Sightseeing safari wildlife outdoor activities nature Malawi

Best Places To Visit In Malawi - Updated 2020

places to visit in malawi
Anne
Anne
Updated

Malawi has been rightfully dubbed the “Warm Heart of Africa”, for several reasons. It’s not just about the hot climate, but also the warm and welcoming people and the many attractions the country has to offer its visitors. Whether its sun, sand and glistening water at Lake Malawi, magnificent mountain scenery or safaris through wildlife reserves, Malawi is one of the best African countries to visit.

Malawi offers a selection of national parks where all kinds of wildlife can be seen, as well as the opportunity for hiking, mountain biking and mountain climbing. The lakes and rivers of the country offer the opportunity for many types of water sports and fishing, as well as perfect picnic spots.

The following are nine must-visit destinations in this landlocked, southeastern African country, all within reasonably easy reach of the major cities.

1. Lake Malawi

Sunrise over Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is considered to be the “jewel in the crown” of Malawi’s attractions. While the country may be landlocked, this beautiful 365-mile (587-kilometer) long and 52-mile (84-mile) wide lake is almost an inland sea, fringed with golden sandy beaches. The lake offers much in the way of water sports, with sailing and kayaking, on offer. With the many colourful freshwater fish to be seen in the lake, it is also the perfect place for snorkeling and scuba diving. Fishing and swimming are also popular sports, or you can just lounge on the beach getting the perfect tan. Visitors can also enjoy a cruise on the yacht “Ilala”, to see the lake at its best. Several hotels and lodges are available in various areas around the lake.

Lake Malawi

Website: Lake Malawi

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2. Chongoni Rock Art

Chongoni rock art
Source: Wikimedia

Located in the Dedza District of central Malawi, fascinating Chongoni Rock Art is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the location includes 127 sites, found among forested granite hills. Chongoni is considered the richest concentration of art from the Stone Age in Central Africa and is believed to be associated with various ceremonies and rituals from Malawi’s past.

Chongoni Rock Art

Address: Dedza District, Central, Malawi

Website: Chongoni Rock Art

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3. Dzalanyama Forest Reserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Dzalanyama Forest Reserve is located around 40 km (25 miles) from Lilongwe, among a steep range of hills. The forest offers trekking, hiking and mountain biking. It is also a great place for bird watchers, who can spot rare species like the Miombo Pied Barbet and the White Tailed Flycatcher, among others. There are natural streams and pools in the area for visitors to cool off, after a day of exploring the reserve.

Dzalanyama Forest Reserve

Website: Dzalanyama Forest Reserve

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4. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Nkhotakota is nestled close to the shores of Lake Malawi, with several large rivers that cross the reserve. It is one of two large game reserves in the Central Region. Elephants can regularly be seen in the reserve, as well as several antelope species, leopards, zebra and buffalo.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Website: Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malawi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malawi

5. Zomba Plateau

Zomba Plateau

The Zomba Massif is a mountain in the Shire Highlands and rises above the town of Zomba, in southern Malawi. Zomba Plateau, on its summit, is a wonderfully leafy and attractive place to visit. Its forests of pine, cypress and cedar provide welcome shade, while the many streams, lakes and waterfalls give an opportunity for a refreshing dip. Some wildlife can be seen, including the occasional leopard, baboons and giant butterflies. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic.

Zomba Plateau

Website: Zomba Plateau

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6. Mount Mulanje

Mount Mulanje

The Mulanje Massif, or Mount Mulanje, is located in southern Malawi, 65 km (40 miles) east of Blantyre. It rises 10,000 ft (3,048 meters) from the surrounding Chiradzulu plains and the Mulanje tea-growing district. The mountain provides great hiking and serious mountain climbing activities. A variety of wildlife can be spotted here, including the klipspringer antelope and many species of birds. Trout fishing is available, close by, in the River Lichenya.

Mount Mulanje

Website: Mount Mulanje

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7. Majete Wildlife Reserve

Majete Wildlife Reserve is located in the Lower Shire Valley of southwest Malawi, around 70 km (43.5 miles) from Blantyre. The reserve gives testimony to a real success story of animal conservation after it was almost depleted of its wildlife. Since African Parks took over, Majete has become one of the more popular reserves in the country and these days it is the only Malawi location where the “Big Five” can be seen, along with various buck species, zebras and warthogs.

Majete Wildlife Reserve

Website: Majete Wildlife Reserve

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malawi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malawi

8. Nyika National Park

Roan antelope in Nyika

Located in northern Malawi, on the Zambian border, Nyika National Park lies on the Nyika Plateau, among wooded valleys and grassland. Wildlife, including elephants, antelope, zebras, leopards and bushbucks can be viewed from mountain biking tracks and footpaths, through the park. 4x4 wildlife excursions can also be enjoyed and there is a range of birdlife to be seen, including red-winged francolins and wattled cranes. In season, wildflowers and orchids can be seen adorning the landscape. There are also waterfalls and trout pools to visit, as well as a neolithic rock shelter.

Nyika National Park

Website: Nyika National Park

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malawi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malawi

9. Liwonde National Park

Hippo in Liwonde

Liwonde National Park is located in the south of Malawi, 160 km (99.4 miles) from Blantyre. The park runs along the banks of the Shire River and a portion of Lake Malombe. This allows for boat safaris, as well as the traditional 4x4 excursions or hiking safaris. The wildlife on offer includes elephants, black rhinos, sable, kudu and bushbuck, with the occasional hyena, lion or leopard to be seen, while the water attracts many crocodiles and hippos. Birdlife in the park is varied, with weaver birds to be seen in the woodland areas and fish eagles, at the river.

Liwonde National Park

Website: Liwonde National Park

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Malawi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Malawi

Visit the "Warm Heart of Africa"

Make a point of visiting Malawi, with its gorgeous scenery, fascinating wildlife and friendly, welcoming people. It is truly the experience of a lifetime.

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Anne Sewell was born in England, but has spent most of her life in Africa - Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa - and now resides on the beautiful Costa del Sol in southern Spain. She loves writing...Read more

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