Malawi tours and safari destinations, attractions, packages, cost and when to go.
Lake Malawi National Park
Lake Malawi National Park which was recognized as a UNESCO heritage site in 1984 is found in the southern part of Malawi and was named after the large fresh water body of Lake Malawi. It covers a large expanse of land that runs through the Marelli Islands and the cape Maclear and other protected water sources like the swamps around. The park is a home to a wide range of wildlife that can be seen in the form of the various bird species, especially water birds and animals.
The best time for visiting the Lake Malawi National Park depends on the activities that you would want to carry out while there for example if you are planning on game drives and hikes around the Park, the best time is during the dry season experienced between April to October but if you are interested in birding, then the best time is during the wet season which starts in November till March.
Majete Wildlife Reserve
Situated only one hour and half away from Blantyre, the reserve is a good getaway for tourists who have less time but would want to explore Malawi at great length. There are two ways that you can use to get to Majete for example driving from Blantyre or flying. For those that prefer flying, there is an airstrip in Majete and the flights can be booked through a local agency.
Majete is open throughout the year and experiences two seasons, the dry season (April to October) and the wet season (November to March). The best time depends on the activities that you would like to carry out while touring the reserve. Activities carried out in Majete wildlife Reserve include community visits, birding, game drives which are done in the morning and in the late afternoon, hiking, nature walks and boat rides along the shire River.
Accommodation in Majete ranges from basic, mid-range to luxury facilities and some of the facilities that you can use include the Thawale Tented lodge, community campsite and the Mkulumadzi lodge.
Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve Malawi Safaris
Located about 150km away from Lilongwe, Mwabvi wildlife Reserve was best known for being the go to place for Rhinos but due to the constant poaching by the locals, the number of animals in the reserve has greatly reduced and at the moment the best activity one can carry out is hiking. Poaching is still a problem at the Mwabvi Reserve but you still get to see animals like the vervet monkey, warthogs, lions, buffalos, impalas and leopards among others. The Reserve has numerous hike routes which you can try out especially during the dry season and you can also do some birding at the Mwabvi River during the wet season when other international birds join the residents.
Mwabvi is the perfect place for adventurous tourists as it offers a good terrain for walking safaris and it is also not too expensive. Mwabvi Reserve can be visited throughout the year although the best time is during the dry season which runs from May to September.
Likoma Island Malawi Tour
The North Eastern part of Malawi near the border of Mozambique has a hidden jewel known as Likoma Island that every tourist should check out while on a safari to Malawi. With a colonial history which is evidenced by the presence of the St Peters Cathedral which was constructed in 1903 by missionaries after being inspired by the explorer David Livingstone, the St Peters cathedral is the 3rd largest cathedral in Africa with beautiful architecture which is similar to the Winchester cathedral. The Island is majorly occupied by fishermen and is surrounded by white sand beaches. The main village on the Island is Chipyela and has more laid back and welcoming locals who are always eager to see new people. The main activities that you can engage in while here include scuba diving, fishing, nature walk, exploration of the cathedral, shopping in the local market, relaxing at the beaches, snorkelling and meeting the locals.
Nyika National Park Malawi Safari
Nyika National Park located in the Northern part of the country is the largest National Park in Malawi. The word Nyika has several meanings some of which are ‘where the water comes from’ and ‘wilderness’ and this is where the name of the National park came from. There are a lot of activities that you can carry out while on a visit to Nyika Park and these are:
Game drives: there is a lot of wildlife that is found within the Nyika plateau and the Park at large and the specials you should look out for include buffalos, elephants, zebras, hyenas, elands and leopards. Due to poaching, many of the animals can easily be seen at the lower slopes of the Park. The best time for game viewing in Nyika is during the warmer months of November to May.
Birding: Nyika is a top birding destination for tourists with over 400 bird species. Bird species found in the Park include the Lesser Kestrel, Mountain yellow warbler, Denham’s bustard and the Blue swallow among others.
Exploring the Nyika plateau: while in the Park, get time and explore the Nyika plateau where you will be able to spot a wide range of animals
Other activities that you can engage in include walking safaris, Mountain biking, camping and trekking among others.
Shire River which flows for about 402 kilometres is the only outlet of Lake Malawi and it is the largest River in Malawi. It flows from Lake Malawi into the Zambezi River which is found in the neighbouring country of Mozambique. As the River flows to Zambezi, it crosses through the floodplains leading to the formation of the lower Shire valley which is known to be the lowest place in Malawi.
