An abundance of culture, friendly people, glorious beaches, stunning scenery, wildlife and, of course, majestic Lake Malawi
Malawi, a landlocked country in southeastern Africa, is defined by its topography of highlands split by the Great Rift Valley and enormous Lake Malawi. The lake’s southern end falls within Lake Malawi National Park – sheltering diverse wildlife from colorful fish to baboons – and its clear waters are popular for diving and boating. Peninsular Cape Maclear is known for its beach resorts.
Lilongwe is the capital city of Malawi, on the Lilongwe River. At its heart, woodland trails weave through the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. This sanctuary shelters rescued and injured animals, including lions, monkeys and crocodiles. Shops, bars and restaurants dot the Old Town district. The Capital City district, also called City Centre, is home to the 21st-century, Chinese-built Parliament building.
SLEEP AT KUMBALI COUNTRY LODGE
Only 10 minutes from Lilongwe’s Capital City Centre, this private lodge is wonderfully situated on a 650 hectare forest reserve and dairy farm. Livestock includes cows, goats & sheep. They also produce their own yoghurt and soft cheeses for the lodge. Activities include bird watching and splendid walks.
SLEEP AT LATITUDE 13
You’ll find Latitude 13° nestled in the leafy lanes on the northern edge of Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe. The hotel is located 10 minutes from downtown and 20 minutes from Kamuzu International Airport with a 24 hour Front Desk, unlimited check-in hours, 20 long stay apartments, 6 garden suites and 3 club rooms.
SLEEP AT THUMBI VIEW LODGE & BACKPACKERS
At Thumbi View Lodge and Backpackers in Lilongwe, they offer a safe, comfortable and relaxing space for your short or long-term stay in Malawi’s capital city. A short distance away from the airport, they are close to shops, restaurants and bars.
2. BLANTYRE (40 MIN FLIGHT FROM LILONGWE)
Blantyre is a city in the Shire Highlands, in southern Malawi. It adjoins the town of Limbe and is known for its British colonial architecture and nearby parks and reserves. On Chichiri Hill, the Museum of Malawi (Chichiri Museum) has exhibits on natural history and ethnography, and also hosts traditional dances. Colonial Mandala House, built in 1882, houses the Society of Malawi Library and Archive.
SLEEP AT AMARYLLIS HOTEL
An artful blend of modern affordable luxury and Malawian hospitality. Amaryllis Hotel, Blantyre has 91 well appointed guest rooms & suites that open onto private balconies, terraces, or sundeck entertainment areas offering breath-taking panoramic views of beautiful Blantyre and nearby mountains.
SLEEP AT GAME HAVEN LODGE (25 KM FROM BLANTYRE)
Game Haven Lodge offers 5 luxurious en-suite cottages, each complete with fireplace and verandah with exceptional views, or try one of the 20 spacious executive suites. There are also two conference halls in this quiet environment, making it the ideal venue for both business and pleasure.
SLEEP AT LESLIE LODGE
You'll get more than just a Bed and Breakfast at Leslie Lodge. Their unique guesthouse offers impressive attention to detail and the warmest welcomes. Arriving as strangers to Malawi's finest lodge, many guests leave as friends.
SLEEP AT VILLA 33
The lodge Villa 33 has been operational since 2008 and has enjoyed a reputation for offering exceptional value for money. Guests are assured a good nights sleep and a big breakfast to start off their day. Set in 2 acres of beautiful tropical gardens in the quiet suburb of Namiwawa it is easily accessible by car from the centre of town.
PLAY AT ORION TOURS
Orion Tours have several options for you to choose from. They have guided and self drive tour packages to suit any budget or special request. They offer safari, hiking and lake trips which include community visits to learn about village banking, traditional crafts such as pottery and basket weaving or participate in treasured games such as bao and more. Talk to them to build your sustainable trip to Malawi.
