Occupying the Great Rift Valley, Malawi is home to one of the most breathtaking plateaus in the world. With Lake Malawi taking up more than one-fifth of the country’s total area, Malawi’s reputation stands strong on being one of the African countries with the most extensive lakes ever seen.
Stretching about 520 miles (840 km) from north to south, it is bordered by Tanzania to the north, Lake Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the east and south, and Zambia to the west.
The beauty of Malawi is definitely in the dimensions of nature she offers – from virgin forests to sandy beaches and striking massifs. This is why a visit here is an absolutely great decision.
Here are 11 places you must visit in Malawi.
Found on the Khondowe Plateau near Nyika National Park, Livingstonia is an early Christian mission established in 1894. This is a place to witness history at its best. With panoramic vistas of Chitimba Bay and the Livingstone Mountains across the lake in Tanzania, a visit to Livingstonia will not be regretted. While here, the Mushroom Farm Eco Lodge is a top accommodation spot. You’ll be treated to some of the best picnic tables and barbecue grills you’ll ever find. There’s also free Wi-Fi and cell phone/computer charging station – what else is left?
Nyika National Park
Nyika National Park can be found on the Khondowe Plateau in the district of Rumphi. The largest of all Malawi’s national parks, a visit to Nyika will introduce you to the spotted hyena, roan antelope, eland, leopards, zebra, and over 425 bird species. With an all-year cool temperature, the rainy season is a great time to witness the blooming orchids and wildflowers.
Sitting 1,600 meters above sea level, Dedza prides itself as the most elevated town in Malawi. The glorious topography here is characterized by mature trees and views of Dedza Mountain. At Dedza, you’ll get the privilege of taking a look at the Chongoni Rock Art Area and the UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the Dedza Pottery Lodge, you’ll meet craftsmen who are busy with transforming the local clay into ceramic pots, vases, jars, and tiles that are to be sold. You’ll also enjoy the on-site restaurant where you can get a break and eat.
Kasungu National Park
A 2,100-kilometer park, Kasungu National Park is the right place to catch uninhibited sight of absolute nature – from elephants, leopards, zebras, and jackals to the civet cat and the genet. Visit here at the end of the dry season (from August to November), and watch the animals come out to cluster around the watering holes – it’s a wonderful sight. At Lifupa Conservation Lodge, you’ll get decent and standard accommodation.
A visit to Malawi without a visit to the incredible Lake Malawi is not a visit to Malawi. Famed for being the third-largest lake in Africa, you can go swimming, snorkelling, Scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, fishing, sailing among many other activities. Nicknamed ‘Lake of Stars’, over a thousand species of cichlid fish make their home here. Asides from this, Lake Malawi feeds a large number of the citizens – non-cichlid fish such as Chambo, Kampango, and Usipa are caught and sold in markets across the country.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
At the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, you can have a canoe ride, watch the birds or go on walking safaris down the Bua River. While Nkhotakota may not be the perfect place for amazing sightings due to its dense vegetation, the hush and quietude here is unmatched. You will also enjoy the flow of the river and the harmony of insects. Certainly, this is a great place to spend quality time.
Salima and Senga Bay
Malawi’s eighth-largest town, Salima is an important trading centre for the central region. Senga Bay is about five miles east of Salima. At Senga Bay, you’ll certainly find decent accommodation on a budget. Renowned for being a home of resorts, it is a popular site for local weekenders and business people. You’ll find the fishing village tours and water sports very interesting.
Liwonde National Park
A varied terrain spread over 548 square kilometres, Liwonde National Park is esteemed as Malawi’s debut game park. The topography is characterized by marshland, woodland, and grassland – a natural habitat for hippos, elephants, and crocodiles. Home to over 300 avian species such as Fish Eagle Pel’s Fishing Owl and Lilian’s Lovebird, the bird watching here is incredibly fascinating and fulfilling. Shire River is the standout feature of this park. It flows along its western border. With roaming elephants making their base at Shire River, it also accommodates giant crocodiles and hippo pods. Have a mid-afternoon boat safari when the sun is hottest and get a pleasant sight of the animals as they come to the river to cool off. You will definitely find Liwonde National Park worthy of your stay.
Arrive at Mulanje Town to get your accommodation sorted and then head to Mount Mulanje to have an explosive experience you won’t forget in a hurry. One of Malawi’s most scenic massifs, Mount Mulanje is a must-stop for hikers and climbers. Hiking and climbing activities are handled by the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust. Hiking routes are clearly marked. There are 10 camping huts spread over the mountain for overnight stays. Each hut has cooking facilities, restrooms, mattresses, and basic camping equipment. And hikes from one hut to the next can range from three to five hours.
Situated about 40 kilometres southeast of Mzuzu, Nkhata Bay is a natural wharf and centre for the local fishing industry. As local artisans get busy with making decorative bowls, masks, nativity sets, and necklaces, the crafts market becomes even more vibrant. There will be something worth your fancy here.
Kande Horse Stables
Family owned and managed, Kande Horse stables gives you the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of riding horses and exploring Malawi’s countryside. A working farm surrounded by a lush and peaceful scenery, you are free to take a ride through the Brachystegia forest or a dip in the lake while riding bareback. At Kande Horse, you’ll meet guided horseback rides combined with fancy accommodation in the guesthouse. Treat yourself to an overnight stay in one of the nicely-furnished guestrooms. A place to remember, Kande Horse Stables is a must-stop in Malawi.