Malawi as a country has become one of the best safari destinations in Africa. This landlocked country is strategically located in the south Eastern part of the African continent and is bordered by Tanzania and Mozambique. The country has many safari destinations that all have unique attractions and that is why it is now on top of everyone’s bucket list which means you will be missing out if you do not plan your safari to Malawi soon.
A safari to Liwonde National Park
The Liwonde National park is located in the southern part of Malawi and is surrounded by a dense forest making it one of the best top safari destinations in the country. It is also considered to be the country’s jewels when it comes to the plants and animals that are found in the Park and some of the animals that are found in the Park include hippos, elephants, Warthogs, Nile crocodiles,, bushbucks, baboons and water bucks. Other activities besides game viewing that can be carried out in Liwonde National park include trekking, bird watching, walking safaris through the park and exploring the nearby villages as you interact with the locals.
A safari to Nyika National Park
Nyika National Park is located in the Northern Part of Malawi in the Nyika Plateau. There are several activities that you can carry out when you take a trip to Nyika National Park and some of these include trekking through the park, bird watching, day and night game driving where you get to see the numerous animals that reside in the Park like warthogs, lions, leopards and hyenas, Roan antelope, Zebras, porcupines, . As you head down to the Nyika Park, make sure that you park warm clothes because it often gets chilly especially during the night drives.
A safari to Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi is the largest lake in malawi and the third largest Lake in Africa making it almost the size of the country Belgium. A safari to the Lake will give you a chance to see many qaua life and enjoy all that the Lake has to offer in form of activities like boat riding, fishing, snokerlling, kayaking and biridng. The Lake is also surrounded by different mini Islands which ar worth visiting especially for those who are into learning the culture of Malawi and those that want to get away from the busy city cnetres. Your sfari to Malawi will be incomplete if you do not visit the largest Lake in the country aslo known as the Lake of stars.
A safari to the Majete wild life Reserve
Majete wild life resreve is located in the southern part of Malawi and it wa set up to preserve the almost extinct animals thata were being poached on. Some of the animals that you get to see when you visit the Majete wild life Reserve inlcude the Sable antelope, buffalos, elephants, the black rhinos, the hartebeests, lions cheetahs, crocodiles, waterbucks and leopards. Some other actvities that are carried out in the Majete include trekking through the Reserve and biridng.
Lake Malawi National Park
Lake Malawi National Park is located in the southern part of the country and near the famous Lake Malawi. It was declared a UNESCO heritage in the year 1984 and it is the first fresh water body in the world. The Lake Malawi National Park is a home to many wild life species that is both animals and birds and some of these include baboons, antelopes, African fish eagles, Zebras and many more other animals. You can also trek through the park and go for birding at the Lake Malawi and also get to visit the Islands that are near the Park.
A safari to Lengwe National Park
The Lengwe National Park is located near Majete and it was established in the year 1928. It has a lot to offer to tourists as there are several tourist activities that can be carried out while here and some of them include birding where you get to see various bird species that habitate in the park like the snake banded eagle, geese, both night and day game drives through the park which provide you with a chance to get to see some animals like leopards, lions, jackals, hyenas and elephants.
A safari to Kasungu National park
Kasungu National park was once one of the top National Parks in the country but due to the constant poaching by the locals, it became a former shadow for its self but it still has a lot to offer to the tourists. Some animals are being re-introduced into the park and there are also some other activities that tourists can carry out when you visit Kasungu National Park and these include enjoying the wild walks around the Park, trekking, exploring the villages as you get to know more about the locals and birding. The animal species that can be found in the Kasungu National Park include Zebras, hyenas, buffalos, hippos, jackals and many more others.
A cultural safari to Malawi
Malawi is a country that is known for her unique culture which is practiced all over the country. There are many languages that are spoken in Malawi but not to worry many of the locals can easily communicate in English. There are many communities that you will be able to visit to understand and learn more about the cultural practices that Malawians practice and learn a thing or two about why they are practiced and you might even get a chance to learn their languages for easy communication with the locals.
A safari to the Mountains in Malawi
Malawi does not have a lot of Mountains to visit but the ones that are available will give you a good run for your money. The jagged stones provide the perfect place for one to take hikes especially for the adrenaline fans and some of these mountains are near major National parks which also gives tourists time to go and explore the National parks at length. Some of the Mountains that are good for a safari in Malawi include the Mulanje summit, the Vitumbi Mountain, Matambale Mountain, Nakodzwe Mountain, Khuto Mountain and many more others that are scattered across the country.
