Dubbed 'The Warm Heart of Africa' due to the legendary welcome extended to all who visit, Malawi is a small country with a big heart and an even bigger range of incredible tourist activities! Lake Malawi’s vast size, its warm freshwater and its gorgeous surrounding beaches make it a mecca for those seeking a year-round location to swim, scuba dive, snorkel, water ski, sail, kayak, parasail or simply potter about in boats. Malawi also boasts plenty of national parks providing a haven for a wide variety of wildlife including crocodiles, lions, elephants, hippos and even leopard. Culture vultures are also well served by numerous fascinating historical and cultural sites as well as visits to traditional Malawian villages to meet some ever-smiling Malawians going about their daily lives. With all of this exceptional culture, natural scenery and friendliness on offer, this unique African country is enchanting enough to captivate even the most jaded traveller.
Days 1 - 2
Located in southern Malawi, Blantyre is a pleasant, lively yet laid back city. It was a key trading post during the 1800s and today remains the country’s economic capital, with many banks and businesses. The city’s architectural highlight is the St Michael’s and All Angels Church. This late 19th century building was designed by the acting reverend of the time and constructed with the help of the villagers. A close second is the Mandala Building, the city’s oldest structure, built in 1882 and crafted entirely of natural materials - homemade bricks held together with a cob mixture of mud and grass. Don’t miss a visit to the inhouse gallery, which features artworks, as well as an intriguing photographic exhibit documenting the history of Malawi and Blantyre.
Majete Wildlife Reserve
Days 2 - 5
Sprawling across 700 square kilometres of the Great African Rift Valley, Majete Wildlife Reserve’s undulating terrain incorporates grassy plains, riverside groves and forests of marula, acacia and leadwood interspersed with palms and the occasional baobab tree. The park provides a sanctuary for a diverse mix of wildlife, including black rhino, elephant, antelope and warthog, while the Shire River is populated by large numbers of crocodiles and hippos. Lodging options include chalets and a wonderfully scenic campsite set above the Matitu Falls. This conservation success story is a must-see, with over 2500 animals having been reintroduced into the reserve since 2003 - making it home to Africa’s Big 5.
Days 5 - 7
Located between Blantyre and Mount Mulanje in what is arguably the most scenically beautiful region of Malawi, the town of Thyolo serves as the administrative capital of the Thyolo District. The area is best known for its historical tea and coffee estates some of which date back as far as the early 1900s. With its tidy landscape of undulating hills and immaculately kept tea and coffee estates, the Thyolo area is a pleasure to explore whether by bike, vehicle or on foot. Magnificent views of Mount Mulanje and the Shire River Valley in the distance are a highlight of the region, as are the excellent opportunities for birding, hiking, and mountain biking. Some of the estates also offer guided tours where one can explore the farm and learn about how the plantations work.
Liwonde National Park
Days 7 - 10
Liwonde National Park is situated at the southern tip of Lake Malombe in southern Malawi. Although Liwonde is one of Malawi’s smaller parks, it is arguably the most popular of all the game parks in the country. Malawi’s main river, the Shire, forms its western boundary and is the reserve’s lifeblood. With plentiful wildlife including hippos, kudu, elephants, crocodiles and elephants and even black rhino, the park had become one of Malawi's premier wildlife-viewing destinations.The birding is excellent and a favourite sighting among birdwatchers is the Pel’s fishing owl. Visitors can look forward to a wide selection of activities including excellent wildlife viewing, canoeing and boating safaris and overnight stays at well-positioned safari camps.
Days 10 - 12
Located on the southern shore of Lake Malawi at the tip of the Nankumba Peninsula, Cape Maclear is a little resort town surrounded by mountains and set within Lake Malawi National Park. This town features an array of beachside bars and local restaurants in a spectacularly scenic setting of golden sand beaches lapped by dazzling turquoise water. Cape Maclear is a Robinson-Crusoe paradise, making it a sought after tourist destination. Kayak over to the nearby Thumbi island and spot the majestic fish eagle, sail across the lake and catch a picturesque African sunset, or scuba dive into the crystal-clear depths of the lake, which boasts some of the best freshwater diving in the world. Other popular activities include: bird watching, windsurfing, hiking, swimming or shopping in the local craft markets as well as island tours and guided village walks.
Days 12 - 14
Mumbo Island is an ecotourist’s dream. Measuring just one square kilometre across, this remote islet is virtually uninhabited and covered with pristine miombo forests interspersed with ancient fig and baobab trees. It is surrounded by the calm, crystal clear waters of Lake Malawi, where you can swim and snorkel amidst schools of vividly coloured tropical fish. You may also encounter the island’s sole mammal inhabitant - playful and curious Spotted-necked Otters. The only resort on the island is built from sustainable natural materials that blend beautifully into the pristine surrounds.
Days 14 - 15
Resting on the banks of the Lilongwe River, the sprawling, bustling city of Lilongwe serves as the capital of Malawi. It is the largest city in Malawi and is the economic and transport hub of the country. It features thriving markets, lush green spaces, and a rich cultural heritage. While the city has all of the twentieth-century urban developments, it retains the appearance of a traditional African settlement. The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, in the heart of Lilongwe, provides a sanctuary for local wildlife seeking refuge. Other sights worth seeing include the Kumbali Cultural Centre, offering the opportunity to view traditional Malawian dancing and drumming; as well as the nearby Chongoni Rock Art Area featuring over 127 sites displaying ancient rock art.