach volleyball. There’s even a 9-hole golf course on Mangochi Lakeshore. The best place to stay on Mangochi Lakeshore is Club Makokola which offers semi-luxury thatched chalets in a gorgeous tropical garden setting with its own spa and massive swimming pool.

MUMBO ISLAND

Mumbo Island is a private island situated a 30-minute boat transfer from Cape Maclear. The hotels and beach lodges on the island offer eco-friendly accommodation for the adventurous travellers who flock to the island to kayak, canoe and sail.

The isolated island is laid-back and unspoilt by commercial development. Sandy trails lead hikers through dappled forests to secret beach coves tucked between rocky granite outcrops on the magical shoreline. It’s home to giant monitor lizards and a large array of birds.

The best place to stay on Mumbo Island is the Mumbo Island Camp which is booked on an exclusive-use basis. The accommodation is eco-friendly and rustic with hot bucket showers and ‘eco loos’ but it’s wonderfully serene and the perfect escape from city life.

Mumbo Island Camp lies in an exclusive concession area which forms part of the Lake Malawi National Park. Activities on the island that Malawi holidaymakers can enjoy include the usual kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, bird watching and walking trails.

MAKUZI BEACH

Makuzi Beach is situated on a beautiful stretch of lakeshore on Lake Malawi and is one of the best-kept secrets in the area. You have access to a completely private campsite at Makuzi Beach Lodge which is the only place to stay. It can be hired on an exclusive-use basis so the island is virtually all yours while you’re staying there. Makuzi Beach lies on the northern shores of Lake Malawi in a secluded tropical bay which boasts an abundance of birdlife and an abundance of fish species. The lodge itself consists of a basic restaurant and the Mphandi Kucha Bar located next to the campsite and a collection of eco-friendly semi-luxury beachfront chalets. It’s popular for private events such as a tropical beach wedding or just for the perfect beach retreat with glorious days spent swimming, fishing, kayaking, horse-riding, snorkeling and scuba diving.

LIVINGSTONIA BEACH

Senga Bay is a beautiful bay located in the Lake Malawi National Park east of the town of Salima and less than a 2-hour drive from Lilongwe. It’s a busy tourist destination in Malawi with a range of hotels and beach resorts dotted along a broad stretch of sandy beach.

The grandest of them all is the luxurious Sunbird Livingstonia Beach and the newly-built Kumbali Lake Retreat. Sunbird Livingstonia Beach lies on a 1-kilometre long powder-white beach known as Grand Beach. The luxury hotel is a throwback from the British colonial era but has been tastefully re-furnished and modernised to international standards.

Kumbali Lake Retreat is a magical eco-friendly lodge built on the side of Lifuwu Hill on the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi. The rustic lake retreat offers guests panoramic views of the crystal-clear lake waters and loads of activities for Malawi holidaymakers such as sunset boat cruises, kayaking, snorkeling and guided hikes.

SHIRE RIVER

The Shire River is a principal river in Malawi and an important landmark in the Great Rift Valley. It flows through the Shire Highlands in southern Malawi; dropping 400 metres from Lake Malawi to the border of Mozambique at Malawi’s lowest point.

The beautiful river is 402 metres long and is the only outlet of Lake Malawi. It enters Lake Malombe south of Mangochi Lakeshore and exits to flow through swampy river banks flanked by the Mangochi Hills and the Zomba Plateau to the east and the Chripa Plateau to the west.

The flow of the Shire River was always dependent on the water level of Lake Malawi and the varying volume of the Ruo River. A dam was built at Liwonde which regulates the flow from Lake Malawi through the hydroelectric stations and provides flood control to the lower reaches. Ruo River is the largest tributary of the Shire River in southern Malawi and Mozambique. It originates from the Mulanje Massif in Malawi and forms 80 kilometres of the Malawi-Mozambique border. It joins the Shire River at Chiromo.

MULANJE MOUNTAIN

The Mulanje Massif is a massive monadnock in southern Malawi located about 65 kilometres east of the city of Blantyre. A monadnock is an isolated hill or small mountain which rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level grassland plain. In this case, the Mulanje Massif rises sharply from the surrounding plains of Phalombe and the tea-growing district of the Mulanje district. Also known as Mount Mulanje, the giant rock outcrop is hugely popular for hiking. The maximum elevation is just over 3 000 metres at Sapitwa Peak which is its highest point. Mount Mulanje consists mostly of rolling grasslands intersected by deep forested ravines. It has a number of individual peaks which are popular for hiking and rock climbing. This includes Chambe Peak and the West Face.

The striking mountain falls within the protected Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve. The area was declared a protected reserve to save the native Mulanje cypress tree which has been heavily logged for decades and is considered endangered. Only a few Mulanje cypress trees remain standing in the nature reserve. Mount Mulanje is also home to a selection of animal and plant species which are endemic to the area. This includes forest butterflies, birds such as the cholo alethe and white-winged apalis, the dwarf chameleon, geckos, skinks, the squeaker frog and the rare limbless burrowing skink.

Mount Mulanje was formed by the intrusion of magma into the Earth’s crust about 130 million years ago. The surrounding rock eroded away over time, leaving behind the erosion-resistant igneous rock of the Mulanje Massif. The first European to report seeing the Massif was David Livingstone in 1859 but there is evidence of early inhabitation on the giant massif dating back to the Stone Ages.

Accommodation for hikers and rock climbers visiting Mount Mulanje is a few mountain huts scattered across the giant massif which are maintained by the Malawi Mountain Club and the Malawi Forestry Department. Sapitwa Peak was first climbed in 1894 and is now the most popular peak on the mountain for hiking and rock climbing.

ZOMBA PLATEAU

Zomba Plateau is probably one of the better known destinations in Malawi mostly because it offers Malawi holidaymakers a vast array of activities ranging from walking and climbing trails to horse riding, mountain biking and trout fishing.

Located in southern Malawi, it’s an incredibly beautiful part of Malawi to visit and renowned for its magical woodlands, cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear mountain dams. It’s not as unspoilt as it used to be because it has suffered from fairly extensive deforestation in recent years but there are still some parts that have been left untouched. The magnificent Zomba Plateau rises 1 500 metres above the surrounding grasslands and offers visitors spectacular vistas. The city of Zomba lies at the foot of the plateau. It town was established at the end of the 19th century as the seat of the British Administration of Nyasaland. Today, Zomba is a comfortable 2-hour drive from Blantyre.

If you love nature, you’ll love the Zomba Plateau. It’s rich in fauna and flora including a vast array of exotic birds. The most popular viewing points are Emperor’s View and Queen’s View which offer hikers a magical panoramic view of southern Malawi and Mount Mulanje with Mozambique in the distance. A popular hiking trail in Zomba Plateau is the Potato Trail which is a historic path used by villagers who took their potatoes down the plateau to sell in Zomba. It takes about an hour to walk down the path from the top to the town of Zomba.

VIPHYA PLATEAU

The Viphya Plateau forms the spine of central and northern Malawi, snaking through valley with open savanna grasslands, rural towns and white-powder beaches on either side. It’s renowned for its spectacular Viphya Forest which is one of the largest man-made forests in Africa. Spanning a forested area of 560 square kilometres, the Viphya Plateau is popular as a wild and unspoilt destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The best place to stay on the Viphya Plateau is Luwawa Forest Lodge. It’s the ideal base for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, abseiling, trail walking, canoeing and orienteering

Luwawa Forest Lodge overlooks the pristine Luwawa Dam which is a great for a fishing holiday in Malawi. The Luwawa Dam is well-stocked with wide-mouth bream. The forest area is home to the endangered samango monkey and an array of birds such as the scaly francolin, olive woodpecker and the red-face crimson-wing.

Something special to do in Malawi is the Luwawa Mountain wilderness trail which is a 3-day hike of the Kawandama Mountain through dense indigenous forests and down to Kande Beach Resort on the shores of Lake Malawi. You can do the same trail on horseback with the Viphya and Tremendous Horse Trails company.

LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK

Liwonde National Park is one of 9 national parks and wildlife reserves in Malawi. It was established in 1973 and is home to a wonderful array of fauna and flora. The national park is untouched and unspoilt by commercial development and is by far the best national park in Malawi for a safari tour.

The national park lies is located at the southern tip of Lake Malombe in the south of Malawi. It’s not well known internationally as a Big 5 safari destination but it’s worth a visit if you’re on holiday in Malawi because it teems with animals and birds.

The reason Liwonde National Park is so special for a Malawi safari is because the Shire River runs through the national park. The mighty river lies on the western boundary of the Liwonde National Park and is a magnet for thirsty animals. You’ll also find an incredible array of birds on the area, particularly migrant water birds who flock to the verdant river banks. Relatively dry mopane woodlands cover the eastern half of Liwonde National Park and patches of miombo woodland covers the southern region.