A safari to Chimwenya Game Park
The Chimwenya Game Park is located in the south Eastern part of the country and can easily be viewed from the Blantyre city. The game park is a home to numerous animals some of which include hyenas, leopards, the roan antelopes, the Kudu, elephants, zebras and it is also a home to a variety of bird species that can be seen in the different bird habitats that are found in the park.
A safari to the Chimwenya game park will also take you to the Buvumbwe Lake where the many animals in the park go for water and you can exercise your fishing skills form here and relax at its banks ass you watch the animals go about their business.
A safari to Blantyre
Blantyre is a town that is located in the southern part of the country and is one of the oldest in Malawi. It was constructed by the Scottish missionaries in the 80s when they settled in the area so that they could easily preach. The city was also a stopover for many slave traders back then and at the moment it is the commercial Centre for Malawi. The Blantyre city has both Malawians and Asians living in the same area and some of the tourist attractions that you will see when you visit Blantyre include Museums where the history of Malawi is safely kept, the St Michael and all Angels’ church and the society of Malawi Library making it a perfect get away for many tourists.
When to go for a safari in Malawi
Malawi is an all year round destination for safari lovers but the best time to visit normally depends on the activities that you want to carry out when you visit the country.
The best to for a game drive safari in Malawi is the dry season. Since most National parks experience the dry season, many animals move around the Park in search of food and water which is not possible during the wet season and the road are also easily accessible during the dry season.
Tourists also get a chance to trek through the different National parks during the dry season and see as many animals as they want during this time. But note that most animals hunt at night and that is why most game drives take place at night and you will not be allowed to access most of the tourist destinations in the country if you do not have a tour guide.
The best time for birders to go for a safari in Malawi is during the wet season. The wet season ushers in migratory birds from the neighboring countries which increases the number of birds that you can view while in the country.
Things to do in Malawi
Malawi is a fine destination for all those that want to experience Africa in a new away and this is due to the fact that it has a lot of tour destinations that will leave not wanting to go anywhere else but stay in Malawi. There are several activities that you can carry out as a tourist once you visit the country and some of these include:
Experience the Malawian culture through music
Malawi is known for her beautiful culture and this can be experienced when you visit the different parts of the country. The best ways on how you can enjoy the culture is by joining in the many music festivals that are prepared by the locals in the country. These festivals are prepared on different days but they are always fun to watch and once you get the chance of joining one of them, you will be more than mesmerized.
Some of the best festivals that you can attend include the Ufulu festival, the Blantyre Arts festival and the largest music festival on the continent that is known as the Lake of stars festival. With the way the locals love their music and dance, feel free to join them and get a life time experience.
Take a walk around the Likoma Island
The Likoma Island is located near the Likoma Lake which is located in Mozambique. Getting to the island is a bit easy and you can use either a small tourist plane or use any of the boats that sail along the Likoma Lake. While at the Island, you get to enjoy the beautiful beaches, fishing activities, explore the St Peters church and admire the unique stones that were used during the construction of the church and get to enjoy the evenings with the locals as you learn more about their culture.
Learn more about the Karonga culture
The Karonga people are so proud of their culture that they portray it to anyone who passes through their small community and that is why they advocated for the construction of the Karonga cultural museum where the young blood in the clans and tourists get to know more about their past, present and how their culture has evolved. When you enter into the museum you will be welcomed with paintings on the walls that depict time from the mediaeval times of dinosaurs to the current times and the beauty bout this is that when you follow the paths even without a tour guide, you get to understand how life for the Karongas has been.
Enjoy the local food in Malawi
What better way to experience what Malawi has to offer other than by enjoying the delicious food that is prepared by the locals? There are a lot of savory dishes that every tourist deserves to taste and these can be got from the various restaurants that are located in the different parts of Malawi.
Explore the Lake Malawi
Take time and follow the footsteps of the renowned explorer David Livingstone who first discovered the Lake in the 19th Century. Lake Malawi is the largest Lake in the country and it is one of the best natural wonders to visit while in the country due to the many things that you get to see when you are there that is the aqua life like the different species of fish like Tilapia and chambo fish, take boat rides on the Lake, enjoy fishing with the locals, see the different bird species that can be seen lounging around the Lake and you can also relax at the beach as you enjoy watching the birds and doing all the other beach activities.
