Malawi

Best time to travel:

  • December to March are the hot and wet summer months. Travel during January and February is not recommended due to the high humidity an increased risk of Malaria.
  • April and May presents a lovely green landscape.
  • May to October is the best time to travel as it is the dry winter season with warm, clear days making excellent beach weather for the lake and good game viewing in the reserves. The higher areas can be chilly in these winter months especially at night.
  • November is an unpredictable as it can be hot and dry and it can see the season’s first downpours. Occasionally on successive days you can see both weather patterns.

Malawi is a beautiful country of tea estates, grasslands, forests, mountaintops, unspoilt wildlife parks and Africa’s third largest and most pristine lake.

Situated on the Great Rift Valley, Malawi is dominated by Lake Malawi, a magnificent shard of crystal water, 365 miles long and 52 miles wide (hence sometimes referred to as the calendar lake).  Around 500 species of cichlids fish inhabit the lake, many of which are endemic to it which makes it a paradise for freshwater diving and snorkelling.  Most of Lake Malawi’s astounding underwater diversity is protected within the Lake Malawi National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  

The wildlife parks in Malawi are picturesque as well as diverse in game.  The fact that Malawi is relatively unknown gives these parks an exclusive feel as there are only a few lodges operating in each. In Malawi you will find some of the most enjoyable hiking routes in the whole of Africa.

Malawi is one of the best places for visitors to meet and interact with the local inhabitants or visit a rural community in an atmosphere devoid of either expectation or affectation. Malawians are never short on smiles and hospitality, making you feel welcome hence the reason that it is known as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’

Areas to visit

  • Liwonde National Park – covering 548 km2 is considered the most prolific, wildlife area in Malawi. The Shire River – the country’s largest river and Lake Malawi’s only outlet dominates the park. A wide, meandering stretch lined by palms and surrounded by flood plains, woodland and parched scrub harbours a dense population of hippo, crocodile and elephant as well as a variety of antelope and bird.
  • Lake Malawi National Park – is the world’s first freshwater Park. It was designated to protect the diverse species of tropical fish. The entire area is a sanctuary where fishing is restricted. The famous Malawi cichlids can all be seen here in abundance.  The Waters in this area are exceptionally clean and the area possesses one of the best swimming areas in Malawi. Boats are available to hire. Inland the park has baboons, antelope, cormorants, mountain rabbit, bush buck and much more.
  • Cape Maclear – is a long stretch of powder-fine sand, bookended by mountains and lapped by dazzling waters of the lake. By day the bay glitters, studded by nearby islands and puttering, crayon-coloured fishing boats.  Kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, walking and diving are all activities to be enjoyed in this area.
  • Nyika  National Park – Malawi’s  largest park is a wild, untouched and remote upland area and has the distinction of being the only big game Afro-montane area in south central Africa. Malawi’s oldest reserve is easily one of the most magical experiences in a trip to the country. The vistas in this park are immense with high altitude grassland the most obvious feature of the Myika Plateau.  Nyika is a botanist’s delight in summer with a variety of wild flowers and over 200 species of orchid. Wildlife includes duiker, roan, warthog, bush pig, elephant, buffalo, zebra and over 400 bird species.   Here one can enjoy mountain biking, trout fishing and so much more.
  • Majete Wildlife Reserve – is a rugged wilderness of hilly woodland and savannah, hugging the west bank of the Shire River. Game in this park include hyenas, sables, nyalas, bushbucks, impalas, servals, civets, zebras, antelopes,  black rhinos,  buffalo, elephant, hippo and leopard. As Malawi’s first Big Five park, Majete is leading the way for the rest of the country. African Parks’ objective is to restore natural areas and make them financially self-reliant; so when this particular park is handed back to Malawi’s Department of National Parks, it will be fully self-supporting.
  • Nkhotakota Game Reserve – located east of Lilongwe, the Capital city of Malawi.  The area measures approximately 700 sq miles of rugged terrain with rivers which flow from the escarpment and into Lake Malawi. Nkhotakota is a beautiful reserve in which to hike, fish, or climb. This reserve however is very difficult to access and accommodation is limited.
  • Vwaza Game Reserve –  offers both good game viewing as well as accommodation. Elephants, Hippos, Antelope and Buffalo can be seen and it is home to approximately 300 species of birds.
  • Likoma and Chizumulu Islands – on the Mozambican side of Lake Malawi, but are part of Malawi. Likoma measures 17 sq km and is home to around 6000 people. Its flat and sandy south is littered with baobabs, and offers a constant panoramic view of Mozambique’s wild coast only 40km away. The island’s main draw card is an abundance of pristine beaches and the activities revolving around them.

Suggested Hotels & Lodges…

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Mumbo Island Camp

Nkwichi