The best way to get Liwonde National Park is by boat via the Shire River. Enroute, you’ll see large herds of elephant and buffalo on the floodplains as well as an abundance of plains game. A special feature of the national park is it is home to a sanctuary that runs a breeding project for black rhino.

NYIKA NATIONAL PARK

Nyika National Park is located in northern Malawi on the Zambian border. It’s falls within the Nyika Plateau which extends from the northern reaches of Malawi into the eastern-most tip of Zambia. The national park covers the whole of the Nyika Plateau. Located about 480 kilometres north of Lilongwe, access to the national park is via a single dirt road that branches up the south-western scarp of the Nyika Plateau and continues over the top. The park boundary comes within 35 kilometres of Livingstonia but there is no access from the eastern side.

The name Nyika means “where the water comes from”. The name is derived from the fact the plateau’s elevation makes it wetter than the surrounding grasslands. The national park is often shrouded in cloud in both the rainy and dry season.

Persistent moisture at such an high altitude creates diverse habitats suitable for a wide variety of plants and animals that have adapted to the wetter conditions. This includes over 200 types of wild orchids. You’ll also find an incredibly rich array of wildflowers throughout the year but especially in the rainy months from January to April.

The Nyika Plateau is popular for horse riding, hiking and mountain bike trails as well as 4×4 excursions and birdwatching. The Nyika National Park is home to a selection of large antelope that favour the montane vegetation and zebra are common further up the plateau. It had one of the highest densities of leopards in Central Africa but the numbers have been reduced with diminishing numbers of wildlife in the area.

MAJETE GAME RESERVE

Majete Game Reserve is one of three protected wildlife reserves in southern Malawi and is located a comfortable 2 hour drive from the city of Blantyre. Spanning some 14 000 hectares, the Majete Game Reserve has been taken over by a wildlife conservation group called African Parks and is being extensively rehabilitated and restocked. Thousands of animals have been reintroduced to the area in a massive animal translocation project. This includes nearly 200 elephants as well as lion, leopard, black rhino, buffalo, zebra, sable antelope, eland, waterbuck, nyala, hartebeest and kudu.

It’s popularity as a Big 5 destination in Africa is growing. Elephant tracking, game drives, guided bush walks and waterfall walks are popular activities when staying at the Majete Game Reserve. For accommodation in Majete Game Reserve, you have the choice of luxury accommodation at Mkulumadzi Camp or more rustic accommodation at Thawale Lodge.

KASUNGU NATIONAL PARK

Kasungu National Park is a 2 100-square kilometre park located in the western-central region of Malawi, close to the border of Zambia and 160 kilometres from the city of Lilongwe. The national park is well known as an outstanding birding destination and renowned for its incredible fauna and flora. There’s a thriving population of elephants in Kasungu National Park and decent numbers of leopard, civet cats, genets and jackal which have returned to the area in recent years. The best place to stay in Kasungu National Park is Lifupa Conservation Lodge. The eco-friendly lodge is affordable, clean and comfortable.

NKHOTAKOTA WILDLIFE RESERVE

The Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is a 1 800 square kilometre nature reserve that’s a rugged woodland terrain and home to elephant, buffalo and lion. The vegetation is lush and dense which is very scenic but makes game viewing quite difficult.

The main attraction at Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is walking safaris, bird watching and canoe safaris on the beautiful Bua River. It’s not well-known as a Big 5 safari destination in Africa but rather for its unspoilt wilderness and perfect peace and tranquility.

NTCHISI FOREST RESERVE

The Ntchisi Forest Reserve is about 75 square kilometres of magical forested terrain located in the magnificent Ntchisi Mountains. This is an extremely remote area with only scatterings of human settlements.

Ntchisi Forest Reserve is better known for its outstanding variety of plants which includes species of orchids, wild mushrooms, exotic fruit trees and strangling figs. Small rural coffee plantations thrive in the wetter parts of the surrounding area that fall within a lush rainforest. The Ntchisi Forest Reserve is a comfortable two-hour drive from Lilongwe.

Lilongwe has been the capital city and political and economic hub of Malawi since 1975. Previously, Zomba was the capital of Malawi but the country’s first president, Dr Hastings Banda, moved the administrative and legislative seats to Lilongwe which is located just north of where he was born.

Lilongwe is divided into Old Town in the south and New Town in the north. The Old Town has the appearance of a traditional African city while New Town is a 20th century city centre with modern infrastructure and urban developments. You’ll find bustling street markets in Old Town and upmarket glossy shopping centres in New Town. The Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary lies between Old Town and New towns and within the sanctuary is the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. It was established to safekeep rescued, orphaned and injured animals as well as serves as an education centre for wildlife conservation and tourism.

There’s a wide range of hotels in Lilongwe including the long-established Sunbird properties. The 11-floor 5-star President Walmont Hotel dominates the city skyline while in the heart of Old Town you’ll find the old Imperial Hotel which has been completely refurbished and reopened as the Kiboko Town Hotel in Malawi.

Things to do in Lilongwe

  • Four Seasons Centre is an upmarket shopping centre in Lilongwe offering a wide array of clothing shops and design boutiques as well as a trendy bar, restaurant and café. It’s a one-stop shopping centre with a play park for kids.
  • Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is just over 1 square kilometres of wilderness area nestled between Old Town and New Town which is home to rescued, injured and orphaned animals such as a one-eyed lion rescued from a zoon in Romania. Entry is free and includes a 1-hour tour of the animal enclosures.
  • The Parliament Buildings are located in a shiny upmarket building near Capital Hill. You can apply for a free guided tour of the facilities two days prior (only on weekdays).
  • Umunthu Theatre is a converted warehouse in Lilongwe that puts on regular live music festivals, shows international films and hosts club nights and corporate events. A music variety concert showcasing local talent is held every Friday evening.

Blantyre is a city in the Shire Highlands in southern Malawi. It’s renowned for its British colonial architecture and an array of scenic parks and wildlife reserves in the area. The city is home to 1 million inhabitants and is an important commercial hub. The city of Blantyre started as a missionary settlement in the 1876 and was named after the Scottish town where the legendary missionary David Livingstone was born. It’s the oldest municipality in Malawi and a city rich in history.

The Museum of Malawi is located on Chichiri Hills and showcases the natural history and ethnography of Malawi. Colonial Mandala House was built in 1882 and houses the Society of Malawi Library and Archive.

Karonga is a major lakeside town situated in northern Malawi close to the border of Tanzania. It’s not a resort town that you’ll go to on holiday in Malawi but you’ll probably see yourself overnighting in Karonga as it’s ideally located to a few of the major tourist destinations in Malawi. Karonga was an infamous slave-trading centre in the 19th century and the city museum captures a lot of this brutal history. The area is also famous for the huge collection of Malawisaurus remains that were found in the area. This was an ancient species of lizard which roamed the region centuries ago.

Mzuzu is the largest settlement in northern Malawi and the industrial capital of the region. It’s experienced rapid growth in the past two decades although it offers a limited selection of decent accommodation. You’ll pass through the town of Mzuzu enroute to Nyika National Park or on your way to the Tanzanian border. Mzuzu is the place to stock up before heading on holiday to the northern banks of Lake Malawi or to the man-made Viphya Forest.

PLACES TO STAY IN MALAWI

You can do Malawi in style or with nothing more than a scruffy backpack and a Malawi map in your pocket. Malawi accommodation ranges from rustic camping spots and backpacker establishments in the shores of Lake Malawi to luxury safari lodges in the national parks and stunning beach lodges on the islands of Lake Malawi.

A honeymoon in Malawi might not be the first thing you think of when making your wedding plans but it’s a magical destination to consider; not only because places like Lake Malawi are breathtakingly-beautiful but also because you can enjoy a wonderful ‘sea and safari’ honeymoon at a fraction of the cost elsewhere at the more popular safari destinations in Africa. If you’re looking for a decent hotel in Malawi for a stopover in the big cities and towns or the perfect hideaway on a deserted island in Lake Malawi, the choice are endless. We’ve selected a handful that standout as leading lodges and hotels in Malawi.

President Walmont Hotel This luxury hotel is located in the Umozdi Park business centre in Lilongwe close to Bingu Wa Mutharika International Convention Centre. It’s 25 kilometres from Lilongwe International Airport and 3 kilometres from the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. The President Walmont Hotel is the only 5-star hotel in Malawi. It’s a lavish modern hotel with features such a fine-dining restaurant, gym, spa and terrace restaurant.

Kumbali Country Lodge Kumbali Country Lodge is a private lodge situated on a 650 hectare forest reserve and dairy farm in Lilongwe, Malawi. Only 10 minutes from the capital city along a quiet traffic-free road. Stylish, relaxed and informal, it is the perfect stopover to other travel destinations such as Lake Malawi.

