Africa's green heart

Our Guide to

Malawi Holidays

A treasure chest of surprises.

Malawi is a small landlocked country filled with surprises from the beauty of the lake to mountainous grasslands, forests, riverine systems and a portion of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. All of this is found in just 118,844 square kilometres.

It is often referred to as the warm heart of Africa simply because its locals are perhaps the most friendly on the continent and very welcoming of all ages. A highlight to any Malawi safari is certainly meeting Malawians and seeing their life be that rural farmland settings, Lake side fishing villages or cities and towns.   There are so many other highlights too, far more than we can possibly list here without writing pages and pages of content.

This tiny country is a welcome relief after time spent exploring the more frequented African safari holiday destinations.

So here’s just a glimpse on how a Malawi holiday can help you escape your everyday life and immerse you in a truly unique setting.

You may know that Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa. You may not know Lake Malawi is nicknamed the calendar lake because at its longest point it is 365 miles long and at its widest point it is 52 miles wide.

 

A visit to Lake Malawi provides the opportunity to discover remote islands, picturesque shorelines and spectacular sunrise and sunsets not to mention endemic cichlid species discovered as you snorkel the warm waters. There is boating, sailing, diving, snorkelling, canoeing, kayaking, village visits and more on offer to the Lake Malawi holiday maker. If the allure of the lake doesn’t sell Malawi, the fast growing national parks and reserves, unique wildlife, spectacular landscapes and diversity on activities on offer will.

Beyond Lake Malawi holidays there is an impressive line up of national parks and wildlife reserves to visit. Each one is unique with different landscapes and wildlife, showcasing the true Malawi natural beauty.

With so much to choose from, what are you waiting for?

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Coastline, Malawi
Mukulumadzi, Malawi
Chintheche Inn, Culture, Malawi
Chintheche Inn, Biking, Malawi
Boating, Malawi
Elephant, Malawi
malawi Holiday
Syle Eagle fishing lake, Malawi
Kaya Mawa, snorkelling, Malawi
Kuti Plains, Malawi
Kuti Sunset, Malawi
Mvuu Lodge, Malawi
Guluwankulu dust, Malawi
malawi holiday
malawi Holiday
malawi holiday
malawi holiday
birding safari Malawi
diving Lake Malawi
Images courtesy of Malawi Styles and property owners

More on Malawi Holidays

Facts and figures are not for everyone. So we will keep this brief and interesting, mixing up some statistics and our take on Botswana.

Where is it and what should one expect.

A landlocked country located in Southern Africa, a Malawi safari holiday can take you to remote national parks teeming with wildlife and birdlife, mountainous grasslands of Zomba plateau and Mulanje to islands, tea estates and peaks that would satisfy the adrenaline and summit seekers. Did you know one of Malawi’s major exports is tea and the country sells to Twinings, PG Tips and Five Roses. Here is a little more on what you can expect on a holiday to Malawi.

How to get around Malawi

Thanks to a basic road system, Malawi self drive holidays are a possibility now than ever before. There is so much to see and do so you will need a decent amount of time on a self drive holiday around Malawi.

Malawi air safaris remain top choice because roads are not the best and time can be spent on holiday rather than in transit.   Light aircraft companies fly from airstrip to airstrip on set schedules and private charter Malawi holidays are also growing in popularity.

Who would love a Malawi holiday?

This is a sensational option for those seeking a honeymoon in Africa. It offers stunning accommodation in remote and romantic settings from deserted islands, lake side shores, mountains and forests. Overlook crystal clear waters of Lake Malawi, relax by the fireplace or soak in your hot tub in the chilly Nyika Plateau where air temperatures drop, mountains rise and a Malawi safari awaits.

If you are thinking about adventure travel to Africa then Malawi should be on the list. Here you can get off the beaten track, climb mountains frequented by few tourists, swim in waters away from crowds, witness unique wildlife in spectacular wilderness settings and receive the most friendly service along the way… every day.

Malawi family holidays are also brilliant because so many of the properties are owner run with families themselves – makes for an immersive experience and your children will have life long memories and perhaps pen pals like we had all those years ago.

Fascinating History

Beyond the lake, a Malawi safari holiday can take you to remote national parks teeming with wildlife and birdlife, mountainous grasslands of Zomba plateau and Mulanje to islands, tea estates and peaks that would satisfy the adrenaline and summit seekers. Did you know one of Malawi’s major exports is tea and the country sells to Twinings, PG Tips and Five Roses.

