Malawi Travel Guide: The Warm Heart of Africa

Explore Malawi and experience the UNESCO Lake Malawi, safari in Liwonde National Park, and the warm-hearted Malawian people.







Malawi Travel Guide

Malawi's reputation as the "Warm Heart of Africa" is not merely a slogan; it's a way of life. The genuine friendliness and hospitality of the Malawian people create an atmosphere of warmth and acceptance.

One of the most prominent features of Malawi is Lake Malawi, the third-largest lake in Africa. With 10 National Parks and wildlife reserves, such as Liwonde National Park and Nyika National Park, visitors can encounter a range of wildlife, including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and diverse bird species.

The capital city, Lilongwe, and the commercial hub, Blantyre, showcase the urban side of Malawi. These cities offer a mix of modern amenities, markets, and cultural attractions, including museums and historical sites. 

Malawi is also known for its tea plantations, especially in the Thyolo and Mulanje regions. You can take a guided tour to learn about the tea-making process and enjoy the scenic beauty of the plantations, surrounded by panoramic views that make every sip of Malawian tea a moment to savor. 

Start exploring Malawi now!

Table of contents in this Malawi Travel Guide:

Interesting Facts Malawi

  Flag of Malawi

Malawi country flag

  Malawi's National Animal

Thompson's gazelle

 Malawi Dish
Nsima, made from maize flour mixed with hot water and kneaded until thickened

 Currency in Malawi

Malawian Kwacha or Dollars

 Malawi Time Zone
Central Africa Time Zone or EAT (GMT+2 hours)

Best time to visit Malawi

The optimal time to visit Malawi depends on your preferences for exploration and wildlife observation. Malawi boasts a consistently warm tropical climate, making it a year-round destination. To avoid rain, consider traveling between March and November.

The country knows 3 seasons:

  • Cool, Dry Winter season (June to September/October): This period is ideal for safaris with minimal rainfall, abundant sunshine, and clear skies. In this high season you can expect increased prices, but exceptional game-viewing as animals gather around water sources. 
  • Hot dry summer season in October and November; Be prepared for  high temperatures of 30+ degrees
  • Green rainy season from December to March/April. January and February mean lots of rain which will treat you with lush green parks, phenomenal light, and dramatic skies; great conditions for travel photography and bird-watching.

Looking for the best places to stay for a safari in Malawi?

Things to know before you travel to Malawi

Safety in Malawi

Malawi is generally considered a safe and welcoming destination for travelers. The country, known for its "Warm Heart of Africa" hospitality, offers a friendly environment. While incidents are infrequent, it's advisable to practice standard safety precautions, such as being mindful of belongings, respecting local customs, and staying informed about health recommendations.

Do I need a visa when traveling to Africa?

Visa requirements for Malawi

All foreign nationals require a visa to travel to Malawi. Apply for your Malawi eVisa through the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services. This is the only authentic Visa Application Portal for Malawi visas and it costs $50. Avoid other (fraudulent) portals where you’ll pay much more for your visa! It's still possible to get a visa on arrival for Malawi, but it's very quick and simple to apply for a visa online. This is what you need: a passport copy, a recent passport-size photo, and a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Travel Choices for Traveling to Africa

Responsible Travel Tips in Malawi

Much like other African countries, responsible travel in Malawi involves making mindful choices that benefit local communities and the environment. One key aspect is the selection of accommodation, favoring locally owned eco-hotels that prioritize sustainability and community engagement. Choosing local guides and tour operators is another crucial step in responsible travel. Opt for those not only working with local communities but actively involved in teaching and supporting them to create sustainable independence. This ensures that tourism income contribute to the empowerment and well-being of the local people.

Which vaccinations and antimalarials do I need for Africa?

Vaccinations & anti-Malaria tablets for Malawi

The necessary vaccinations for Malawi depend on your activities, destinations, and duration of stay. Typically, travelers require Hepatitis A and TDAP, with Hepatitis B recommended in certain cases. A Yellow Fever certificate is mandatory for obtaining a Malawi visa. Malaria is prevalent; safeguard against it with repellents, nets, and antimalarials. Wearing long pants and sleeves during sunset helps prevent mosquito bites. For personalized advice, consult a travel clinic based on your specific travel plans.
What language do they speak in Africa?

Spoken languages in Malawi

Malawi is a linguistically diverse country. English serves as the official language and is used in government, education, and business. However, the real richness lies in the variety of indigenous languages spoken by different ethnic groups. Chewa, also known as Chichewa, is the most widely spoken native language and is often used for everyday communication. Other significant languages include Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, and Chilomwe.

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Best places to stay in Malawi

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Things to do in Malawi to cross off your bucket list

Liwonde National Park Mvuu Wilderness Lodge Malawi

Walking Safari in Liwonde 

National Park

Liwonde National Park, located at the Southern tip of Lake Malombe in Malawi, is a special place waiting to be discovered. It's home to lots of different animals and has beautiful scenery with the Shire River flowing through it. The park has a mix of woodlands and marshy areas, making it a great home for many colorful birds. The river is like a magnet for big animals, and the best way to see them is on a boat safari. This destination is an ideal choice for adventurous travelers who crave an off-the-beaten-path safari experience and appreciate both larger and smaller creatures in an extraordinary environment.

Pool Blue Zebra Island Lodge Malawi

Relax at Lake Malawi

A visit to Lake Malawi promises tranquility and a unique connection with nature, making it an ideal retreat for relaxation. As one of the world's deepest lakes, it features crystal-clear freshwater, creating perfect conditions for diving. The lake hosts an exceptional variety of almost all endemic fish species, forming the largest collection for any lake worldwide. Nestled at the southern end of the vast Lake Malawi, surrounded by a striking mountain backdrop, this destination invites visitors to unwind in its serene beauty.

Satemwa Tea Estate Malawi

Explore Satemwa 

Tea Estates

Satemwa is a family-owned tea and coffee estate in the southern part of Malawi. It started in 1923 and is still one of the few family-owned tea estates around. It covers more than 1800 acres of lush green land, surrounded by the beautiful Thyolo Hills. You can book a guided tour to explore the fields, learn about the history and techniques of tea making, and enjoy the stunning views. After the tour, treat yourself to a tea tasting session with the delicious teas produced on the estate.

Satemwa Huntingdon House

Read about the best place to stay to explore the Tea Estates
William's Falls Zomba Plateau Malawi

Hiking at Zomba Plateau

The Zomba Plateau, also known as the Zomba Massif, is a big mountain in southern Malawi. The mountain is really tall, at 1,800 meters (6,000 feet), with peaks even higher at 2,000 meters. It has a lot of cedar, pine, and cypress trees, and the rest of the plants are wild and mixed. On the plateau, you can take nice walks through the forest, along streams, and on open grassy areas. Some walks are short, but if you have enough time and energy, there are also longer ones. 

More about Zomba
More about what do and where to stay in Zomba
Game drive Majete Wildlife Reserve Malawi

Game Drive Majete Wildlife Reserve

Majete Wildlife Reserve is one of the key parks in Malawi, home to the "Big Five" animals. This makes Majete a favorite spot for game drives. The reserve is located in the southwestern part of the country, near the city of Blantyre, and it spans about 70,000 hectares. Over the past 20 years, more than 3,000 animals from 17 species, including rhinos, elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs, and wild dogs, have been reintroduced to the reserve. It's an amazing and unique wildlife reserve managed by African Parks, with knowledgeable guides to appreciate the abundant wildlife.

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