Kumbali Lake Retreat Kumbali Lake Retreat is a new eco-friendly lodge on the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi. It’s owned and run by the same family who own Kumbali Country Lodge in Lilongwe. The property is built into the side of Lifuwu Hill which is home to the indigenous Samanga Monkey. Guests have the choice of 4 semi-luxury thatched chalets each with a private outdoor lavatory and hot water shower, private khonde, walk-in mosquito nets, double or twin beds, ample storage space and breathtaking views of the iconic Lake Malawi.

Latitude 13 Hotel Latitude 13° Hotel is nestled in the leafy lanes on the northern edge of Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe. The luxury hotel is a 20-minute drive from Kamuzu International Airport. It’s one of the funkiest hotels in Malawi; it’s beautifully decorated and has a sophisticated friendly ambiance.

Protea Hotel Blantyre Ryalls Protea Hotel Blantyre Ryalls is located in the central business district of Blantyre and the perfect stopover enroute to Lake Malawi or for a business trip. It’s an easy 15-minute drive from Blantyre International Airport. What makes the hotel in Blantyre so popular is it’s one of the most technologically-advanced hotels in Malawi and is short walk from the best restaurants in Blantyre.

Sunbird Livingstonia Beach Hotel This premier hotel in Malawi is situated opposite Bird Island on the Salima shores of Lake Malawi on a 1 kilometre stretch of private beach. It’s a 2-hour drive from Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe. There are plenty of things to do on a holiday at Sunbird Livingstonia Beach Hotel. It’s situated on the shores of Senga Bay which is renowned for its beauty, tranquility and fun activities.

Pumulani Lake Lodge Pumulani Lake Lodge is a modern luxury lodge set high on a lush hill overlooking the magnificent crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi. It’s renowned for its panoramic views, exciting watersport activities and excellent service.

Sunbird Nkopola Lodge Sunbird Nkopola Lodge is located on the pristine shoreline of Lake Malawi close to a popular fishing village called Nkopola. The views for the beach lodge are breathtaking and there’s a range of fun watersport activities available to keep the whole family busy.

The Makokola Retreat The Makokola Retreat is situated in lush gardens on the shores of southern Lake Malawi. The stunning beach lodge is located just north of Mangochi Lakeshore and only a few kilometres from Boadzulu Island. Affectionately known as Club Mak, it’s the perfect lakeshore holiday retreat to combine with a wonderful Malawi safari.

Lukwe Eco-Camp & Organic Gardens Lukwe means ‘a place of natural beauty’ and this aptly describes the beautiful setting of Lukwe Eco-Camp & Organic Gardens. The eco-friendly loge is perched on the side of a hill overlooking a magical valley where the Manchewe Falls and Kazichi Falls plunge 80 metres below into a deep and untamed gorge. The views from Luke Eco-Camp are magnificent and the surroundings are lush and tranquil.

Kaya Mawa Kaya Mawa is one of the most popular beach resorts in Lake Malawi and renowned for its beautiful setting and fun outdoor and watersport activities. Built on the stunning Likoma Island which is situated in the middle of Lake Malawi, the lodge offers guests complete indulgence and relaxation. The island features include white sandy beaches and warm, calm waters as well as baobab and mango tree forests.

Huntingdon House Huntingdon House is located on Satemwa Tea Estate in the Thyolo District. It’s a family-run establishment that was the private home of the fourth-generation Kay family. Situated on a working tea estate, the magnificent colonial estate home offers guests a ‘home from home’ experience in luxurious, spacious accommodation.

Tongole Wilderness Lodge The Tongole Wilderness Lodge is the only upmarket luxury safari lodge in the beautiful Nkhotakota Reserve. Situated in a pristine bushveld setting, the views are magnificent and the facilities are outstanding. The Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve lies in eastern Malawi only a short 30-kilometre drive from the western shores of Lake Malawi. It’s the oldest and least-developed protected wildlife area in Malawi and unspoilt by commercial development.

TRAVEL INFORMATION FOR MALAWI

Malawi is a beautiful country with incredible natural resources and warm and friendly people. Affectionately known as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, Malawi travel offers visitors a combination of unspoilt wilderness regions and idyllic lakeside retreats. It’s the perfect destination for a ‘sea & safari’ holiday in Africa. It’s relatively cheap and safe to visit. It’s a poor country burdened by poverty and neglected infrastructure but the country has a ‘heart of gold’ and you’ll fall in love with its beauty, tranquility and people.

MALAWI WEATHER

Malawi weather is divided into two main seasons:

  • the cooler, dry season from May and October
  • the hot, rainy season from November to April
  • The highest rainfall in Malawi is experienced in the months of December to March.
  • The coolest weather in Malawi is in the winter months of June to August. The days are warm and clear but the evenings are a lot cooler.
  • Malawi weather is unbearably hot in September and October in the low-lying areas around the lake. Everything is parched and dry and the rain hasn’t arrived yet.
  • The weather in Malawi also changes with increasing elevation. On the upper level of the Nyika Plateau, it’s not uncommon to have freezing weather and frost in July.

BEST TIME TO VISIT MALAWI

Malawi has a sub-tropical climate and it’s a year-round destination. The cooler months between May to September are more comfortable for people on holiday in Malawi from the colder northern hemisphere. Summer between November and April is lush and green but can be unbearable hot and humid, particularly for overseas visitors not used to those high temperatures. January to March is a very wet season and many lakeshore lodges are closed because roads to the lodges are impassable. April to October in Malawi is warm, clear and dry with intermittent rainfall in April. It’s the perfect time to visit the luxury lodges in Lake Malawi and the safari lodges in the national parks of Malawi. When the weather in Malawi is dry, that’s the best time to go on a Malawi safari because the thick grass has thinned out and the animals are thirsty and congregate on the edges of lakes and rivers.

If you’re heading to Lake Malawi for a sailing holiday, the best time to go is in July or August which is the windy season in Malawi. It’s not windy every day on the lake but that’s the time when heavy gusts of wind do sweep through the area. Lake Malawi is calmest between November and March during the summer rainy season. This is the best time to go on holiday to Lake Malawi if you’re keen to snorkel or scuba dive.

HOW TO GET TO MALAWI

Most international airlines fly into Lilongwe International Airport via Nairobi in Kenya or Johannesburg in South Africa. Air Malawi is the national airline operating in Malawi. It provides a fairly reliable foreign and domestic service; mainly operating out of Lilongwe International Airport and Chileka Airport which is located just north of Blantyre. There are also daily regional flights from the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia which arrive in Lilongwe. Malawi tourists catch connecting charter flights to their hotels and lodges in Lake Malawi. The major tour operators in Malawi and hotel groups offer road transfers from Lilongwe and Blantyre to Lake Malawi, Liwonde, the Zomba Plateau and the Nyika National Park.Light aircraft charters take guests to destinations further afield such as the Nyika Plateau and Likoma Island.

GETTING AROUND MALAWI

Getting around Malawi using public transport is challenging and not recommended. Minibuses are a cheap method of transportation but they mainly operate in the big cities and towns and they’re notoriously unreliable because they don’t operate on a set schedule. Avoid using the public bus system. It’s generally overcrowded and a very unpleasant experience if you’re not used to jam-packed public transport in Africa. Ecoride is Malawi’s own version of Uber. It was launched in 2018 and only operates in Lilongwe and Blantyre at the moment. It works on the same basis as Uber using a mobile app platform. Compared to the regular taxis in the main cities, Ecoride is more affordable.

Most leading hotels in Malawi offer a pick-up and drop-off services for guests arriving and departing from the international airports in Lilongwe and Blantyre. You also have the option of using a reputable car rental company to hire a car to get around the city and to the major tourist attractions in the area.

MONEY & CREDIT CARDS

The official currency of Mozambique is the Malawian kwacha. South African Rand and US Dollars can be exchanged at banks in the major towns and cities in Malawi. The large and popular Malawi hotels and lodges accept credit cards. Diner’s Card are generally not accepted in Malawi.

MALAWI VISA REQUIREMENTS

  • Citizens from certain countries are exempt from obtaining a visa for Malawi.
  • Consult the Department of Immigration for the Republic of Malawi to find out if you need a Malawi visas: http://www.immigration.gov.mw
  • A Malawi tourist visa is not required for citizens of South Africa for a stay of up to 30 days.
  • A Malawi visa can be obtained at any port of entry into Malawi or at the Malawi High Commission in your country. For those requiring a tourist visa for Malawi, it should be obtained prior to arriving in the country through The Embassy of the Republic of Malawi in your country. If that’s not possible, a Malawi visa can be obtained on arrival at one of the international airports.

You are required to bring:

  • a printed copy of the visa application form
  • a valid passport
  • 2 passport photos
  • detailed covering letter
  • return air ticket and travel itinerary
  • confirmation of hotel booking
  • 3 months latest bank statements

All travellers need to be in possession of a passport that’s valid for at least 6 months after the intended date of departure. There should also be at least 2-3 empty pages available in your passport. No visitor to Malawi may stay in the country for longer than 30 days without prior permission. The initial 30-day permit can be extended for an additional 60 days if required. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. It’s recommended that you consult online with the High Commission of Malawi to double-check visa requirements.

