You’ve picked out Malawi as your next travel destination but not sure where to go? If you’ve heard about the warm heart of Africa and are wondering what this beautiful country has to offer, look no further. We’ve compiled all the wonders of Malawi from north to south to help you on your way!
1. Viphya Plateau
The Viphya Plateau forms the spine of Central and Northern Malawi, ideal for relaxing, trekking and mountain biking. The plateau hosts a lot of birds, as well as antelopes and monkeys! It may be called a plateau, but there’s nothing flat about this part of the country in looks or in atmosphere.
2. Nyika National Park
The Nyika National Park is Malawi’s oldest reserve, and one of the most magical experiences in the country. It has one of the highest densities of leopard in Central Africa and there are a number of species of smaller mammals such as warthog and bush pig. Lions and elephants have also recently been seen on the high plateau. For ideas on how you can discover more of Northern Malawi have a look at one of our example itineraries.
The northern shores of Lake Malawi are among the country’s most beautiful and varied areas. The beaches at Chintheche are the finest on the lake – miles of pristine white sand interspersed with jagged rock formations and charming fishing villages.
4. Likoma Island
Off the eastern shore of the lake is Likoma Island, a little piece of Malawian territory in Mozambican waters. The island’s sandy beaches, surrounded by the pristine waters of Lake Malawi and secluded coves is widely regarded as having the best diving on the lake, both in terms of the diversity of fish species and their sheer abundance.
5. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Nkhotakota is a rugged terrain crossed by a number of rivers which tumble down the edge of the escarpment as they make their ways to the Lake. Nkhotakota Reserve hosts elephants, waterbucks, reedbucks, bushbucks, warthogs and baboons, as well as the sable antelope.
6. Cape Maclear
Cape Maclear consists of the jewel in the crown: Lake Malawi, a vast body of freshwater fringed by beaches of golden sand, and its paradise islands: Domwe Island situated within the Lake Malawi National Park, and Mumbo Island, a pristine and deserted tropical island. Both are home to innumerable species of the colourful cichlid fish. Lake Malawi offers what many consider one of the best freshwater snorkelling and scuba diving in the world, perfect for someone looking for an island hopping adventure.
7. Liwonde National Park
Liwonde National Park has a wide variety of habitats dominated by broad plains on the side of the Shire River. The park is prime hippo and croc spotting territory. Large herds of waterbuck, kudu, impala and elephants are regularly seen, as well as reedbucks, warthogs, yellow baboons and vervet monkeys, while beautiful sable and roan antelope, zebra and eland populate the flood plains in the east.
8. Zomba Plateau
Zomba Plateau is a unique, great slab of a mountain rising to 1800m. The views are so spectacular that they were described in colonial times as “The best in the British Empire”. Giant butterflies, baboons and many birds can be seen on the plateau.
9. Satemwa Tea Estate
Satemwa Tea Estate is undoubtedly among the country’s most respected and established tea and coffee producers. Managed and operated by third generation members of the Cathcart Kay family, it is a small family owned tea and coffee estate in Thyolo District, tucked away in the Shire Highlands of Malawi.
10. Majete Wildlife Reserve
Majete is an area of 70,000 hectares, part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. The reserve is one of the big success stories in African conservation. After decades of poaching, the reserve is the only official Big Five game park in Malawi. Black rhino, leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo, eland, kudu, klipspringer, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and zebra inhabit the park. Have a look at our example trips through Southern Malawi to get some more ideas of what’s on offer.
11. Mount Mulanje
Mount Mulanje is part of the protected Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve. It is hard to believe Mulanje is not a range of mountains, as it seems long rather than high. It’s so tall that it creates its own climate, and it is known to be unkind, even lethal, to those who dare take the mountain for granted.
A hiking adventure across Mount Mulanje offers breathtaking views across the tea plantations to Mozambique, sheer drops down gullies laced with waterfalls, and glades shaded by forest trees where purple-crested louries and sun squirrels scuttle along the branches.