Malawi Travel Guide to the Best Malawi Holiday Destinations in the country. Find the perfect location to suit your needs, from relaxing Lake Malawi holidays to wildlife safaris.
Malawi is known as the "warm heart of Africa" and the people are considered to be some of the friendliest in the world. The country is dominated by the great Lake Malawi, which covers one fifth of the country. It is often referred to as the calendar lake, being 365miles long and 52 miles wide.
This being the case, it is unsurprising that most of Malawi's attractions are centred on the lake, which is home to the greatest diversity of fresh water fish species in the world, with over 500 species of Cichlids alone. The lake therefore has some of the best freshwater diving in the world.
Some of the best diving and snorkelling
takes place around Cape Mclear
in the southern region of the lake, while Nkhata Bay offers some of the best diving in the northern area. Other popular diving areas include sites around Domwe Island
and Bird Island. Nkhoakota on the central lakeshore of Lake Malawi is one of the continents oldest towns, and it used to be a major centre for the slave trade in Africa. This town has many important historical sites connected to the slave trade.
The main commercial and industrial hub of the nation is Blantyre, which is located in Southern Malawi. The capital, Lilongwe is centrally located in the country and makes a great base when setting off to many different tourist destinations. The bustling town of Mzuzu, serves as the base from which to explore the northern regions of the country.
Depending on where you go in Malawi, you can have a very different experience. The Southern parts of Lake Malawi are more built up, are more accessible; and cater more for tourists. The northern regions are remote, lush and rather inaccessible, with remnants of tropical rainforest, meaning that tourist destinations offer really wild and untouched Malawi safari experiences.
There's more to see and do in Malawi than explore the lake. One of the greatest attractions of southern Malawi is Liwonde National Park
, through which the Shire (pronounced Shiree) River flows. The park is famous for its large population of Elephants, and numerous pods of Hippo and many Crocodiles.
Liwonde National Park offers one of the best safari experiences in Malawi
, and is the only park where guests can see the Big Five, as there is a nearby sanctuary that is home to some Black Rhino. Visitors might also like to take a hike up Mount Mulanji, go rock climbing and discover the many diverse ecosystems of this mountain.
The tea estates in the Thyolo region
, up on the escarpment above the Shire Valley in southern Malawi; offer a stunning glimpse into the impact of colonial life in the region and what an important commercial crop tea is in the region. Spend a morning watching the workers hand pick tea on the local estates. Unlike in Asia, most of the pickers are men. Visitors can admire the still beauty of this region, and enjoy a cup of tea grown right there on the estate.
The Thyolo Forest Reserve offers many scenic hiking trails
, with fascinating plants including many different species of orchids. There are many trails that are popular with birding enthusiasts, as there are many different species of birds in the region, such as the rare Green Headed Oriole.
The Zomba Plateau
is well worth a visit, and is perfect for an overnight stop over especially if you are driving from Blantyre to Liwonde. Zomba was the capital of Malawi up until the 1970's and is a lovely city with many interesting historical buildings. The plateau above it offers fantastic panoramic views over the countryside.
Northern Malawi is more remote and secluded
, compared with the South and access and transport is more of a challenge, but this allows visitors to really get away from it all. The Nyika Plateau has been likened to the Scottish highlands, with many misty hills and steep escarpments, waterfalls and dams. The area is rich in wildlife
, including Bush Buck, Zebra and Roan antelope, and is known for its birdlife; there are also over 200 species of orchids.
Livingstonia, named after the explorer and missionary David Livingstone, is a wonderful base for fantastic hikes, during which visitors can see some of the many waterfalls in the region
. The town also has some beautiful colonial architecture.