Planning a trip to Malawi First, check the current validity of your passport. Make sure your passport has blank Visa pages. Second, confirm whether you need a visa for Malawi or are exempt Finally, confirm if a transit visa is required for any connections.

VACINATIONS FOR MALAWI

It’s recommended that everyone travelling to Malawi should be up-to-date with their general vaccinations. This should cover immunisation for polio, tetanus, typhoid and the hepatitis strains. If you’re arriving from or have travelled through a yellow fever zone prior to arriving in Malawi, you need to produce a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

HEALTH & SAFETY TIPS FOR MALAWI

The healthcare system in Malawi is burdened by shortages of medical supplies and personnel, in particular experienced doctors. The state hospitals in Malawi have one of the highest patient-to-physician ratio and you’ll find yourself waiting for hours to be seen by a doctor.

It’s highly recommended that tourists seek treatment at a private hospital or clinic in Malawi that has the medical expertise and supplies to treat general illnesses and injuries. For a more serious medical condition or serious injury, you should seek immediate medical treatment at a private hospital in South Africa.

For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you take out travel insurance for a holiday in Malawi that covers medical treatments and medical evacuations. Mwaiwathu Private Hospital is a 64-bed hospital located in Blantyre in the southern region of Malawi. Opened in 1998 it has grown to be Malawi’s leading specialist hospital renowned both locally and internationally. The hospital has highly trained personnel and uses high-tech modern equipment to ensure delivery of greater value service.

Malawi is one of the serious diseases you are at risk of contracting in Malawi if you don’t take the necessary precautions to prevent falling ill. Malaria is a life-threatening disease and can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in time.

Firstly, it’s highly recommended that you take anti-malaria tablets. Consult your doctor or a travel clinic for more information. Secondly, take the usual precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes. This includes using an effective insect repellent, sleeping under a mosquito net and wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks and shoes in the evening when mosquitoes are active.

Should you experience any of the typical malaria symptoms within 10 days of arriving in the country, seek immediate medical treatment at a private hospital that’s equipped to treat malaria. Malaria should be suspected if you experience any flu-like symptoms after a holiday in a malaria area. The first symptoms of malaria are usually very similar to flu; aches and pains, fever and headache. After a few days, the typical paroxysms may occur; chills followed firstly by a high fever for a few hours and then by profuse sweating.

The incidence of HIV/AIDS in Malawi is high. One in seven people in Malawi are infected with HIV. Malawi has one of the highest HIV prevalences in the world despite the impressive progress the country has made in controlling its HIV epidemic in recent years. Young people are particularly at risk, due to early sexual activity and marriage, with 50% of new HIV infections affecting those aged 15 to 17 in Malawi.

GENERAL WELL-BEING

Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water in Malawi. Avoid drinking tap water, particularly in remote and rural areas where water might be unsafe to drink. Buy bottled water from restaurants, hotels and shops. Diarrhea is a common ailment when travelling in Malawi and can be brought on by anything from poor water to spicy foods and dehydration. Carry anti-diarrhea medicine in your medical kit and in extreme cases seek medical attention at a local clinic or hospital. If diarrhoea is combined with nausea, vomiting, cramps, fever or blood in the stool; you’ll need a course of antibiotics to treat it. To stay healthy and well in Malawi, follow these basic precautions:

  • avoid eating raw or undercooked meat and seafood
  • avoid eating food bought from market vendors and roadside vendors only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled or filtered
  • avoid putting ice in your drink at local bars and restaurants; it’s most likely made using local tap water
  • always wash fresh fruit and vegetables in bottled water if you buy them from roadside markets

SWIMMING IN MALAWI

Swimming in most bays in Lake Malawi is safe; swimming in the Shire River is suicidal. In fact, swimming in any river in Malawi is not recommended because they’re full of crocodiles and hippos. There are a few rules to follow if you plan to swim, snorkel or scuba dive in Lake Malawi:

  • only swim in an area where holidaymakers and villages regularly swim
  • always check with locals that where you want to swim is safe
  • don’t swim in the mouth of a river

Bilharzia is found in tropical areas and cases of the disease are regularly recorded in Lake Malawi, particularly the southern section. Schistosomiasis (the medical term for Bilharzia) is a parasitic infection caused by Schistosoma worms. Infection occurs through direct contact with contaminated fresh water where certain snails may harbour the infection. Larval forms of the worm are released from these snails into fresh water and may penetrate human skin and migrate to internal organs. Travellers are at risk if they wade, swim or have other contact with fresh water from lakes or rivers in areas where schistosomiasis is common. Infection may cause no symptoms, but early symptoms can include a rash and itchy skin (‘swimmer’s itch’), fever, chills, cough or muscle aches. If not treated, it can cause serious long term health problems such as intestinal or bladder disease.

Travellers should also drink safe water which is either boiled, filtered or bottled to prevent contracting bilharzia. If you’re concerned that you may have been infected with bilharzia on a trip to Malawi, a simple blood screening test can be done when you return home. Fortunately, bilharzia is easy to treat with tablets. The people most at risk of developing chronic schistosomiasis in Malawi are poor locals who don’t have access to modern medicine.

YELLOW FEVER

There is no risk of yellow fever in Malawi.

HOW TO KEEP SAFE IN MALAWI

Malawi is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. The country doesn’t suffer from a high and violent crime rate but you may fall victim to petty crime and typical tourist scams such as card skimming and credit card fraud. Be vigilante and use common sense on a Malawi holiday. The obvious travel tips are:

  • don’t flash cash and leave your expensive jewelry and watches at home
  • don’t flash your cell phone if it’s an expensive model; keep it safe in an inside jacket pocket or somewhere that’s not easy to reach by pick pocketers
  • leave your laptop behind; everything can be done on a cell phone now
  • use the digital safe in your Malawi hotel room if provided to store valuable items avoid driving at night and don’t walk around the cities and towns on your own after dark
  • always keep to the speed limit and don’t break the rules of the road; there might be a corrupt traffic cop around the corner
  • don’t drink and drive; you’ll be locked up in prison
  • don’t bring drugs into the country or get caught taking drugs; you’ll get locked up in prison
  • keep a close eye on young children; they must always be supervised and never allowed out of your sight because child trafficking is a horrible reality around the world
  • always check whether it’s safe to swim in an area; check whether there are crocodiles or hippos where you want to swim, snorkel or scuba dive
  • don’t wander off the beaten track on a Malawi road trip; keep to the popular tourist routes
  • respect the locals and their cultural traditions; don’t be a noisy and annoying tourist

LGBT IN MALAWI

Homosexuality in Malawi is illegal. It’s punishable by up to 14 years in prison although prosecutions were suspended in 2012. The laws that prohibit same-sex relations and marriages are rarely enforced and in particular, never applied to tourists on holiday in Malawi.

As a general rule in Malawi, your sexual preferences and gender identity is regarded as private business. However, your behaviour in public is expected to be appropriate. Public displays of same-sex affection might offend someone and you might receive a warning for what they call “breaching the peace”.

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EXPLORE MALAWI: PRIVATE GUIDED SAFARIS

Explore malawi offers private guided tours, so that you can go on an adventure of a lifetime, without having to worry about anything..

Malawi is an undiscovered gem of Africa, also called the warm heart of Africa. With its many national parks, it offers an unexpected wealth of game-viewing safaris, mountain hikes and some unique opportunities such as horseback riding. Good preparation and advance planning are essential for an amazing get away. We will arrange your whole safari including transport (either by car or by plane), being guided by a knowledgeable tour guide or driver. We arrange your accommodations, whether you wish to stay in luxury lodges or mid-range guesthouses.

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HAPPY CUSTOMERS

NATIONAL PARKS

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Length: 13 Days (customizable)

Price from: €5.869,- EUR

Price from: €3.634,- EUR

Length: 14 Days (customizable)

Price from: €4.272,- EUR

Experience The Journey Of Your Dreams

Malawi is best known as Africa’s finest landlocked beach destination, which with lovely unspoiled islands, beautiful freshwater beaches and a vibrant and spectacular array of tropical freshwater fish. You are looking for real adventure and you love nature; you chose to discover Malawi!

To make it easier for you, Explore Malawi offers a variety of itineraries. You can book these as they are, or you can use them for inspiration to build together with us your own, tailor-made adventure. Explore Malawi will always make sure that you will experience the journey of your dreams!

Self-drive Inspiration

Catch some vibes and self-drive inspiration by watching our videos. A true insight to our adventures travels through Africa.

