Malawi is a thin, long beautiful country outlined by the great rims of the East African Rift and its natural features such as Lake Malawi, caved mountains and the numerous game reserves attract large number of tourist all year round. Holidaymakers fascinated in game viewing, snorkeling and kayaking as week as interested in learning about the African culture visit this country annually coming from different parts of the country.
Below we bring you the best things to do and best places to visit while on holiday in Malawi
Lilongwe was declared as Malawi’s capital and it is the economic hub of the country which over the years has undergone extensive infrastructure development. Although it doesn’t have much glamour to offer tourists, money holidaymakers flying into Kamuzu International airport normally make stopovers here. it has several local venders that sell ornaments and woodcarving within the Lilongwe crafts market where tourists normally buy some souvenirs.
Chintheche is found on the northern shore of Lake Malawi and it is ranked among the most spectacular beaches in the country offering soft white sand and its tropical surrounding will give you a sense that you are away on one of the beautiful tropical islands on a large sea. The very clear waters offer the perfect conditions for enjoying several beach and water activities such as swimming making it a perfect weekend getaway popular among long and foreign holidaymakers.
This is the leading tourist attraction in Malawi and it covers an area of 29,600 sq km with a depth of approximately 300 meters making it one of the deepest lakes in the world as well as Africa’s third largest lake. Previously it was referred to as Lake Nyasa and its home to over 1000 types of cichlid fish that vary in size and color. It is said that this lake has the biggest number of fish species on the planet, and many of the local people in Malawi manage to earn a living from this lake through vending the fish.
The Bandawe Mission, found in the northern part of Malawi is among the first Christian missions constructed in the country. This was the second effort by a dedicated follower of David Lingstone – Dr. Robert Laws to set up a Livingstonia Mission. Just as it was at Cape Maclear (their initial location) the missionaries here were stricken by malaria and the few who survived had to relocate to the Khondowe Plateau found further north. Some of the remnants you will find at this site include several graves and a church.
Found on the Khondowe Plateau, the Livingstonia is one of the ancient missions in Maliwi and it was third establishment by Dr. Robert Laws built in 1894 as a Presbyterian settlement. Today this building houses a museum as well as a lodge, and because of it location it offers breathtaking views of the Tanzania’s Livingstone Mountains as well as the Chitimba Bay.
When you visit this city you may mistake it for the capital Lilongwe as there are several hotels, a major airport and the number of restaurant. Previously it was a main trading center for different items like ivory and today you will be impressed by the large number of industrial sites and factors which have greatly contributed to the financial stability of Malawi. there are a number of places to pick you souvenir during your visit here such as the crafts market Downtown where you look find several silver decorative bowls, furniture and masks.
Kande Horse Stables
If you have a passion for horseback riding, then a visit to these stable is a must. You will get an opportunity to ride through the beautiful countryside, through the verdant Brachystegia forest and even go into the lake while on horseback. There is a luxurious lodging facility on the property so in case you are spending the night you will have a good experience in the nice guest rooms.
Salima town and Senga Bay
Salima is the eighth largest town in Malawi and it serves as one of the main trading center in the country across the central region. The Senga Bay is found approximately five (5) miles east of the town of Salima along the shore of the lake. The Bay offers a number of accommodation resorts ranging from budget to luxury properties and over the weekend, and receives a very large number of visitors on leisure and business. Fish farm tours, different water sports and fishing village tours are common here.
Karonga found in the northern part of Malawi is popularly known as a resort town and it receives a large number of holidaymakers all year round. Back in the 19th century, this town was a well known hub for the malicious slave trade. Today there is a museum in which you will find a framework of bones belonging to a Malawisaurus dinosaur plus several other prehistoric items worth learning about.
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT)
The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust is a wildlife rescue plus rehabilitation center that offers refuge to injured as well as orphaned animals; and also sensitizes the locals about the importance of wildlife conservation. Many wild animals have been rescued from poachers and illegal trade, and during your visit here you will be able to see some of the resident animals such as Kamuku – a leopard and Bella – a lion.
Mzuzu town is the northern Malawi industrial capital and over the recent years has undergone speedy development. This town is best known so it’s sweet scented Arabic coffee that is locally available in the different supermarkets as well as served in most of the restaurants across the country. Although it does not have so much with regards to tourist attractions it is a common stopover by many holidaymakers driving to Nyika National Park
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Covering an area of 1800 sq km, the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve has a unique terrain comprised of several rives cutting through its densely forested floor and these serve as habitat to various animals like: buffalo, lion, elephant and several birds. Some of the common tourist activities conducted here include: bird watching, canoe rides on River Bua and Walking safaris.
This harbor is a vibrant local fishing center found close to Mzuzu town and has a very busy crafts market where you will be able to see a number of local artists handcrafting and painting various beautiful pieces which are well displayed in the various tents along the street. among the items available for sale here are: personalized key holders, decorative bowls, native sets, chief chairs, necklaces and chains among many others.