Besides enjoying the beautiful natural haven that it provides to the tourists, it is also a good place for the locals who use the water from the Lake for domestic use and also fish in order to get food and therefore it is important for the locals. And while there you can visit the islands around the Malawi Lake and these are the Bird Island, the Mumbo Island and the Likoma Island.
Take a trip to the Leper tree
The leper tree is located in the Liwonde national park where an interesting history about Liwonde is. The story about how the name the Leper tree came about is told by the locals and tour guides and it all came about when the local people were infected with leprosy and they didn’t want to infect anyone else. Therefore many people who had been infected and those that had already died of the disease were pushed into the tree and when you take a walk around it, you can see many skeletal remains of all those that faced the same fate.
Visit the Nkhata bay
Nkhata Bay also known as the gateway to the islands is one of the places that you visit and carry out numerous activities while on a tour in Malawi. It is located on the shores of the Lake Malawi in the Western part and the activity that is mostly carried put her is fishing. Get a better feel of reggae music and other activities that you can carry out like snorkeling, fishing, kayaking and enjoying the local food that is prepared by the locals and also get to relax from the busy life of the city on this laidback Bay.
Trek up the Mulanje Mountain
Mountain Mulanje is one of the top destinations in Malawi and it provides some of the best experiences which come up with the numerous activities that can be carried out around the Mountain. The major activity is hiking and there are several tour guides who will help you when it comes to hiking up this 3000 meters high Mountain. As you trek up the Mountain you get to see a few wild animals that have taken to living here like the antelopes, unique vegetation and birds that live up in the Mountain. And after hiking up the Mountain, feel free to relax at the Licheny River which is located just right next to the Mountain.
Explore the National Parks in Malawi
There is only one way that you will be able to enjoy the National Parks in Malawi is by taking a stroll through them on foot. Malawi has a lot of National Parks that are located at the different parts of the country and these offer you a good view of the many animals and birds that habitate within the walls of these national Parks. Some of the major National parks that you can explore include the following:
The Liwonde National park
This is located in the southern part of Malawi and has numerous tourist attractions that are found within ranging from wild life, birding and the vegetation. A visit to the Liwonde Park is a god experience for all those that love nature and the best time to visit depends on what you want to do. Animal viewing is best done during the dry season and birding is done during the wet season.
- The Lake Malawi National Park
The Lake Malawi National Park was made a UNESCO heritage site many years ago making it one of the top destinations in the country. The National Park has a lot to offer like the wild animals, several bird species and there are also trek routes that allow you to clearly admire the Park at full length.
- The Kasungu National Park
The Kasungu National Park is the second largest National Park in Malawi. The activities that can be carried out here include wild life viewing although at the moment the number of animals has greatly reduced due to the constant poaching form the locals but it still offers a great experience in the wild especially at night, you can trek through the park, enjoy birding and get to meet some locals that live around the park.
Shopping in Malawi means that you are going to buy different things like farm produce, locally designed products, clothes, art craft and any other products that you would want to purchase before leaving the country. If you have never seen so many fresh farm products in one place, then that means you have never visited Malawi and therefore you should do so. There are several markets that you can go to for shopping and you will be welcomed by many jolly women selling farm produce and some of the cities where farm produce markets can be found include Zomba city, Lilongwe and Mzuzu city.
A visit to the markets will give you ample time to get to know more about the locals as you will be communicating with them during the purchasing process and remember to go with all the bargaining skills because you will need them in order not be over charged.
There are still many exciting activities that have not been mentioned and the only way to experience them is by packing a bag and heading straight to Malawi.
Frequently asked Questions on Malawi
Do I need to get a visa to go to Malawi?
Whether you need a visa or not will depend on the citizenship of your passport for instance Nationals from Britain do not require a visa when going to the country on a short visit. Other countries which require visa to enter the country should obtain it before arrival in Malawi or on arrival at the entry points into the country such as the airports and these include nationals of New Zealand, United States, Australia, Canada as well as Schengen member states. A fee of 75 US Dollars is required to be paid by the Malawian government for one to obtain a short visitor’s visa.
British nationals don’t need a visa for a short visit to Malawi. However, the Malawian government has announced that it intends to introduce a visa regime for British visitors (and nationals of other countries that charge a visa fee for Malawian nationals) from 1 October 2015. This is also the case for Spanish passport holders. Visas are up to you to get in advance. Please check with your nearest Malawian high commission for more information.