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Tailor-made Travel Advice

Every traveler has their own preferences. Need help deciding to make sure you make the right choice, we’re here to help! Together we fully customize the tour to your personal preferences, wishes and budget. We can assist you in many different ways. Our team of friendly and service-minded Tour Consultants is available in Europe and Africa to assist you making a personalized tailor-made travel proposal and to answer all questions you might have.

A Trip To Malawi Will Sear Itself Into Your Mind

Discover spectacular malawi.

We guarantee that all our vehicles are in excellent condition and well serviced.

Meet & Greet with your personal driver and guide at the Airport

All airport/hotel transfers

All guided road transfers

Local flights (if applicable)

Park fees are included unless mentioned differently

Rooms at mid-range or luxury hotels, guesthouses or lodges, unless otherwise requested.

Most accommodations are booked with breakfast and camping is self-catering

Most accommodations are booked on basis of DBB (Diner, Bed en Breakfast) or Full-Board.

In some accommodations local drinks are included.

International Flights

Local premium and Imported drinks (unless indicated differently)

Meals indicated as not included

Single Supplements

Any extra activities (unless indicated as included)

Any items of personal nature

Travel and cancellation insurance

Gratuities and tips

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Why Choose Us?

Years of experience.

Explore Malawi is part of the dynamic and professional ´Explore Africa Group´, initially founded as Explore Namibia in 2006 by the Dutch couple, Marco and Elise. Both have travelled through Africa extensively and they simply love it. When the opportunity occurred to go on an adventure to Africa, they did not hesitate, quit their jobs in Europe and moved 10.000 km South and started to live their dream. And still today, after all these years they still love what they do – help others do the same!

In 2018, Julia joined Marco and Elise on this adventure. Julia was born and raised on a guest-farm in Namibia, was always closely involved with visitors from all over the world and fascinated by their passion for these southern African countries. After spending some years in Europe, Julia is happy to be ‘back home’ and share these unique experiences, the southern African countries have to offer, with others.

Recently the activities were merged with My Namibia Safaris, and Mirela and Rainer were welcomed as partners, and so was Johannes, the better half of Julia. The portfolio was extended with more destinations in Africa and with specialized guided tours, all under the umbrella of the newly named Explore Africa Group.

Explore Africa Together

Our service.

Our thoughtful team of knowledgeable experts are here to take care of every need, from the second you contact us to when you return

Efficient & friendly service

Our team of friendly and service-minded Tour Consultants is available in Europe and Africa to assist you making a personalized tailor-made travel proposal and to answer all questions you might have. You can reach us by phone, e-mail and chat. We can set-up a (digital) meeting to discuss all your wishes and preferences. Feel free to contact us anytime!

Experienced and knowledgeable guides

We offer tailor-made private guided safaris in Malawi (and Zambia) including transport, meals, accommodations, and activities. You will be supported by an experienced and knowledgeable driver/guide. Choose one of the beautiful routes and stay in selected accommodations, which are all reserved for you in advance.

Qualified staff with local knowledge

When you travel into amazing, wild and exhilarating Africa, there is one thing you must surely have properly arranged beforehand. A safari holiday requires back-up of a local expert who has inherent knowledge of the local African situation. This can either be our local support office in case of self-drive or your personal guide in case of a private guide safari trip.

Sustainable mindset

We understand that our activities have a positive, but can also have a negative, impact on the surroundings; positive by creating (local) employment and social development, but we also realize that our tourists might have another impact on the environment. We attach great importance to reducing the pressure that tourism exerts on the natural and social living environment of our travel destinations, and we see it as our corporate responsibility, and are committed to, constantly improve in the field of responsible, and maintaining sustainable travel.

24-hours support

We are close by while you are traveling and always reachable. Should you feel uncertain along the way or hit a “bump along the road” you can easily contact us, and we will gladly assist you to make your trip and stay in Malawi as enjoyable as possible with little or no interruptions.

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Book With Confidence

Reliable and trustworthiness.

We are, amongst others, proud member of the ATTA (African Tour Operator Association), the ANVR (Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators) and SGR (Dutch guarantee fund for prepaid travel money). This means we offer reliability and security towards our clients, as we work according to the ANVR travel and booking conditions, agreed with the European Consumers Association. The SGR label also provides financial certainty in case of possible bankruptcy.

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Explore Malawi offers private guided tours, so that you can go on an adventure of a lifetime!

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Malawi Safari Tours

Malawi as a country has become one of the best safari destinations in Africa. This landlocked country is strategically located in the south Eastern part of the African continent and is bordered by Tanzania and Mozambique. The country has many safari destinations that all have unique attractions and that is why it is now on top of everyone’s bucket list which means you will be missing out if you do not plan your safari to Malawi soon.

Tour Packages

3 day Gorilla Trekking Rwanda

A safari to Liwonde National Park

The Liwonde National park is located in the southern part of Malawi and is surrounded by a dense forest making it one of the best top safari destinations in the country. It is also considered to be the country’s jewels when it comes to the plants and animals that are found in the Park and some of the animals that are found in the Park include hippos, elephants, Warthogs, Nile crocodiles,, bushbucks, baboons and water bucks. Other activities besides game viewing that can be carried out in Liwonde National park include trekking, bird watching, walking safaris through the park and exploring the nearby villages as you interact with the locals.

 A safari to Nyika National Park

Nyika National Park is located in the Northern Part of Malawi in the Nyika Plateau. There are several activities that you can carry out when you take a trip to Nyika National Park and some of these include trekking through the park, bird watching, day and night game driving where you get to see the numerous animals that reside in the Park like warthogs, lions, leopards and hyenas, Roan antelope, Zebras, porcupines, . As you head down to the Nyika Park, make sure that you park warm clothes because it often gets chilly especially during the night drives.

A safari to Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is the largest lake in malawi and the third largest Lake in Africa making it almost the size of the country Belgium. A safari to the Lake will give you a chance to see many qaua life and enjoy all that the Lake has to offer in form of activities like boat riding, fishing, snokerlling, kayaking and biridng. The Lake is also surrounded by different mini Islands which ar worth visiting especially for those who are into learning the culture of Malawi and those that want to get away from the busy city cnetres. Your sfari to Malawi will be incomplete if you do not visit the largest Lake in the country aslo known as the Lake of stars.

A safari to the Majete wild life Reserve

Majete wild life resreve is located in the southern part of Malawi and it wa set up to preserve the almost extinct animals thata were being poached on. Some of the animals that you get to see when you visit the Majete wild life Reserve inlcude the Sable antelope, buffalos, elephants, the black rhinos, the hartebeests, lions cheetahs, crocodiles, waterbucks and leopards. Some other actvities that are carried out in the Majete include trekking through the Reserve and biridng.

Lake Malawi National Park

Lake Malawi National Park is located in the southern part of the country and near the famous Lake Malawi. It was declared a UNESCO heritage in the year 1984 and it is the first fresh water body in the world. The Lake Malawi National Park is a home to many wild life species that is both animals and birds and some of these include baboons, antelopes, African fish eagles, Zebras and many more other animals. You can also trek through the park and go for birding at the Lake Malawi and also get to visit the Islands that are near the Park.

A safari to Lengwe National Park

The Lengwe National Park is located near Majete and it was established in the year 1928. It has a lot to offer to tourists as there are several tourist activities that can be carried out while here and some of them include birding where you get to see various bird species that habitate in the park like the snake banded eagle, geese, both night and day game drives through the park which provide you with a chance to get to see some animals like leopards, lions, jackals, hyenas and elephants.

A safari to Kasungu National park

Kasungu National park was once one of the top National Parks in the country but due to the constant poaching by the locals, it became a former shadow for its self but it still has a lot to offer to the tourists. Some animals are being re-introduced into the park and there are also some other activities that tourists can carry out when you visit Kasungu National Park and these include enjoying the wild walks around the Park, trekking, exploring the villages as you get to know more about the locals and birding. The animal species that can be found in the Kasungu National Park include Zebras, hyenas, buffalos, hippos, jackals and many more others.

A cultural safari to Malawi

Malawi is a country that is known for her unique culture which is practiced all over the country. There are many languages that are spoken in Malawi but not to worry many of the locals can easily communicate in English. There are many communities that you will be able to visit to understand and learn more about the cultural practices that Malawians practice and learn a thing or two about why they are practiced and you might even get a chance to learn their languages for easy communication with the locals.

A safari to the Mountains in Malawi

Malawi does not have a lot of Mountains to visit but the ones that are available will give you a good run for your money. The jagged stones provide the perfect place for one to take hikes especially for the adrenaline fans and some of these mountains are near major National parks which also gives tourists time to go and explore the National parks at length. Some of the Mountains that are good for a safari in Malawi include the Mulanje summit, the Vitumbi Mountain, Matambale Mountain, Nakodzwe Mountain, Khuto Mountain and many more others that are scattered across the country.