3. MULANJE (69 KM FROM BLANTYRE)
Mulanje (formerly Mlanje) is a town close to the border with Mozambique, to the east. It is near the Mulanje Massif rising sharply from the surrounding plains of Phalombe, and the tea-growing Mulanje district. Much of the Massif consists of rolling grassland at elevations of 1800–2200 m, intersected by deep forested ravines. It has many individual peaks reaching heights of over 2500 m, including Chambe Peak, the West Face of which is the longest rock climb in Africa. The mountain itself is part of the protected Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve. The Massif is popular for hiking and climbing, and has several mountain huts scattered across it which are maintained by the Malawi Mountain Club and the Malawi Forestry Department.
SLEEP AT SUNBIRD KARA O' MULA COUNTRY LODGE
Sunbird Kara ‘O Mula Country Lodge is an eco-tourism lodge with a unique location on the foot of Mulanje Mountain and surrounding forest. The lodge offers its customers accommodation, relaxation and adventure experience of a special kind on Mulanje Mountain.
4. ZOMBA (70 KM FROM BLANTYRE)
Zomba is a city in southern Malawi. It was Malawi’s capital until 1975. The British colonial past is evident in the architecture. The National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens houses rare and medicinal plants. The city is at the foot of the Zomba Plateau, which has forest trails, waterfalls and sweeping views over the surrounding plains. The plateau is home to baboons, giant butterflies and raptors.
SLEEP AT SUNBIRD KU CHAWE
5. LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK (121 KM FROM ZOMBA)
Liwonde National Park is in southern Malawi and runs alongside the Shire River and part of Lake Malombe. Rough tracks and footpaths offer views of wildlife such as elephants, hippos and endangered black rhinos. River, grassland and woodland habitats are home to crocodiles, leopards and antelopes. Rich birdlife includes rare species like Pel’s fishing owls and Lilian’s lovebirds.
SLEEP AT SHIRE ECO SAFARI CAMP
Shire Eco Safari Camp is the best choice for eco-tourists seeking a true wilderness experience in and around Liwonde National Park. Rustic bamboo chalets (with en suite toilet and shower) are scattered around densely vegetated grounds—if it wasn’t for the signs, you might miss them! For those on a budget, there is a dorm that sleeps twelve, or if you prefer, there is plenty of space for camping, with shared showers and toilets nearby.
6. CAPE MACLEAR/CHEMBE (148 KM FROM LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK)
Cape Maclear/Chembe is a town in the Mangochi District of Malawi's Southern Region. The town, situated on the Nankumba Peninsula, is on the southern shore of Lake Malawi and is the busiest resort on Lake Malawi. Cape Maclear is close to the islands of Domwe and Thumbwe on Lake Malawi, and is in Lake Malawi National Park.
Cape Maclear and its islands, forests and bay were declared a national park in 1980, creating the Lake Malawi National Park, the first freshwater national park in the world In 1984, the area became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cape Maclear is "a leading tourist destination", and is the busiest resort on Lake Malawi.The area is popular with backpackers.There are bars, restaurants, lodges and guesthouses in the town. Activities available in Cape Maclear include snorkelling, hiking, boat cruises, kayaking, and diving.
SLEEP AT KUMBALI LAKE RETREAT
Kumbali Lake Retreat is a eco-friendly lodge on the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi. All meals are provided, and there is a well-stocked cash bar. Kumbali Lake Retreat provides the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway with sundown boat trips around the bay where you can feed the fish eagles, go kayaking, take a sunrise hike up the hill or just lay on the private beach and soak up the sun.
SLEEP AT MGOZA LODGE
Mgoza Lodge is centrally located within Cape Maclear on the shores of Lake Malawi, with the beach just a few steps away from your door. You can relax in the shaded gardens, sit in the pool or lie in the sun. The choice is yours as you look out over the lake. The restaurant offers a variety of great food and in the bar you will find a wide range of local and imported drinks.
SLEEP AT MONKEY BAY BEACH LODGE
Malawi, the "Warm Heart of Africa". These words are echoed when you arrive at this beautiful Colonial House on the shores of Lake Malawi. With breathtaking views across Monkey Bay they have hosted great explorers and Presidents alike. Guests can enjoy a wonderful breakfast on the front veranda as they watch Fish Eagles soar across the bay. The rooms are simple, tastefully furnished with locally sourced fabrics and art. They also offer luxury comforts such as cotton linen, guest amenities and comfortable beds.
