|When to go|
Liwonde National Park
|When to go|
|When to go|
Often referred to as the Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi is one of those exciting destinations which offers a huge variety of reasons to travel to the country – the fabulous Lake Malawi, diverse and stunning landscapes, superb wildlife and birding, fascinating cultures and lots of opportunity to stay active
Relatively new to tourism in comparison to its bigger and more recognisable African counterparts, Malawi’s diverse landscapes, including a number of good game parks, have remained unspoilt. This combined with a breadth of activities, things to do, and things to see, truly allows you to observe and experience African wildlife, culture and shear magnificence at its most authentic and peaceful.
Dive the depths of Lake Malawi, climb the peaks and take in the stunning views from Mount Mulanje, stay at a working tea plantation or visit Malawi’s Nyika Plateau in the north of the country - Malawi has something to offer everyone. Add in some really good wildlife and birding to the mix - 4 x 4 safaris, walking or boat safaris – and sailing, kayaking, snorkelling, water-skiing, cycling, art safaris, pottery courses and yoga – just some of the different and unique selection of activities on offer.
Or simply chill on the sandy shores of Lake Malawi - the third largest in Africa, making it more an inland sea than a lake. One of the main appeals of Malawi as a tourist destination is the unique safari experience it provides. An abundance of wildlife makes viewing incredibly rewarding, and with limited concessions operating in each reserve, safaris are quiet and relaxed experiences.
For many, the country’s people are its greatest attraction; friendly, welcoming, colourful and vibrant, they propel Malawi from merely a tourist destination to a must visit country. Opportunities to spend time in local villages add another dimension to your African visit and a multitude of community-led initiatives provide insight into the traditional, authentic culture of Malawi’s people.
Although the tourist infrastructure remains small scale, the standards are high, allowing you to discover every aspect of the country on your holiday - from pitching a tent under the stars to luxury lodges overlooking the crystal waters of the lake. In many locations you will still be the only guest for miles!
Malawi’s nine national parks and wildlife reserves offer game viewing and tracking as it should be - intimate, exclusive and abundant. Each park has a maximum of just two lodges, so you can view the Big 5 without the crowds. The Parks and Reserves cover a great variety of landscape and vegetation types and include areas of genuine unspoilt wilderness.
In the north are the unique and beautiful highlands of the Nyika Plateau National Park, and the low lying Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve. Central Malawi has two vast game areas: Kasungu National Park in the west and Nkhotakota Reserve in the east. The latter, straddling the rugged and untouched wilderness of the Rift Valley Escarpment, has only recently been developed to accept visitors, but with that comes a sense of real wilderness.
In the south is Liwonde, the most established National Park in the country which offers prolific game viewing along the River Shire. There are also three game areas further south in the Lower Shire Valley: Lengwe National Park and the wildlife reserves of Majete and Mwabvi. Majete is a remarkable conservation success story, having been successfully restocked into a thriving Big 5 reserve. Near the southern end of Lake Malawi is the world’s first freshwater national park at Cape Maclear. This is one of Malawi’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Malawi is also an ornithologist’s paradise. Few countries in Africa can rival Malawi’s range of bird species, coupled with the relative ease of birdwatching. Around 650 species have been identified with over ten per cent not being seen in other parts of southern Africa. Best known is the fish eagle to be seen at the Lake and along the River Shire. But the greatest variety of animal species is to be found under water, with Lake Malawi a real life aquarium that is home to around 1000 species of tropical fish – a number unsurpassed anywhere else in the world.
Lake Malawi – the Rift Valley’s Lake of Stars
Home to the world’s first freshwater National Park and covering a third of the country, Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa. Although a lake of crystal clear fresh water its size and depth gives it a sea like appearance with one side rarely visible from the other, and a shoreline of idyllic golden sandy beaches lapped by gentle waves. The Lake is a real-life aquarium and home to up to 1000 species of brightly coloured tropical fish, many unique to the Lake. Far from hiding away, these fish will swim around you and swim up close!
This vast body of freshwater provides a wide range of water sport opportunities for those looking for something beyond sun, sand and swimming. A range of accommodation is dotted along its length, mainly small friendly lodges and hotels - but to suit all budgets and interests. From luxury lodges and yacht charters to rustic camps on deserted islands, all have their own piece of paradise and offer plenty of activities to keep you occupied. Equally, they all offer a truly relaxing beach experience - often in complete seclusion.
Lake Malawi’s approximate dimensions are 365 miles north to south and 52 miles broad, hence the nickname ‘the calendar lake’. The Lake, in the north, is quite extraordinarily deep at 2300 ft/700 m, plunging well below sea level. This reflects the enormity of the natural faulting of the Great Rift Valley, which is the origin of the Lake. Access to the Lake is possible along much of its length but it should be noted that it is usually necessary to take a short detour off the main roads in order to reach the beach. There are long stretches of totally uninhabited golden sand lakeshore, lapped by crystal clear waters.
You can easily combine a safari in Malawi with some time relaxing by the Lake. Alternatively, air and road links are good between Zambia and Malawi - why not let us design you a safari visiting the South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi or Kafue National Parks in Zambia with Lake Malawi and see the best of both countries.
If you would prefer to travel in a small group please ask us about our small group safaris to Malawi!
We have recently travelled throughout the whole of Malawi visiting the remote Nyika Plateau in the north, Nkhotakota Reserve in the east, and extensively around the south of the country experiencing the parks, reserves, wildlife, lodges and tea estates. We have stayed at many of the lodges and islands in and around Lake - talk to someone who has been there!
Call us on 01386 830264 or email [email protected] to start planning your African adventure!