A safari to Chimwenya Game Park

The Chimwenya Game Park is located in the south Eastern part of the country and can easily be viewed from the Blantyre city. The game park is a home to numerous animals some of which include hyenas, leopards, the roan antelopes, the Kudu, elephants, zebras and it is also a home to a variety of bird species that can be seen in the different bird habitats that are found in the park.

A safari to the Chimwenya game park will also take you to the Buvumbwe Lake where the many animals in the park go for water and you can exercise your fishing skills form here and relax at its banks ass you watch the animals go about their business.

A safari to Blantyre

Blantyre is a town that is located in the southern part of the country and is one of the oldest in Malawi. It was constructed by the Scottish missionaries in the 80s when they settled in the area so that they could easily preach. The city was also a stopover for many slave traders back then and at the moment it is the commercial Centre for Malawi. The Blantyre city has both Malawians and Asians living in the same area and some of the tourist attractions that you will see when you visit Blantyre include Museums where the history of Malawi is safely kept, the St Michael and all Angels’ church and the society of Malawi Library making it a perfect get away for many tourists.

malawi safari

When to go for a safari in Malawi

Malawi is an all year round destination for safari lovers but the best time to visit normally depends on the activities that you want to carry out when you visit the country.

The best to for a game drive safari in Malawi is the dry season. Since most National parks experience the dry season, many animals move around the Park in search of food and water which is not possible during the wet season and the road are also easily accessible during the dry season.

Tourists also get a chance to trek through the different National parks during the dry season and see as many animals as they want during this time. But note that most animals hunt at night and that is why most game drives take place at night and you will not be allowed to access most of the tourist destinations in the country if you do not have a tour guide.

The best time for birders to go for a safari in Malawi is during the wet season. The wet season ushers in migratory birds from the neighboring countries which increases the number of birds that you can view while in the country.

Things to do in Malawi

Malawi is a fine destination for all those that want to experience Africa in a new away and this is due to the fact that it has a lot of tour destinations that will leave not wanting to go anywhere else but stay in Malawi. There are several activities that you can carry out as a tourist once you visit the country and some of these include:

Experience the Malawian culture through music

Malawi is known for her beautiful culture and this can be experienced when you visit the different parts of the country. The best ways on how you can enjoy the culture is by joining in the many music festivals that are prepared by the locals in the country. These festivals are prepared on different days but they are always fun to watch and once you get the chance of joining one of them, you will be more than mesmerized.

Some of the best festivals that you can attend include the Ufulu festival, the Blantyre Arts festival and the largest music festival on the continent that is known as the Lake of stars festival. With the way the locals love their music and dance, feel free to join them and get a life time experience.

Take a walk around the Likoma Island

The Likoma Island is located near the Likoma Lake which is located in Mozambique. Getting to the island is a bit easy and you can use either a small tourist plane or use any of the boats that sail along the Likoma Lake. While at the Island, you get to enjoy the beautiful beaches, fishing activities, explore the St Peters church and admire the unique stones that were used during the construction of the church and get to enjoy the evenings with the locals as you learn more about their culture.

Learn more about the Karonga culture

The Karonga people are so proud of their culture that they portray it to anyone who passes through their small community and that is why they advocated for the construction of the Karonga cultural museum where the young blood in the clans and tourists get to know more about their past, present and how their culture has evolved. When you enter into the museum you will be welcomed with paintings on the walls that depict time from the mediaeval times of dinosaurs to the current times and the beauty bout this is that when you follow the paths even without a tour guide, you get to understand how life for the Karongas has been.

Enjoy the local food in Malawi

What better way to experience what Malawi has to offer other than by enjoying the delicious food that is prepared by the locals? There are a lot of savory dishes that every tourist deserves to taste and these can be got from the various restaurants that are located in the different parts of Malawi.

Explore the Lake Malawi

Take time and follow the footsteps of the renowned explorer David Livingstone who first discovered the Lake in the 19 th Century. Lake Malawi is the largest Lake in the country and it is one of the best natural wonders to visit while in the country due to the many things that you get to see when you are there that is the aqua life like the different species of fish like Tilapia and chambo fish, take boat rides on the Lake, enjoy fishing with the locals, see the different bird species that can be seen lounging around the Lake and you can also relax at the beach as you enjoy watching the birds and doing all the other beach activities.

Besides enjoying the beautiful natural haven that it provides to the tourists, it is also a good place for the locals who use the water from the Lake for domestic use and also fish in order to get food and therefore it is important for the locals. And while there you can visit the islands around the Malawi Lake and these are the Bird Island, the Mumbo Island and the Likoma Island.

Take a trip to the Leper tree

The leper tree is located in the Liwonde national park where an interesting history about Liwonde is. The story about how the name the Leper tree came about is told by the locals and tour guides and it all came about when the local people were infected with leprosy and they didn’t want to infect anyone else. Therefore many people who had been infected and those that had already died of the disease were pushed into the tree and when you take a walk around it, you can see many skeletal remains of all those that faced the same fate.

Visit the Nkhata bay

Nkhata Bay also known as the gateway to the islands is one of the places that you visit and carry out numerous activities while on a tour in Malawi. It is located on the shores of the Lake Malawi in the Western part and the activity that is mostly carried put her is fishing. Get a better feel of reggae music and other activities that you can carry out like snorkeling, fishing, kayaking and enjoying the local food that is prepared by the locals and also get to relax from the busy life of the city on this laidback Bay.

Trek up the Mulanje Mountain

Mountain Mulanje is one of the top destinations in Malawi and it provides some of the best experiences which come up with the numerous activities that can be carried out around the Mountain. The major activity is hiking and there are several tour guides who will help you when it comes to hiking up this 3000 meters high Mountain. As you trek up the Mountain you get to see a few wild animals that have taken to living here like the antelopes, unique vegetation and birds that live up in the Mountain. And after hiking up the Mountain, feel free to relax at the Licheny River which is located just right next to the Mountain.

Explore the National Parks in Malawi

There is only one way that you will be able to enjoy the National Parks in Malawi is by taking a stroll through them on foot. Malawi has a lot of National Parks that are located at the different parts of the country and these offer you a good view of the many animals and birds that habitate within the walls of these national Parks. Some of the major National parks that you can explore include the following:

The Liwonde National park

This is located in the southern part of Malawi and has numerous tourist attractions that are found within ranging from wild life, birding and the vegetation. A visit to the Liwonde Park is a god experience for all those that love nature and the best time to visit depends on what you want to do. Animal viewing is best done during the dry season and birding is done during the wet season.

  • The Lake Malawi National Park

The Lake Malawi National Park was made a UNESCO heritage site many years ago making it one of the top destinations in the country. The National Park has a lot to offer like the wild animals, several bird species and there are also trek routes that allow you to clearly admire the Park at full length.

  • The Kasungu National Park

The Kasungu National Park is the second largest National Park in Malawi. The activities that can be carried out here include wild life viewing although at the moment the number of animals has greatly reduced due to the constant poaching form the locals but it still offers a great experience in the wild especially at night, you can trek through the park, enjoy birding and get to meet some locals that live around the park.

Go shopping

Shopping in Malawi means that you are going to buy different things like farm produce, locally designed products, clothes, art craft and any other products that you would want to purchase before leaving the country. If you have never seen so many fresh farm products in one place, then that means you have never visited Malawi and therefore you should do so. There are several markets that you can go to for shopping and you will be welcomed by many jolly women selling farm produce and some of the cities where farm produce markets can be found include Zomba city, Lilongwe and Mzuzu city.

A visit to the markets will give you ample time to get to know more about the locals as you will be communicating with them during the purchasing process and remember to go with all the bargaining skills because you will need them in order not be over charged.

There are still many exciting activities that have not been mentioned and the only way to experience them is by packing a bag and heading straight to Malawi.

Frequently asked Questions on Malawi

Do I need to get a visa to go to Malawi?

Whether you need a visa or not will depend on the citizenship of your passport for instance Nationals from Britain do not require a visa when going to the country on a short visit. Other countries which require visa to enter the country should obtain it before arrival in Malawi or on arrival at the entry points into the country such as the airports and these include nationals of New Zealand, United States, Australia, Canada as well as Schengen member states. A fee of 75 US Dollars is required to be paid by the Malawian government for one to obtain a short visitor’s visa.

British nationals don’t need a visa for a short visit to Malawi. However, the Malawian government has announced that it intends to introduce a visa regime for British visitors (and nationals of other countries that charge a visa fee for Malawian nationals) from 1 October 2015. This is also the case for Spanish passport holders. Visas are up to you to get in advance. Please check with your nearest Malawian high commission for more information.

Your passport should be valid for a period of at least six (6) months from your date of departure from Malawi and must have two (2) blank pages.

Do I need Travel insurance when visit Malawi?

It is highly recommended that you obtain a comprehensive travel insurance that will cover your medical repatriation and trip cancellation and shortening for your safari in Africa. That way you will not be bothered by a possibility of loss of, money in case you have to cut short your trip or even cancel it before going as a result of sickness. You should make sure that it also covers your luggage inn case of loss of damage as well as cover the different safari activities that you will be engaging in.