Mount Mulanje is a must visit for persons interested in hiking and climbing with its highest peak – Sapitwa standing at a height of 3000 meters. it is regarded to be the highest point across South Central Africa. The mountain is surrounded by large tea plantation, Mulanje town, Mulanje golf club and the Likhubula forest reserve which are all options for holiday makers to explore. There are a number of different accommodation facilities that can be found in Mulanje town where persons interested in an overnight stay can go
Nyika National Park
Located up on the khondowe Plateau, Malawi National Park is the largest national park in the country and its varied habitant is home to a great variety of animals including spotted hyenas, leopards, lions, zebras and the roan antelope in addition to more than 420 different types of birds. Recently sightings of the Lichtenstein’s heartbeats, lion and elephant have been recorded in this park.
Majete Wildlife Reserve
This wildlife reserve has made great efforts towards wildlife conservation as well as sustainability and since 2003 several species such as the black rhino, the leopard and elephant have been reintroduced here to make it home to the big five animals. Since then, the population of these animals has greatly flourished and today tourists can enjoy a variety of activities such as guided game drives, bush camping, village tours, self-drive tours, bird watching and River safaris.
Vwaza Marsh wildlife reserve
Located close to the border with Zambia this is one of the best places to enjoy a bird watching Safari in Malawi. Its terrain comprises of swamps and thick forests making it a perfect habitat for about 290 different types of birds and in the dry season animals like hippos, elephants and buffaloes maybe seen.
Liwonde National Park
Covering an area of 548 sq km, this among the popular game parks in the country and it’s terrain which comprises of swampland, grasslands and woodlands is home to a very large number of animals including the bushbuck, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, leopards, sable antelope, baboons and warthogs, in addition to over 300 different types of birds such as Lillian’s lovebird, The fish eagle and pel’s fishing owl.
This is Malawi most elevated town standing at a height 1600 meters. On your visit here you will be able to enjoy sweeping views of the countryside below including sightings of the Dedza Mountain. The Chongoni Rock art area is the leading attraction in this town and has several paintings have been discovered here a number of which are dated to the Stone Age era. Today the ancient tradition of Dedza pottery remains alive with a number of local Craftsmen seen working the clay to transform it into beautiful ceramic items such as jars, pots, tiles, vases, and different cookery and dinning wear available for sell.
The Zomba Plateau is home to a number of exotic birds and several fascinating natural wonders. there are various tourist activities conducted here such as hiking, souvenir shopping at Zomba crafts market as well as visiting Queen’s View and Emperor’s View which are the Malawi’s most popular viewing areas from where you will enjoy sweeping views
Visit the Carlsberg Brewery
As many may know, Carlsberg is a Danish beer brand but back in 1968 it started production and distribution of their product in Malawi and this was the first Brewery of Carlsberg to be constructed out of Denmark. Today Carlsberg Malawi brewery limited plays a very significant role in enhancing Malawi’s economy and welfare not only through contributing to the GDP but also through enforcing descent treatment of all employees. The products available on the market in Malawi today include Carlsberg green, Carlsberg elephant, Carlsberg Stout, Carlsberg light, Carlsberg special Brew as well as kuche kuche. They offer tours to visitors who visit the brewery.
The Kungoni Center
This center is found with the Mua mission which was established by the Catholic missionaries back in 1902 was dedicated to art and culture. the Kungoni center which has turned into a community of traditional performers, local carvers and painters that work in its carving workshop was started up in 1976. It has a botanical Garden, campsite as well as the Chamare museum that has a prized collection of different masks of Malawian origin.
Kasungu National Park
Located close to the border with Zambia, this National Park is much loved among birdwatchers and people interested in exploring the unique flora and fauna of Malawi. The wildlife here was faced with a challenge of poachers however a number of animals such as the Leopards, hippos, jackals and zebras have been sighted again game.
Ntchisi Forest Reserve
This verdant forest patch is found in Ntchisi Mountains and it has a number of scattered rural villages surrounding it. It is a good place to go for hiking and bird watching adventures and nature lovers will see several types of flora including different fruit trees, figs, wild mushrooms and orchids to mention just a few.
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.
Malawi is a small Southeast African country and is landlocked bordered by Tanzania in Northeast, Zambia in West and Mozambique in the West, South, and Southwest. Malawi’s topography is characterized by the highlands in divided by the rift valley, Lake Malawi and some savannah grass lands since the country is found in the Sub-Saharan region. The altitude of Malawi varies since the landscapes are different such as the plateaus, forests, mountains, lakes, highlands, and escarpments among others. The country’s climate is sub-tropical type of climate whereby it is strongly seasonal and moderately dry; there is a warm-wet season that starts from November to April and during this period there is 95% of annual rainfall.