Malawi has five national parks and Liwonde National Park offers one of the densest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. Its elephant population grew so much that a massive translocation had to take place in 2016 to ensure the survival of the greater herd. It saw 250 elephants moved to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, made famous by Prince Harry who accompanied conservationists and elephant teams. This is a birding safari paradise with over 300 different bird species. There are also plains game, buffalo and black rhino in the park. The wilderness is explored and wildlife spotted whilst on game drives and boating safaris along the Shire River.

Majete Wildlife Reserve is part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and one of the greatest success stories in wildlife protection. It is the only place in Malawi where you have the opportunity to spot the Big Five throughout the year. Its vegetation is woodland, dry savannahs and a mountainous backdrop. Game drives and walking safaris get you close to Malawi safari wildlife.

Nyika National Park is home to zebra and antelope plus smaller mammals. It boasts the highest population of leopard in central Africa and is a birders paradise with more than 400 species. The region features endless hills, breathtaking views, valleys of woodland and forests, rivers and waterfalls. Nyika means where the water comes from. Plant life is abundant with 3000 species and 200 orchid species. It goes beyond the traditional safari holiday mould and offers mountain biking along the plateau, walks to Neolithic rocks, trout pools and lakes plus the game drives.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is the oldest in the country and was once home to some 1500 elephants. Poaching saw this figure plummet to less than 100. Now days thanks to conservation efforts, the reserve has become an elephant sanctuary and remains home to other wildlife and prolific bird species, some 280. This is a natural paradise for those seeking an awesome bush experience and with game drives, walking, fishing and canoeing on offer the activities keep you busy and enthralled in this special paradise.

In Malawi, you can spend your days on safari in remote bushlands, snorkelling in clear waters, sailing on dhows at sunset and lazing around at intimate lodges tucked away from the tourist trail, one is even located on your own private island! This tiny country is a welcome relief after time spent exploring the more frequented and oversized African safari holiday destinations.

 

Liwonde National Park Safaris

Malawi has five national parks and Liwonde National Park offers one of the densest concentrations of wildlife in Africa.

Its elephant population grew so much that a massive translocation had to take place in 2016 to ensure the survival of the greater herd.

It saw 250 elephants moved to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, made famous by Prince Harry who accompanied conservationists and elephant teams.

This is a birding safari paradise with over 300 different bird species.

There are also plains game, buffalo and black rhino in the park.

The wilderness is explored and wildlife spotted whilst on game drives and boating safaris along the Shire River.

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Liwonde Safari
Liwonde birding Safari
Liwonde Safari crocodile
Liwonde Safari hippo
buffalo on Liwonde Safari
elephants on Liwonde Safari
Liwonde Safari monkeys
Liwonde Safari
waterbuck on Liwonde Safari
Liwonde Safari zebra spotting
Images courtesy of our guests, staff and property owners

Majete Wildlife Reserve Safaris

This is part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and one of the greatest success stories in wildlife protection.

Majete Wildlife Reserve is the only place in Malawi where you have the opportunity to spot the Big Five throughout the year.

Here, the vegetation is diverse with woodland, dry savannahs and a mountainous backdrop.

Game drives and walking safaris get you close to Malawi safari wildlife and guides are outstandingly knowledgeable, passionate and super friendly!

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Majete Safari Malawi
Majete Safari in Malawi
Images courtesy of our guests, staff and property owners

Nyika National Park Safaris

Home to zebra and antelope plus smaller mammals, Nyika boasts the highest population of leopard in central Africa and is a birders paradise with more than 400 species.

The region features endless hills, breathtaking views, valleys of woodland and forests, rivers and waterfalls.

Nyika means where the water comes from. Plant life is abundant with 3000 species and 200 orchid species.

It goes beyond the traditional safari holiday mould and offers mountain biking along the plateau, walks to Neolithic rocks, trout pools and lakes plus the game drives.

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Nyika safari Malawi
Nyika safari Malawi
Nyika safari Malawi
Nyika safari Malawi
Nyika safari Malawi
Nyika safari Malawi
Images courtesy of our guests, staff and property owners

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Safari

Welcome to the country’s oldest reserve that was once home to 1,500 elephants.

The rugged terrain of rat 1,800 square kilometre reserve is criss-crossed with rivers that tumble over the escarpment and flow towards the lake. Birding is prolific with 130 recorded species.