SLEEP AT NORMAN CARR COTTAGE
The Norman Carr Cottage is situated on the southern lake shore of Lake Malawi, in the beautiful sheltered bay of Namakoma just 15km south of Monkey Bay. A gentle and restful place where they promise you a memorable Malawian experience.
SLEEP AT SUNBIRD NKOPOLA LODGE
Lake Malawi covers more than 15% of the country, and is the most beautiful of Africa’s great lakes. Sunbird Nkopola Lodge is the premier beachside resort in the south of the lake, 24 km north of Mangochi. Set amidst tropical vegetation, Baobab trees in its own beach-lined bay, the hotel has some of the most spectacular sunrises and views in Africa.
SLEEP AT THUMBI VIEW LODGE
If you're looking for a memorable holiday at Lake Malawi, then let them welcome you to the stunning Thumbi View Lodge on the shores of Cape Maclear. Located inside the Lake Malawi National Park, their beach-front Cape Maclear accommodation gives you the perfect ticket to adventure - on water and on land! From scuba, snorkel and kayaking, to sunset cruises, boat trips and island tours. For the beach-bums and those looking for a bit of rest and relaxation, you can lie back on the beach, or soak up the sun by the pool.
7. NKHATA BAY (FLY/BUS TO MZUZU OR BY FERRY - SEE BELOW)
Nkhata Bay is a Malawian port town on the western shore of Lake Malawi. Its striking harbor comprises sheltered bays with forested, rocky headlands. South of the peninsula that juts into the bay, Chikale Beach has clear waters with colorful cichlid fish. The town’s ferry port is a departure point for Likoma and Chizumulu islands, with their secluded beaches and trails, plus Likoma’s 1911 St. Peter’s Cathedral.
The famous Ilala, a 620 tonne vessel that can carry 400 passengers has traditionally travelled the length of Lake Malawi (365km) and provides a vital life line for the many communities that live around the lake. Ilala offers affordable transport allowing travellers to take in the stunning scenery at a leisurely pace. Passengers can hop on and off at various locations including Nkhata Bay and Likoma Island. The Ilala currently operates between Monkey Bay in the south and Chilumba in the north, calling in at Likoma and Chizumulu Islands both northbound and southbound. For more detail, click: FERRY
SLEEP AT MAKUZI BEACH LODGE
Makuzi Beach Lodge is situated on the lush Northern shores of Lake Malawi. Makuzi is one of Malawi’s only private white sand beaches which provides guests with a superb, secluded retreat and wonderful views across Africa’s third largest fresh water lake.
WHEN TO GO: Malawi has a hot summer rainfall season from November to April so the best time to visit is during the drier winter months - early May to late October. Winter gets chilly high up on the northern Nyika Plateau but down on the shore of Lake Malawi you can expect warm, sunny and dry days - great beach weather.
HOW TO GET THERE: Fly to Lilongwe or Blantyre. There are road routes into Malawi from Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.
VISAS: Get your e-visa @ https://www.evisa.gov.mw/
CURRENCY: Malawian kwacha
GETTING AROUND: With relatively short distances between places of interest, reasonable road surfaces and little traffic, Malawi is a good country for self drive. Most of the main roads are tarred but narrow, with reasonably maintained surfaces. Potholes can occur on any road and speeds should be adjusted with this in mind. However, the general quality of roads is good by African standards. Driving is on the left.
There is a good network of inexpensive public buses throughout the country. Small mini-buses offer local journeys while larger coaches ply the longer distance routes. Taxis in Malawi are mainly found in the main cities, though some can be located in the rural areas if you ask around. Fares are usually fairly low by international standards.
PLAY AT CYCLE MALAWI
Cycle Malawi is a cycle tour operator creating inter-active cycling trips in the warm heart of Africa, Malawi. From MTB day tours, adventure holidays and cycling inclusive itineraries. Working to promote cycling tourism as a positive force for responsible travel in Malawi.