Into the Heart of Africa
In the very heart of the African Continent lies Malawi, one of the smallest African countries, hemmed in by Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. Divided into three regions, North, Central and South, all of which offer a diversity of experiences, landscapes and adventures to suit everyone.
A country well-known for its pristine sea-like lake and perfect beaches of lake Malawi. However, there are many hidden secrets throughout the country that are well worth a visit, from the Liwonde National Park, vibrant green tea plantations to Malawi’s highest peak, Mount Mulanje.
South of the lake lies Liwonde National Park, known for its vast elephant herds, beautiful birds and the black rhino. The Shire River cuts through most of the park, with its banks covered in lush vegetation large hippo pods and the stealthy crocodiles lurking the waters are easily spotted by boat or on safari.
Game drives explore the park's expansive floodplains which are ideal grazing grounds for many interesting antelope species. Night safaris also offer the chance of seeing the nocturnal predators from hyena to serval cats. This reserve as well as the Majete Wildlife Reserve are well known for their brilliant bird watching, with over 300 resident and migrant species found soaring the skies or fluttering in the branches below. The Majete is also a big-five reserve and offers sunset cruises, game drives and walking safaris without the large hustle of safari crowds.
Otherwise known as the ‘Sea of Stars’ Lake Malawi stretches over 560km and is lined with some of the best beaches in Africa with many fascinating villages dotting the outskirts.
There are many activities to book onto on from kayaking to diving. The lake is a popular snorkeling and diving destination, with many colorful endemic fish living in the lakes waters.
There are also many tiny islands scattered across the lake that are ideal for a secluded island retreat.
Mountains, Plateaus & Plantations
Found at the southern tip of Malawi, stands the country’s tallest mountain, Mount Mulanje. over 3000m high this dramatic peak not only offers incredible landscape views but it has many hidden gems to see, from waterfalls to rock formations, explore it on foot or by 4x4.
Acres of tea plantations scatter the country’s landscape and the Satemwa Tea Estate that was built in 1937 now exports many varieties of tea all around the world. Take a tour around the estate and taste some of the finest teas in Africa.
One of the oldest parks in the country, covering over 3,000sq km, is the Nyika National Park. This is also the largest park in the country and its main attraction is its plateau, with its sweeping wide valleys, wildflower grasslands and vast pine forests, this part of Malawi offers some of the most spectacular views in the country.
When to go
There are two seasons in Malawi, the dry and the wet. The dry season starts from may May and goes through to October. From May to August the temperatures are cool with bright sunshine and fresh evenings. Going into September the weather starts to change and the temperature start to rise and remain high throughout the rainy season, which runs from November to April.
The countries heaviest rains often fall in December, January and February. Due to Malawi's varied landscape and elongated shape, regional variations in weather are quite significant. The lake shore in the low-lying areas are warm all year round, while the highlands temperatures are refreshingly cool in the day with chilly evenings; particularly in winter.
January / February: Migratory birds from the Northern Hemisphere are evident in all of Malawi's National Parks this time of year and birding is spectacular; particularly in Nyika National Park.
April / May: Species of antelope are in rut during this time and spectacular clashes between the rival males can often be observed in the National Parks. In May, the crocodile courtship season begins in Liwonde National Park and Majete Game Reserve.
June: In the Liwonde National Park, elephants group together in the around the Shire River for easier access to water and the more nutritious vegetation along the water’s edge.
August: Possibly the best time of year to visit Lake Malawi, where the temperatures are perfect for watersports or relaxing in the sun.
September: The Lake of Stars Festival starts in late September. This three-day annual festival takes place on the shores of Lake Malawi, featuring musical acts from the UK and Africa.
November / December: This is the start of the vivid emerald season which usually coincides with the arrival of many migrant birds who return from the less hospitable climates north of the Equator.
Nyika National Park
Satemwa Tea Estate
Liwonde National Park
Majete Wildlife Reserve
English is the official language in Malawi, however there are two main indigenous languages still wildly spoken – Chichewa and Chitumbuka.
Tipping is not compulsory in Malawi but always enthusiastically received if you are happy with the service and choose to tip.
Usually the recommended rate for guides is around U$5 per guest per day.
The currency of Malawi is the Kwacha. The exchange rate fluctuates and we recommend that you check the exchange rate close to the time of your travel.
Credit cards are rarely accepted even at many of the lodges, and there are few ATM machines in the country. We recommend to take plenty of US dollar cash with you in order to pay locally for drinks and extra activities at your lodge.
It is respectful when meeting local people to say hello and ask how they are as properly greeting a Malawian is very important.
There is a fairly large Muslim population in the country and so women may feel more comfortable if they keep shoulders and knees covered when walking around outside of the lodge.
Malawians are friendly people and love to shake hands, and you should oblige them out of respect.
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is needed for entry into Malawi if you are coming from a yellow fever endemic area.
Check with your doctor about immunisations for Malawi prior to travel.
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