Tragically poaching saw this figure plummet to less than 100. Now days thanks to impressive conservation efforts, the reserve has become an elephant sanctuary once again and remains home to other wildlife and prolific bird species too, some 280.

This is a natural paradise for those seeking an awesome bush experience and with game drives, walking, fishing and canoeing on offer the activities keep you busy and enthralled in this special paradise.

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activities in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Malawi Style Bua lodge
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Tongole Lodge
canoeing from Tongole Lodge
Stunning Malawi holiday landscapes
canoeing at Tongole Lodge
Birding safari Malawi
Elephants of Malawi
accommodation in Malawi Tongole Lodge
game drive at Tongole Lodge
walking safari Malawi
luxury accommodation Malawi
Images courtesy of our guests, staff and property owners

Lake Malawi holidays

We couldn’t ignore the beauty of Lake Malawi. A holiday at Lake Malawi affords you time to relax, unwind, snorkel in clear waters, sail on dhows at sunset and sip on cocktails overlooking one of Africa’s greatest Lakes.

Discovered by Dr David Livingstone more than 150 years ago, this jewel in the country’s crown is a must see if you get to Malawi. It’s a massive fresh water lake fringed by beaches of golden sand.

Watersports abound like sailing, kayaking, water skiing and then there is the snorkelling and diving. Dotted with fishing villages you also get a wonderful insight into local life.

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malawi holiday
diving Lake Malawi
diving lake Malawi
birding safari Malawi
Lake Malawi water activitie
wildlife at Lake Malawi
birding safari Malawi
lake Malawi watersports
beach volleyball Lake Malawi
lake Malawi swimming
Senga Bay accommodation Lake Malawi
canoeing on Lake Malawi
canoeing on Lake Malawi
Images courtesy of our guests, staff and property owners

Malawi lesser known

Kasungu National Park is little known and yet hugely rewarding for its archaeological sites and rock paintings. You will also see elephant, antelope, zebra, hyena, jackals and leopards if you are lucky plus Lifupe Lake is home to hippos.

Lengwe National Park on the banks of the Shire River is prolific with birdlife, another highlight for Malawi birding safaris. It is a small park just 900 square kilometres and home to nyala, buffalo, kudu and vegetation is unique due to lack of perennial water sources. Woodlands are dense along the steam and yet become dry thicket as you move onto the flat and arid areas. The few water holes in the park are abundant with wildlife during the dry season.

Vwasa Marsh Wildlife Reserve is just 1000 square kilometres and Mwabvi Wildlife Reserves is Malawi’s smallest just 135 square kilometres. Despite the size of these parks, you can see beautiful habitats from woodland to open savannahs and rivers plus a decent amount of plains game. Mwabvi was the last natural home to black rhinos before they were poached. Now you need to visit Machete on your Malawi safari to see rhino in the wild.

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Best Time to Visit Malawi

Malawi can be visited all year round without issue. It’s a relatively tropical climate so hot days and balmy nights are common. Depending on where you are in Malawi, the temperatures can vary slightly with altitude.

Winter months of May to October are characterised by warmth by day and cool air by night (cold if you are higher in the mountain area). Winter is also dry season which causes less disruption on your day to day. Wildlife safaris are at their best because the vegetation starts to lose its lushness and animals start to congregate around perennial water sources. May to August are moderate and dry.

Summer runs from November to April so your days are hot and rains do fall at times, transforming the landscape into a beautiful rich paradise

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Conservation in Malawi

Malawi has been working hard to improve the wilderness tracts of land and return wildlife to natural habitats after decades of poaching.

Within five years, the reserve has seen 2000 animals introduced and now is home to over 4000 animals including the big five. There are 300 species of birds so it is a bird safari paradise with several raptors, vultures, eagles, migratory birds and rock pratincole.

Another effort to combat poaching and return wildlife species to wilderness areas was the 2016 elephant relocation program. Malawi moved 250 elephants from two of its national parks, Majete and Liwonde to Nkhotakota, well documented thanks to Prince Harry visiting Liwonde to assist in the relocation. There are another 250 on the move.

Lake Malawi National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and it is home to 1000 species of cichlid with the vast majority endemic to Malawi. It is a protected area and strict embargoes apply to activities and fishing on the Lake to reduce pollution and prevent species impact.

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