Your passport should be valid for a period of at least six (6) months from your date of departure from Malawi and must have two (2) blank pages.
Do I need Travel insurance when visit Malawi?
It is highly recommended that you obtain a comprehensive travel insurance that will cover your medical repatriation and trip cancellation and shortening for your safari in Africa. That way you will not be bothered by a possibility of loss of, money in case you have to cut short your trip or even cancel it before going as a result of sickness. You should make sure that it also covers your luggage inn case of loss of damage as well as cover the different safari activities that you will be engaging in.
What is the best time to visit Malawi?
Malawi is considered to be among Africa’s all year round tourist destinations, however, the dry season which runs from late April to the start of November is considered as the best time of the year to have a holiday in Malawi. During this time of the year, most of the country is dry and the vegetation is thin offering clear views of wildlife. It is the best time for game viewing in the different parts of the country. This is also considered the peak tourist season when the country receives the largest number of foreign holidaymakers so we highly recommend that if you are visiting during this time of the year you book your safari at least four (4) months earlier. Budget travelers however are advised against visiting during this time since most of the accommodation prices are high.
How is Malawi’s climate?
Malawi experiences a sub-tropical climate and the country has three major season which include the cool and dry, the hot and wet as well as the hot and dry seasons.
The Cool Dry Season:
This runs from July to August and most of the days are cool and dry, with some windy spells in the month of July. It is considered a good time to visit Malawi, and the number of tourists is high during this time. A travel tip is to carry a warm sweater or jacket for the cold evening and early mornings (especially f you are going on an early morning game drive)
The Hot Dry Season:
This runs from August to Mid- November, and by September the occasional windy spells have stop and the heat begins to build up. this is a good time to take a safari in Malawi. Most of the vegetation becomes sun burnt and when you visit the national parks during this time of the year, you will enjoy very clear views of wildlife considering the fact that most of the water holes have dried up and the animals only congregate in large numbers around the few remaining permanent water hole.
Lake Malawi can also best be visited during this time as the water is clear, calm and the water temperatures are favorable.
Hot Rainy Season:
This begins from late November all through to April with the country experiencing several storms. It is generally wet, many of the roads in the remote areas become impassable and the female anopheles mosquitoes are very many which increases the risk of catching malaria. a number of accommodation places may b closed to the bad condition of the access roads so in case you are planning to visit during this time of the year, it is very important that you first confirm whether your preferred accommodation facility is in service.
Do I need any vaccinations before going to Malawi?
All travelers visiting Malawi are advised to check with the Malawian high commission while in the home country to get the latest medical advice before traveling. None the less there are a number of vaccine shots you are recommended to be up to date with such as polio, tetanus-diphtheria, varicella, measles-mumps-rubella, as well as hepatitis A and typhoid.
Is Malawi a high risk Malaria Country?
Yes, especially during the wet rainy season, there are so many female anopheles mosquitoes which spread malaria. So if possible it is better to refrain from traveling during this time. When visiting Malawi you are highly advised to visit your doctor back in your home country so that he can prescribe for you a malaria prophylaxis.
Below are some tips on how to prevent malaria in Malawi
- Sleep under a treated mosquito net (most hotels provide these)
- Take your malaria prophylaxis as prescribed by the doctor
- Use an insect repellent
- Wear long sleeved shirts and pants especially in the evenings to avoid mosquito bites.
What is the time zone of Malawi?
The time Zone in Malawi is GMT + 2 hours which is similar to most countries in southern Africa.
What is the electricity current and what plugs are used in Malawi?
Malawi runs on an electric current of 230 volts at 50Hz and uses the standard 3 pin rectangular plus. We highly recommend that you carry your personal adaptors although majority of the hotels provide the.
If you are carrying your personal electrical gadgets such as hair styling tools like hair dryers, flat irons among others ensure that they are dual voltage and once in Malawi do not forget to adjust the voltage.
Can I use my Cell or mobile phone in Malawi?
Today most of Malawi has Mobile-phone network coverage although it is not everywhere. GSM 900 is the most prevalent cell phone service offering the widest network coverage across most parts of the country and fortunate is compatible with majority of the international cell phone operators.
Is there internet connectivity in Malawi?
Yes, majority of the big hotels and resorts offer internet access on their properties and when you visit the big towns you will realize that there are several internet cafés where you can access internet to get in touch with your people back home.