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8 reasons to visit Malawi – ‘the warm heart of Africa’


The Tiny Country with the Big Heart – Malawi

Although Malawi is a small country relative to African standards, this is also its appeal as it welcomes those looking for a relaxing holiday in a beautiful unspoilt part of the world.

It is well-known for its smiling, friendly people. Most importantly, it is known for its extraordinary freshwater lake, Lake Malawi, which dominates this landlocked country. The clear waters and tranquil islands provide the perfect, laid-back beach holiday. Whilst Malawi’s 11 national parks and wildlife reserves offer activities like game-viewing, hiking, mountain biking, and bird-watching.

Here are 8 reasons to visit “the warm heart of Africa” either by itself or with Zambia.

Luxury Safari Holidays in Malawi

1. Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is one of the most impressive and beautiful lakes in the Southern Hemisphere. In fact, it is the third-largest in Africa. You’ll be forgiven if you think you’re on a sub-tropical island with its sandy beaches, seychelles-like boulders and palm trees. You really do feel like you are at the Ocean. All backed by towering mountains covered in rainforest. But Lake Malawi’s waters are also home to hundreds of species of fish, giving life to rural fishing villages along its shores.

2. Freshwater diving and snorkelling

Malawi is possibly one of the best freshwater diving and snorkelling spots in Africa. Plus it is also a great place to learn how to dive if you are a first-timer. Keen divers are often eager to “tick-off” a dive in this spot as the visibility is excellent and the water is warm. And you don’t have to go out in a boat to get to the nearest coral reef.

3. Relaxed Malawi safari experiences

Though Malawi is not one of the top game-viewing countries in Africa, it still has two or three very attractive and rewarding Game Reserves. Namely Liwonde National Park, Majete Game Reserve and the Tongole Wilderness Reserve. These offer plentiful sightings of elephant, lion, hippo, crocodiles, plenty of water-adapted antelope. And of course their predators which naturally follow the wildlife with lion commonly seen and even cheetah and leopard on occasion. Another plus point is that these game reserves are all easily connected by road – see our Bush & Beach point below.

yachting on Lake Malawi
Mvuu & Mumbo Island
Lake Malawi Mumbo island

4. Bush and Beach

Yes, Malawi is one of the easiest countries in which to combine ‘bush and beach’. And you can do this without having to have an overnight stay in Johannesburg. Liwonde National Park is only 2 to 3 hours by road from the southern lodges on Lake Malawi. Furthermore, there are daily flights from the South Luangwa National Park into Lilongwe. And then connecting flights onto Lake Malawi. You can be on safari in South Luangwa in Zambia in the morning and on the beach at Lake Malawi in the afternoon. The perfect combo!

5. Biking in Nyika

The Nyika Plateau is Malawi’s largest National Park that boasts a stunning afro-montane plateau with plenty of plains game to view. Watch out for zebra, Roan antelope, eland, and bushpig. In addition, there are 400 species of birds and over 200 orchid species to look out for. This is a truly superb environment for mountain biking in the bush!

Want to learn more about Malawi?

Check our of Malawi sample tours, Accommodation and the low-down on Best areas to visit in Malawi!

Check out Malawi Holiday Ideas

6. Walking & Hiking

There are a number of magnificent hiking opportunities in this vast country. The Zomba Plateau, which rises to a height of 1 800metres (6 000 feet), presents relaxed hikes through lush forested areas. Experience incredible panoramic views and great bird-watching opportunities. Alternatively, Mount Mulanje is a huge granite massif in southern Malawi that provides wonderful hikes for families with its abundance of streams and peaks to explore. Another option is Nyika Plateau with its beautiful high rolling hills of grasslands dotted with zebra, antelope, orchids and butterflies – a hikers paradise!

Lake Malawi beaches
Beach on lake Malawi
Elephant in Majete Game Reserve

7. Birding

Many African countries claim to be a birdwatcher’s paradise, but perhaps Malawi steals the prize. Its variety of habitats; from wetlands, to lakes, to forest, to Afro-montane highlands supports a remarkable diversity of birds. It has an astonishing list of 650 bird species, many of which are difficult to see anywhere else in the world.

Special birds include Lilian’s Lovebird, Brown-breasted Barbet, White-backed Night Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, Long-toed Lapwing, Bat Hawk, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Palmnut Vulture, Osprey, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Fiery-necked and Gabon Nightjars, and calling African Barred Owlets. So Malawi is certainly worth adding to your bucket list if you are an enthusiastic birder.

Birding Safaris in Malawi

8. Friendly people

Malawi is known as the “warm heart of Africa”, and rightly so. Malawi’s people are friendly and peaceful, making you feel completely welcome and at ease in their beautiful country.

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9) More affordable than its safari neighbours

Finally, Malawi is more affordable than other safari destinations such as Zambia or Zimbabwe. This is partly because the safari camps are less in price, partly because there isnt such a need for flights everywhere and partly because usually part of your time is spent by Lake Malawi.

This is not to say it is inexpensive – it is still priced in dollars – but your budget will go further in Malawi.

Sample Malawi tours

Relaxed Malawi safari experiences

Other Blogs on Malawi Holidays

“9 Reasons to visit Malawi” was written by Cedarberg Africa

Cedarberg Africa is a travel and safari company specializing in tailor-made itineraries in Southern Africa. Remember that we can tailor-make any holiday for you, so if some of these ideas sound great, but you’re not too sure of others, then contact us and we will plan the perfect getaway for you.

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Sonja Brand

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I’m Sonja, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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