Malawi’s capital is Lilongwe and its national language famously spoken is Chichewa and English. The total population is 18.09 million people as per 2016 census of which it could have increased over time. The citizens of Malawi are friendly people and the culture is just beautiful and awesome.
Malawi is famously known for Lake Malawi which dominates the country, Lake Malawi has lots to offer to the tourists such as the spectacular landscapes, rich culture, interesting wildlife; these entirely make Malawi a wonderful and beautiful place to visit.
ATTRACTIONS AND WHAT TO DO-MALAWI.
Lake Malawi is the country’s most popular attractions, it is the second deepest and third largest in Africa and the ninth according to size in the world. It is located between Mozambique and Tanzania, and it is also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania and Lago Niassa in Mozambique. Lake Malawi was discovered over 150 years ago by Dr David Livingstone who was a missionary-explorer. Lake Malawi is home to many fish species including over 700 cichlids species, it is a fresh water lake surrounded with golden sand beaches so with this various water sport activities like snorkeling, water skiing, Kayaking, sailing, diving can be done on this lake. This lake is classified into two parts; Lake Malawi (South) and Lake Malawi (North).
Lake Malawi (South) this part of the lake is very famous and it’s near the country’s commercial city, Blantyre. This part is endowed with beautiful scenery and various attractive spots for Malawi tours such as Monkey bay, which also have various accommodation facilities like Campsites, lodges and cottages. Also certain annual festivals like the Lake of stars music festival is carried out at Nkopola Sunbird lodge, also water sports are done in this area. Lake Malawi (North), this part less populated and less developed compared to the Southern part of the lake, there are different historical sites in the towns of Karonga and Livingstonia, and it is advisable to visit this part during the dry season. While here you can stay at Dwangwa, Nkhotakota, Nkhata Bay among others.
Most good lodges are found between Monkey Bay and Mangochi, and Mangochi has the highest number of hotels and lodges. The lake is also endowed with beautiful beaches; swim, chill and relax!
Lake Malawi National Park.
Lake Malawi National Park is found in the southern part of Malawi just where Lake Malawi ends. It was established in 1980 and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. This is the world’s first freshwater national park and covers an area of 94 km2. The park covers a large scale such as; the Cape Maclear, Marelli Islands and further other Islands on the lake, it was established to protect fish and other aquatic habitats so while here you can see an aquarium of tropical fish which is a very beautiful and colorful display of fish.
The park is also home to different wildlife such as baboons, hyrax and antelopes; birds like hammer cops, fish eagles, and cormorants are not to miss out. There are also various tree species found there such as the large Baobab tree that is believed to have existed for ages is one to see, it is also said that under this tree its where Dr. Livingstone used to give his speeches and sermons together with other missionaries. You can also do activities like yachting, walks and also sail on the lake.
Lodging facilities are very good such as the lodges at Cape Maclear, Norman Carr Cottage is a good accommodation facility, the Blue Zebra Island Lodge among others. Visit Lake Malawi National Park today!
Liwonde National Park
Liwonde National Park is Malawi’s most famous and leading wildlife park covering an area of 580 sq km (220 sq miles). It is situated approximately 160 km north of Blantyre in the southern part of Malawi at the tip of Lake Malombe and along the banks of River Shire. The park was proclaimed in 1973. Liwonde does not have the Big game just it is other African other National parks, but still the wildlife found there is just great.
The park is home to large herds of elephants, other animals are hippos, crocodiles which are found in the floodplain grasslands, and in River Shire, there are also spotted hyenas, zebras, leopards, kudus, waterbucks, warthogs, reedbucks, impalas, vervet monkeys, yellow baboons, visiting lions. Also there are over 400 bird species such as the Fish Eagle, Saddle-billed stork, the Brown-breasted Barber, Pel’s Fishing Owl, and the African Skimmer. The park is also endowed with hills that are covered with mixed woodland and dry deciduous thickets, there are also riverine thickets and seasonal streams; all these provide a beautiful scenery to the park.
The best time to visit the park is in the cooler dry seasons. Activities that visitors can do are boat safaris, game drives, nature walks, and most lodges organize these activities for visitors. Most visitors that visit Liwonde National park, stay at Mvuu lodge (luxury), there are also other affordable lodges and campsites such as Bushmen’s Baobab, Liwonde Safari Camp, Mvuu camp and a campsite among others. In case of need to travel the park with air, you can book a flight since the airstrip is near Mvuu lodge.
Liwonde National Park is an attraction not to leave out especially if one is planning a Safari in Malawi.