What is the best time to visit Malawi?

Malawi is considered to be among Africa’s all year round tourist destinations, however, the dry season which runs from late April to the start of November is considered as the best time of the year  to have a holiday in Malawi. During this time of the year, most of the country is dry and the vegetation is thin offering clear views of wildlife. It is the best time for game viewing in the different parts of the country. This is also considered the peak tourist season when the country receives the largest number of foreign holidaymakers so we highly recommend that if you are visiting during this time of the year you book your safari at least four (4) months earlier.  Budget travelers however are advised against visiting during this time since most of the accommodation prices are high.

How is Malawi’s climate?

Malawi experiences a sub-tropical climate and the country has three major season which include the cool and dry, the hot and wet as well as the hot and dry seasons.

The Cool Dry Season:

This runs from July to August and most of the days are cool and dry, with some windy spells in the month of July. It is considered a good time to visit Malawi, and the number of tourists is high during this time. A travel tip is to carry a warm sweater or jacket for the cold evening and early mornings (especially f you are going on an early morning game drive)

The Hot Dry Season:

This runs from August to Mid- November, and by September the occasional windy spells have stop and the heat begins to build up. this is a good time to take a safari in Malawi. Most of the vegetation becomes sun burnt and when you visit the national parks during this time of the year, you will enjoy very clear views of wildlife considering the fact that most of the water holes have dried up and the animals only congregate in large numbers around the few remaining permanent water hole.

Lake Malawi can also best be visited during this time as the water is clear, calm and the water temperatures are favorable.

Hot Rainy Season:

This begins from late November all through to April with the country experiencing several storms. It is generally wet, many of the roads in the remote areas become impassable and the female anopheles mosquitoes are very many which increases the risk of catching malaria. a number of accommodation places may b closed to the bad condition  of the access roads so in case you are planning to visit during this time of the year, it is very important that you first confirm whether your preferred accommodation facility is in service.

Do I need any vaccinations before going to Malawi?

All travelers visiting Malawi are advised to check with the Malawian high commission while in the home country to get the latest medical advice before traveling. None the less there are a number of vaccine shots you are recommended to be up to date with such as polio, tetanus-diphtheria, varicella, measles-mumps-rubella, as well as hepatitis A and typhoid.

Is Malawi a high risk Malaria Country?

Yes, especially during the wet rainy season, there are so many female anopheles mosquitoes which spread malaria. So if possible it is better to refrain from traveling during this time. When visiting Malawi you are highly advised to visit your doctor back in your home country so that he can prescribe for you a malaria prophylaxis.

Below are some tips on how to prevent malaria in Malawi

  • Sleep under a treated mosquito net (most hotels provide these)
  • Take your malaria prophylaxis as prescribed by the doctor
  • Use an insect repellent
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and pants especially in the evenings to avoid mosquito bites.

What is the time zone of Malawi?

The time Zone in Malawi is GMT + 2 hours which is similar to most countries in southern Africa.

What is the electricity current and what plugs are used in Malawi?

Malawi runs on an electric current of 230 volts at 50Hz and uses the standard 3 pin rectangular plus. We highly recommend that you carry your personal adaptors although majority of the hotels provide the.

If you are carrying your personal electrical gadgets such as hair styling tools like hair dryers, flat irons among others ensure that they are dual voltage and once in Malawi do not forget to adjust the voltage.

Can I use my Cell or mobile phone in Malawi?

Today most of Malawi has Mobile-phone network coverage although it is not everywhere. GSM 900 is the most prevalent cell phone service offering the widest network coverage across most parts of the country and fortunate is compatible with majority of the international cell phone operators.

Is there internet connectivity in Malawi?

Yes, majority of the big hotels and resorts offer internet access on their properties and when you visit the big towns you will realize that there are several internet cafés where you can access internet to get in touch with your people back home.

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Lake Malawi Beach Holidays & Honeymoon Packages

12-Day Classic Malawi Safari & Beach Holiday

12-Day Classic Malawi Safari & Beach Holiday

$6,237 to $8,244 pp (USD)

Malawi: Private tour Luxury Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Blantyre (Start) , Majete WR, Liwonde NP, Lake Malawi, Cape Maclear (Lake Malawi) , Lilongwe (End)

Tour operator has an office in United States

4.9 /5  –  149 Reviews

12-Day Malawi Highlights Adventure

12-Day Malawi Highlights Adventure

$6,144 pp (USD)

Malawi: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Blantyre (Start) , Majete WR, Thyolo Mts, Liwonde NP, Lake Malawi, Lilongwe (End)

Crafted Africa   Tour operator has an office in Malawi

5.0 /5  –  68 Reviews

5-Day S/ 4 Nights Super Malawi Safari

5-Day S/ 4 Nights Super Malawi Safari

$1,463 pp (USD)

You Visit: Blantyre (Start) , Majete WR, Lake Malawi, Lilongwe (City) , Lilongwe Airport (End)

Swahili Paradise Tours & Safaris

4.1 /5  –  85 Reviews

10-Day Women in Malawi

10-Day Women in Malawi

$3,751 pp (USD)

Malawi: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Mid-range Camping & Lodge

You Visit: Blantyre (Start) , Zomba Plateau, Liwonde NP, Mumbo Island (Lake Malawi) , Dzalanyama FR, Lilongwe (End)

Land & Lake Safaris   Tour operator has an office in Malawi

4.7 /5  –  27 Reviews

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5-Day Best of Malawi

$3,157 pp (USD)

Malawi: Shared tour (max 7 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge

You Visit: Lilongwe (Start) , Liwonde NP, Nankoma Island (Lake Malawi) , Lilongwe (End)

Barefoot Lodge And Safaris   Tour operator has an office in Malawi

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14-Day Malawi off the Beaten Track Safari

$6,507 to $7,158 pp (USD)

Malawi: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Resort

You Visit: Lilongwe (Start) , South Viphya FR, Nyika NP, Lake Malawi, Nkhotakota WR, Lilongwe (End)

safari tour malawi

13-Day Luxury Malawi Safari

$6,245 to $8,385 pp (USD)

You Visit: Blantyre (Start) , Majete WR, Liwonde NP, Cape Maclear (Lake Malawi) , Lilongwe (End)

safari tour malawi

13-Day Malawi Mountains & Safari Adventure

$6,253 to $6,879 pp (USD)

Malawi: Private tour Mid-range Mountain Hut & Lodge

You Visit: Lilongwe (Start) , Blantyre (City) , Mt Mulanje, Zomba Plateau, Liwonde NP, Mumbo Island (Lake Malawi) , Lilongwe (End)

safari tour malawi

13-Day Malawi Honeymoon Safari

$9,277 to $12,484 pp (USD)

You Visit: Blantyre (Start) , Majete WR, Liwonde NP, Lake Malawi, Lilongwe (End)

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16-Day Southern Malawi & South Luangwa

$7,365 pp (USD)

Malawi & Zambia: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Blantyre (Start) , Majete WR, Thyolo District, Zomba Plateau, Cape Maclear (Lake Malawi) , Mua Mission (Highlight) , Dzalanyama FR, South Luangwa NP, Mfuwe (End)

safari tour malawi

12-Day Zambia and Malawi

$2,765 pp (USD)

Malawi & Zambia: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Budget Camping & Hotel

You Visit: Livingstone (Start) , Victoria Falls, Kafue River, Lower Zambezi NP, Lusaka (City) , South Luangwa NP, Lake Malawi, Lilongwe (End)

Sunway Safaris

4.5 /5  –  30 Reviews

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16-Day Zambia Malawi Livingstone Trail

$3,971 pp (USD)

Malawi & Zambia: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Mid-range Camping & Lodge

You Visit: Lusaka (Start) , Kafue River, Lower Zambezi NP, Petauke (Town) , South Luangwa NP, Kuti WR, Mt Mulanje, Liwonde NP, Mumbo Island (Lake Malawi) , Lilongwe (City) , Lilongwe Airport (End)

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12-Day Valley & Lake – Zambia and Malawi Adventure

$6,970 to $7,732 pp (USD)

Malawi & Zambia: Shared tour (max 14 people per vehicle) Luxury Lodge & Bush Camp

You Visit: Lusaka (Start) , South Luangwa NP, Lilongwe (City) , Nankumba Peninsula (Lake Malawi) , Lilongwe (End)

Vanaway Travel & Tours

5.0 /5  –  1 Reviews

safari tour malawi

22-Day Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique - Trade Route

$3,430 pp (USD)

Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa & Zambia: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Budget Camping & Lodge

You Visit: Livingstone (Start) , Victoria Falls, Chirundu (Town) , Lower Zambezi NP, Petauke (Town) , South Luangwa NP, Lake Malawi, Tete (City) , Bazaruto Island (Bazaruto Archipelago) , Inhambane (City) , Praia De Chizavane (Beach) , Kruger NP, Greater Kruger, Panorama Route (Highlight) , Johannesburg (End)

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Absolute Zambia Safaris

Best of Malawi Safari & Tour

This trip showcases Malawi’s wildlife in Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park, as well as the best of Malawi’s beaches on Lake Malawi and the best of Malawi’s smiling people.