The Shire River flows through three different National Parks in Malawi and these are the Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve, the Liwonde National Park and the Majete wildlife reserve and it acts as the main water source in all the three. Many of the wildlife that are the animals can be seen along the banks of the River Shire especially during the dry season for the animals and the wet season for the birds. There are a lot of activities that are carried along the River Shire and these include boat rides while game viewing and fishing among others.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is the oldest game reserve in Malawi and one of the top destinations in Central Malawi. There are several things that will make your trip to the reserve worthwhile like fishing, nature walks and game viewing.
Nkhotakota has the largest number of elephants in the whole country and although most of them were poached to a limited number of just over 100, this is the best place for you to enjoy the views of one of the big five. As you go about spotting the elephants, you need to follow the guidelines set up for you by the tour guides because these large mammals can turn out to be violent when provoked.
You can also enjoy a hike up the Mountain Chipata which can be found in the western part of the Reserve. The Chipata Mountain rises to a level of about 1700 meters above sea level and with the help of a tour guide you can take the hike which is best done in the morning and late afternoon hours during the dry season.
Nkhotakota reserve is also a home to the Bus River where you can enjoy a canoe ride and also go for birding with sights of the Miombo Scrub robin, Boehm’s bee-eater, African harrier hawk, Arnot’s chat, olive headed weaver and the Miombo double collared sunbird among others.
Known as the warm heart of Africa, Malawi is home to the best freshwater diving destinations in the whole world. Most of the scuba diving in Malawi is done on the largest lake in the country which is Lake Malawi and it caters for all categories of divers that is beginners, intermediate and experienced scuba divers. Diving along Lake Malawi is done above 20m although the Lake goes for about 700m and note that even though there are no coral reefs in the area, there is plenty of fish to keep your scuba diving experience a more than once trip.
The best and most interesting time for scuba diving in Malawi is from September to October during the mating season although you can still enjoy the exercise all year round. There are also two main dive shops where you can get your equipment and also book for the scuba slot and these are the Lukoma Island Divers and the Aqua Africa.
Boating safaris in Malawi are carried out in almost all the National Parks in the country and this is possible due to the presence of Rivers and Lakes within the National Parks. A boat safari has been proven to be one of the best ways to watch the animals and birds that live within the various Parks because the animals tend to ignore the boats making it easy to admire and take as many photos of the animals that you need. Most of the wildlife comes to the River banks during the dry season to cool off since they are the major water sources in the National Parks.
Boat rides can be done all year round and the best place to enjoy this adventure is from the River Shire which flows through the Majete Wildlife Reserve, the Liwonde National Park and the Mwabvi Reserve. You can also enjoy boat rides along Lake Malawi in Lake Malawi National park and the Bua River which crosses through the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
Malawi has one of the smallest populations of birds in Africa and the government has recorded over 650 bird species in the different habitats across the country. The birding spots in Malawi are divided into two regions which are the Northern and southern birding spots. The southern birding spots include Liwonde, Lengwe National Park, Zomba and Lake Malawi National park. The Northern birding spots include Vwaza wildlife Reserve and the Nyika National Park.
Bird watching in Malawi can be done all throughout the year but the best time to go for birding is from November to April during the wet season when the migratory birds fly into the country.
Some of the bird specials in Malawi include the African fin foot, Babbling starling, Bat hawk, African Cuckoo hawk, Barred long-tailed Cuckoo, Green twinspot, Dickinson’s kestrel. Brown-breasted barbet, Eastern nicator, Mountain yellow warbler, Pel’s fishing owl, Racket-tailed roller, Olive-headed weaver, Mosque swallow, yellow bill and White’s barbet and many more others.
National Herbarium & Botanic Gardens of Malawi
Located in the North western part of Zomba town, the National Herbarium & Botanic Gardens of Malawi is the authority that deals with all matters concerning botany in the whole country. It has over 90, 000 different plant species and all these species have been recorded which means that the Herbarium is the database for all the plant species that are found in the country. It receives visitors who are mostly interested in botany but you can also enjoy a picnic, book reading and other relaxing activities while here and it is open throughout the year regardless of the season.
Karonga Museum & Cultural Centre
The Karonga museum and cultural Centre located along the shores of Lake Malawi near the border of Malawi and Tanzania was constructed so as to preserve the culture of the Karonga people. The museum’s construction was initiated by the Karonga chiefs and its main aim was to make sure that the future generation does not forget about their culture. The cultural Centre is filled with paintings that are organized in an order telling the story and culture of the Karonga people from as early as the bushmen to present day and there are tour guides who will tell you more about what each painting means and its cultural importance.