Nyika National Park
This national park covers an area of 3200 sq km and is the largest national parks in Malawi and practically covers Nyika plateau in North and other areas. The word Nyika means “where the water comes from” other meanings are “short grassland” and “wilderness”. The park has lots to offer such as the beautiful landscape that with grasslands and wildflowers; there are over 400 bird species such as the wattled crane, the red-winged francolin (endemic to Nyika) and the rare Denham’s bustard among others. Other attractions include the Neolithic shelter, waterfalls like the Chisanga falls and trout pools also magic lakes can be seen.
While in the park also explore the Nyika plateau. It is an amazing raised land that ranges between 2,100m and 2,200m in height and its highest point being 2,605m. Mainly Nyika National Park is made up of the Nyika Plateau since it covers about 3,000 sq km; it is comprised of rolling hills, broad valleys, streams, and grasslands which gives it very beautiful scenery. The plateau is a habitat for over 200 Orchid species, there are various animals like Zebras, duikers, leopards, elands, lion antelopes, and there are also very nice butterflies.
Enjoy a number of activities while in the park like trekking, mountain biking (on the Nyika plateau), nature walks among others. About the lodging in the park; the Chelinda Camp was renovated and now provides quality facilities also other lodge. You can access the park by the road or by air.
Lilongwe is Malawi’s largest and capital city. The city is located in centre of Malawi, near the Zambia and Mozambique borders; it is divided into a New and Old city where by the New city has markets, cafes, bus stations, restaurants and more modern buildings and the Former(old) city hosts embassies, governmental institutions, hotels, different offices and it is a much more lively town. The population in Lilongwe is 1 million and more and it is lesser than that in Blantyre (which is the country’s commercial city).
Lilongwe has been in existence for very many years and started as a small fishing village on the banks of Lilongwe River until it went on developing throughout the British colonial rule when it was recognized as a town in 1947, so its name was derived from ‘Lilongwe River’.
Lilongwe lies on an altitude of 1,050m above sea level; this is because it is on the plateau in central Malawi. Lilongwe has two seasons; season that goes through December to March, the long dry season is left for the rest of the year though months June and July are cooler. The city’s temperature is lower due to its altitude. Lilongwe is a good place to visit while on an African safari-you can visit the Lilongwe wildlife centre, visit cultural centers that always have local Art shows, tour the tobacco auctions. There are different restaurants in both the old and new towns and lots of accommodation options.
Tobacco auctions are located 7km north of the Lilongwe city, it is the world’s largest producer of burley tobacco, tobacco auctioning season is mainly between April and September which is the best time for visiting, and it is fun to watch this process where tobacco is bought, sold and bought again to the outside market. The tobacco auctions are held in vast warehouses in Lilongwe and those in Limbe. The industrial area can be accessed by use of various transport means like taxis, mini buses among others.
Mulanje Mountain is a vast granite massif located 65km east of Blantyre in the South of Malawi. The highest point of this mountain is called Sapitwa peak at an altitude of 3,002m. The mountain was first climbed in 1894. The massif is comprised of gently sloping grasslands at altitudes between 1800–2200 m; crossed by deep forested narrow valleys. The Massif is famously known for climbing and hiking, as well as different mountain huts distributed across it; they are managed by the Malawi Forestry Department and Malawi Mountain Club. There are various hiking routes that which give an unforgettable experience. While here enjoy the delicious scent of Mulanje cedar around the fireplace. The starting point of hiking is at Likhubula, the best time to climb Mount Mulanje is between May and October. A night can be spent at Likhubula Forest Lodge which is near the starting point- it is easier to start the hike early.
Likoma Island is in fact located in the waters of Mozambique but still in a Malawian region. On this island you find the cathedral constructed in the early 1900’s. There are various beaches on the island with beautiful resorts such as Kaya Mawa. It is a very nice place for chilling and relaxation, it is less crowded- it is a peaceful area fit for walks, visits to the markets, visits to local villages, also water sports like kayaking can be done. There are scheduled flights to the island from Lilongwe and also Likoma can be accessed by boat or the by MV Ilala which heads to the island once a week, this is a fun experience on the waters.
The Zomba plateau is a vast block rising to around 1800m greatly covered with pines, cedar and cypress. The plateau is a unique and wonderful feature with incredible views- such as beautiful waterfalls, lakes, dams among other amazing features. Zomba plateau is located in the old capital city of Malawi, it is home to various wildlife such as baboons on lower slopes, leopards (but they are rarely seen), it harbors birds like the Augur buzzard and the long-crested eagle, you can’t miss out on seeing beautiful giant butterflies-these are all seen while having walks or driving.
The best way to access Zomba plateau is by using a taxi or car and the high and steep places are accessed by climbing and hiking, this is an amazing experience as you enjoy the cooler conditions and the spectacular views on this plateau. Other activities that can be done in this area are; visiting the old city, cycling, standing under the waterfalls, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding.
Lodging around the plateau includes the Ku Chawe Inn, found at the edge of the mountain; there is a big camping site for those interested in camping.