  • Majete Wildlife Reserve is Malawi's finest wildlife attraction and home to the Big Five Safari.
  • Some of Africa's best elephant, crocodile, hippo, and general wildlife Viewing
  • Home to the rare and critically endangered black rhino
  • Birder’s delight (Pel’s fishing owl, Boehm's bee-eaters, Lillian’s love birds, and Livingstone’s flycatcher)
  • Cape Maclear is a leading tourist destination
  • Explore Snorkelling, hiking, boat cruises, kayaking, and diving.
  • 2 nights on Bed and Breakfast Basis at Latitude 13 degrees Hotel or similar in Lilongwe, Activities include; 1 x Tour of Dedza Pottery, KuNgoni Centre of Arts and Craft(Museum, Art Gallery, Showroom and Campus)
  • 2 Nights on Full Board Basis at Cape Mac Lodge or similar Cape Maclear activities includes;(a morning boat cruise, village tour, and sunset cruise).
  • 3 Nights on Full Board Basis at Thawale Camp in Majete Wildlife Reserve inclusive of Two game viewing activities per day( Game drive/ Sundowner game drive/Boat ride/Sundowner boat ride/Bird walk)
  • 3 Nights on full board at Chimwala Camp in Liwonde National Park inclusive of two game viewing activities per day (Game Drive & Boat Safari).
  • 3 Nights on full board at Chimwala Camp in Liwonde National Park inclusive of two game viewing activities per day (Game Drive & Boat Safari).
  • Travels: All Road Transfers throughout the Trip

The Itinerary

safari tour malawi

Arrival in Lilongwe, Malawi

Meet & Greet by Our driver on arrival at Lilongwe International Airport and then transfer to Latitude 13 hotel where you will overnight on bed and breakfast.

It’s a short drive of about 30 minutes check-in and then you will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Cape Maclear on the shores of Lake Malawi

Today you depart for Cape Maclear on the shores of Lake Malawi. On your way, you will have few points to stop and experience a few things.

Dedza Pottery

A pottery centre that makes clay pots and other acts of international standard. Abut87km from Lilongwe as you ascend the plateau, you will have time to visit the showroom, the art centre where they make the different materials and have time to have some coffee with the famous Dedza Cheese Cake.

Golomoti Escarpment

The Golomoti Escarpment acts as walls of the Great East African Rift Valley protecting Lake Malawi from spilling over into the Zambezi Valley. Only 24km long as you descend, you will drop from 1600 metres above Sea Level to just about 700 metres above sea Evel in the Bwanje Valley. As you descend you will experience some of the best views of the valley and Lake Malawi.

KuNgoni Centre of Arts and Craft at Ma Mission

Kungoni Centre of Arts and Craft is an old missionary settlement. The missionaries came to this place in 1902 to set a mission station. Over time the centre grew into a centre of religion in that part of the country. There is now a museum where some of the best cultural artefacts are kept, a showroom where you have some of the best artworks done by the local community and an art gallery where you view some of the best artworks done so far. On this trip, you will be conducted in the museum, art gallery and showroom. You will also have an opportunity to look around the campus hat has lots of vintage buildings and other facilities.

You will depart this centre and head for your last leg of the trip arriving at Cape Maclear later afternoon. You will check-in at Cape Mac Lodge or similar other facilities on a bed and breakfast basis.

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is a freshwater body. It is the 3rd largest in Africa and 2nd deepest in Africa. It is also called the calendar lake because it is 365 miles long with an average of 80km wide. Some people call it “Lake of Stars” because when early European explorers got to the lake, at night they saw fishermen lighting the surface of the lake with their fishing lights that reflected like stars. Lake Malawi has more fish species than any other lake in the world.

Cape Maclear is a beach village on the Southern part of the lake at Namkumba Peninsula. It is described as the best beach in Africa on a lake and one of the best on Lake Malawi. Cape Maclear is part of the Lake Malawi National Park. This Park is considered the first aquatic park in the world that was declared around the 80s. It was specifically declared to protect the Cichlids Fish, a multicoloured fish species endemic to Lake Malawi.

The luxurious lodge is in a stunning location and activities include game-drives, boating safaris, bush walks, hiking Majete Hill, black rhino tracking, cultural tours, birding trips on the Shire River and game-viewing from a hide.

Guests are free to be as energetic or as idle as they please although at least one activity per day is encouraged to best enjoy Majete.

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Full day at Cape Maclear

Today you are full day at Cape Maclear. You will first go on a boat cruise on Lake Malawi. These are local boat engine powered. You will visit Illalla Pass, circle Domwe Mountain, visit Thumbi Island, feed the eagles and cichlids fish, play around the islands, visit Otters Point and head to the historical graves. You will return to your lodge for lunch and some rest. Early afternoon you will do a Chembe Village Tour and return to the beach at about 16hrs for your sunset cruise. The sunset cruise takes you to Otters Point where you moor your boat and just enjoy the sun setting over Lake Malawi. Cape Maclear experiences one of the best sunsets over the lake. You will return to your lodge for your night on a bed and breakfast basis.

Depart for Majete Wildlife Reserve

Today you leave just after breakfast for your trip to Majete Wildlife Reserve.

Majete Wildlife Reserve.

Majete Wildlife Reserve is our southernmost park. It is set in the Lower Shire River, our biggest river in Malawi. The park straddles the river. The most important thing is that this is the only BIG 5 park in Malawi. It has lions, leopards, elephants, Buffaloes and rhinos.

Travelling to Majete is a long distance. You will pass through the Bwanje Plains, go up the Kirk Range and cross the Shire River into the Shire Highlands. You will have your lunch break in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial and biggest city. After our lunch and simple travel through Blantyre, you will proceed on to Majete Wildlife Reserve checking in at Thawale Camp on full board. After checking in you will proceed on your first game activity, an afternoon/evening game drive which will; take you p to 20hrs when you return to camp for your night.

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Day 5 & 6

Full days in majete wildlife reserve.

Today you start your game activities early just after your early breakfast. This takes you for 4hrs and returns to camp around 11 am. You have time to rest and have your lunch. More rest and you go into your afternoon/evening game activity returning to camp around 20hrs for your dinner and night.

Departing Majete heading to Liwonde NP

Today you will have breakfast and your morning game activity then you head to Liwonde National Park. After your morning activity, you proceed to Blantyre, have your lunch in Blantyre and proceed to Liwonde National Park checking in at Chimwala Camp on full board. You will get there in time for your afternoon/evening game activity then back to the camp in time for dinner and later bed time.

safari tour malawi

Day 8 & 9

Explore the liwonde national park.

You will have two full days to explore Liwonde National park with 2 game activities, a boat safari in the morning and a game drive in the afternoon/evening. You will start your activities just after breakfast probably a boat safari.

This is one of the most amazing activities in Liwonde National Park. The Shire River passes through the park. Animals converge on both sides of the river to graze, swim and drink water. This being the only perennial river in the park, this becomes even more interesting and exciting during the dry season when both water and green grass is found in and around the river.

You will do your boat safari in the river, coming in close contact and up loose with both aquatic and land animals. You will return to camp for your lunch, relaxation. Thereafter you will head back to your afternoon/evening game activity then return to camp for your dinner and bed time at leisure.

Departing for Lilongwe

Breakfast then morning activity which will either be a game drive or a boat safari then back to the lodge to check out and depart for Lilongwe .

Passing through and on top of the Kirk Range, you will have time to meet many Malawian communities by the roadside all the way passing through the Malawi/Mozambique Border for a good 80km. You will be arriving in Lilongwe late afternoon. You check-in at Latitude 13 Hotel for your last night on Bed and Breakfast.

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Departure / Transfer to Lilongwe Airport

Today you will have breakfast then check out and depending on your flight time you will be transfered to Lilongwe International Airport.

What's not included

Visa Fees & Person Travel/Medical Insurance Cover - All Flights - Extra Meal (lunch/dinner in Lilongwe) - Extra Activities - Laundry Services and Anything of personal nature - Covid PCR test - if applicable

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  3. What to do and Where to Stay on Safari in Malawi

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COMMENTS

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    Majete Wildlife Reserve. A conservation and tourist site, located in the Lower Shire Valley in southwest Malawi, 70km from Blantyre's Chileka airport and 3 hours from Lake Malawi. Majete's recovery, restoration, and preservation of endangered species have made it one of Malawi's most popular wildlife reserves. Nyika National Park.

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