The Elephant marsh which is located in the southern part of the Shire alley is a swamp filled with different types of vegetation. It was named elephant marsh by the explorer David Livingstone in the year 1859 when he caught sight of over 800 elephants in the area on the same day. At the moment the elephants are rarely seen because they have been hunted down but it is still a good place for tourists who are into birding as it is a home to hundreds of water birds due to the presence of Lake Chilwa, boat rides and fishing safaris.
Nkhata Bay Tours & Sandy Beaches
Nkhata Bay is found along the western shores of Lake Malawi and it is known to be the dream destination Island in the country. Reggae music rocks up the Island in the evening as you enjoy a bonfire with fellow tourists along the beach. You can also enjoy some water activities like fishing, Kayaking, snorkelling, beach volleyball and not forgetting the delicious food prepared by the locals. If you want to get away from the busy city Centre then the best place to go is Nkhata Bay.
Nkhoma Mountain Adventure Tours
Nkhoma Mountain which rises to an elevation of 5814ft is an hours’ drive from Lilongwe behind the Nkhoma Mission hospital. The mountain is a good place for taking a guided walk especially during the dry season with the walking distance of about 11 kilometres long. A hike up the Mountain will give you clear views of the surrounding areas and it is also a form of exercise for the tourists who love adventure.
There are talks about planting trees around the Mountain with the aim of preserving the environment and the initiative is under the Nkhoma Mountain Conservation.
King African Rifles Monument Trip
The King African Rifles Monument found in Zomba is a red brick monument which was constructed in the remembrance of the Malawi soldiers who lost their lives during the war with the British colonialists. An experienced tour guide is always around to tell you the history of the war that saw many people lose their lives and a trip to the monument will make you feel like you have gone back in time to experience what took place many years ago.
Kumbali Cultural Village
Kumbali cultural village is located just right outside Lilongwe city and it is the perfect place for tourists to learn about the culture of the Malawi people and how their day to day lives. It consists of 12 huts which can house a maximum of 4 people and were constructed using traditional and local materials. Activities that you can participate in while in the village include guided walks, sports like football and volleyball and picnics. The village is also best known for showcasing Malawi’s crafts, music and art.
Lake Chilwa Southern Africa
Chilwa is the 2nd largest Lake in Malawi and a top tourist attraction in the country especially for ecology lovers with Chisi Island right in the middle of the Lake. Strategically located at the border of Malawi and Mozambique, this UNESCO heritage site is a home to a large number of bird species most of which have been killed by the locals but the government came out and condemned these killings so as to preserve the bird species. The Lake and the Chilwa wetland have an estimated number of over 164 bird species and although it has been drying up in the recent years due to fluctuation of rainfall, it is still worth exploring.
Lilongwe Wildlife Centre
Livingstonia Mission found in the Khondowe Plateau in Malawi was set up in 1894 by Dr.Robert Laws as a Presbyterian settlement in the Northern part of the country. The Mission was set up to house a church, houses for people, schools and a hospital and it was named after the famous explorer David Livingstone. The settlement at the moment is home to a museum where you can learn about the history of Malawi, there are education establishments and a lodge offering clear views of the Livingstone Mountain in Tanzania.
Lizulu market is the busiest market in Malawi and is strategically located in the capital city of Malawi Lilongwe. The market has all the merchandise from vegetables, fruits, crafts, clothes, spices and many more other items. It is the go to place if you are planning on doing some shopping for yourself while in the country but you must know that it is a congested and busy place and you need to be ready for the bustle and hustle.
The food and clothes section are separated by the River and are linked with bamboo made bridges.
Lower Shire Valley Malawi Tours
Located in the western part of Blantyre, Lower shire valley is formed at a part where the River Shire joins the Great Zambezi in Mozambique. It is an extension of the Rift valley and the River flowing through these parts while forming a waterfall led to the creation of the lowest areas in Malawi with an altitude which is less than 50 meters above sea level. The floodplains in the area are good for sugar plantations and the shire valley has three major Parks and these are the Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve, Majete Wildlife Reserve and the Lengwe National Park.
12 Days South Luangwa National Park & Lake Malawi Safari Tour
This private tour will take you to southern Malawi, a landlocked country. The itinerary will cover hidden gems within Malawi, Victoria Falls, liwonde park where you will involve in wildlife viewing, excellent diving trips, horse riding.