Malawi Travel Guide

PureTravel Says

"Although travelers often overlook the African country of Malawi, it is slowly growing in popularity. This small country is made up of miles of forests and lakes that are overflowing with rare wildlife. Lake Malawi offers a relaxing place to unwind and enjoy the activities on offer, while the hills and plateauxs offer the more active visior plenty of options for trekking and cycling."

Malawi Holiday Highlights

Wildlife & Safari Holidays - Thanks to an abundance of forests and other natural surroundings; Malawi is a great place to view game and wildlife. Some of the most rare animals can be found in the country, with many different tours and safaris available to visitors. The country’s many national parks and wildlife reserves also offer great places to explore nature.

Culture & History - Like many African countries, Malawi is deeply rooted in tribal traditions. There are several small towns throughout the country that house museums, churches and other structures that showcase the culture of the area. There are still many markets still in tact that offer authentic keepsakes and ethnic foods to let visitors see the creativity of the locals. Details below.

Walking & Trekking - Thanks to a large number of plateaus, Malawi is a great place for trekkers to visit. There are also several small mountain ranges and large rock outcrops that offer great walking and mountain climbing options. These different terrains make Malawi a diverse and interesting place for trekkers, who will also enjoy the bountiful wildlife that can be seen easily from the trails.

Water Sports - Although Malawi is a rather dry country, it is still home to Lake Malawi. In fact, some of the most common watersports can be done here thanks to the presence of both beaches and lakes. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities that are made better by the opportunity to explore the many species of fish and coral in the waters. Kayaking, sailing and water skiing are also popular attractions in the lake regions of the country, which offers more versatility to the experience.

When To Go

Malawi is a relatively warm country so the best months to visit to ensure a comfortable climate are from May to July. These are the driest times and are cooler than others as they are considered the winter months for the country. Due to the cool breezes known to occur, these months are perfect for game searching and trekking. Even water sports are popular during these months, since the rain season runs from November to March.

Top Tips

  • Respect the religious traditions of the natives, many of whom are Muslims.
  • Modest dress is encouraged in mountain and tribal areas.
  • Check with your government’s travel advice for areas to avoid for travelers.

Malawi Holidays In Focus

Wildlife and Safari Holidays - Malawi’s wildlife and game searching is among the best in all of Africa. Some of the most rare wildlife is found here, in addition to some great safari opportunities. Thanks to the many national parks and wildlife reserves found throughout the country, much of this wildlife is preserved and travelers are able to view animals in their natural habitat. There are also several rare species of tropical fish and birds found in the lakes and forests.

The national parks and nature reserves in Malawi are the best places to explore game. In fact, many of these parks offer great nature tours that are a safe and informative way to view the animals. Some of the most popular of these parks are Liwonde, Nyika, Vwasa Marsh and Lengwe. The Kasungu National Park is another popular site that is especially popular for elephant viewing. Oftentimes, visitors can watch the animals drinking right from the rivers, where buffalo and antelope often join them. Possibly the best part of visiting these national parks is the ability to see game in an unspoiled environment. In fact, these areas are also very popular for trekkers who enjoy the most natural of surroundings.

However, these magnificent game animals aren’t the only things worth exploring in Malawi. The country also boasts an impressive list of rare fish and birds, many of which are very difficult to see in the wild. In fact, some of the most rare species of eagles and kingfishers can be found throughout the country, namely in the Mangochi area. A great place to explore this type of wildlife is at one of the freshwater national parks, such as Lake Malawi National Park. This park offers great snorkeling and scuba diving tours that allow visitors to see the fish up close and personal. Monkey Bay is another popular spot to explore these animals, namely vervet monkeys, which are very friendly and interesting animals.

Culture and History - Malawi’s culture is one of the most enriching draws to the country. The relatively unspoiled land has kept the history of the country well preserved, with many areas still housing tribes and lacking modern technology. However, with the many untouched areas of Malawi, there are also bustling markets and beautiful churches that allow visitors to explore the many different layers of the country.

The markets of Malawi are one of the best places to discover the flavor of the country. These markets house various foods, spices, and arts and crafts to showcase the culture of the natives. One popular place to find these markets is in the town of Nkhotakota, which is one of the oldest market towns in Africa. This city, which is located right on the lakeshore, was originally a main center for slave trade. Today, the market is one of the liveliest in the country. Nkhata Bay is another popular market location that is a popular place for souvenir shopping. Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, is another popular market town. Often called the “Old Town” this city offers more modern markets than some of the other areas, but they are no less authentic. Here, architecture is a popular draw.

There are many towns in Malawi that offer more modern touches that include museums and churches. One of the most popular of these towns is Blantyre, which is the largest in the country and the most commercial. Here, one can find the National Museum and the Madala House, which is the oldest building in Malawi. The Michael and All Angels Church is also a popular site. Another church worth checking out is the Anglican Cathedral located on Likoma Island, which was built by missionaries over 100 years ago.

Trekking and Water Sports - Although sometimes overlooked, the trekking and water sports opportunities in Malawi are great. The many plateaus and mountain ranges offer wonderful trekking opportunities, with several areas to choose from. Thanks to the warm climate, the water stays at a comfortable temperature throughout much of the year, providing a great place to explore the water.

Malawi’s trekking opportunities are numerous. The Nyika Plateau is the most popular area for this activity, although many others are also available. The Viphya Plateau and the Zomba Plateau are also popular for trekkers. For those wanting a bit of a challenge, try out Mount Mulanje, which is the highest mountain in central Africa. Other slopes to check out are Chiradzulu, Dedza, Michiru and Ndirande.

Thanks to the ideal climate and offering of both lakes and ocean access, Malawi offers great water sports for visitors to try out. Snorkeling and scuba diving are the most popular beach activities, while sailing, skiing and kayaking take up the majority of the time in the lake areas. The bountiful number of tropical fish in the ocean adds to the appeal of the beach activities, and Lake Malawi, in particular, is a popular place to participate in on the lakeshore. Travelers should definitely not miss the large lake that runs through the rift valley, covering the entire country.

Fishing - Fishing is also a popular activity in both the lake and ocean areas, where one can find a good bit of salmon, lake tiger and yellow fish, in addition to other rare fish. Lake Malawi is a good choice, and has more fish in it than any other lake in the world, including some of the most rare fish around.

Classic Itineraries

  • Trout fishing on the Nyika Plateau in Chelinda or on the Zomba Plateau.
  • Check out Mzuzu, where two of the best game searching regions are found, including a national park and wildlife reserve.
  • Birding. Malawi has 100's of colourful birds in its different terrains. A specialist bird tour will take you to many of these.


Local Operator Tours

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