Malawi’s people are so friendly that the country has earned the name “The Warm Heart of Africa”. Like Namibia and Uganda, it tends to be a country that people choose for their second or third visit to Africa. So Malawi is a country for people who know that they love Africa, and when they do visit, the warm welcome and spectacular scenery will only makes that love grow deeper.
Malawi is at the southern tip of the Great Rift Valley, and Lake Malawi is a long “inland sea”, the last of a series of African lakes that runs from Lake Turkana, the “Jade Sea” just south of Sudan, through Kenya and Tanzania. From the northern shore of the lake, the green Nyika Mountains rise to 8,000 feet and further south, great rocky outcrops like the Zomba Plateau are superb bird watching and walking locations with a pleasant mountain climate. The Ku Chawe Inn on Zomba is a delightful mountain hideaway surrounded by walking trails, while a little lower down are the tea plantations with their old colonial houses.
Lake Malawi is 356 miles long and so wide you can hardly see Mozambique on the far shore. It is a perfect alternative beach location and combines very well with a Zambian safari. From the lovely Kaya Mawa Lodge on Likoma Island you can enjoy snorkelling and diving among the freshwater coral and iridescent fish. This location is perfect for a honeymoon safari as you will be sharing the island with just a few smiling fishermen and islanders, whose claim to fame is the enormous cathedral built by nineteenth century missionaries. Other lakeland hideaways are Nkhata Bay and Karonga where you can enjoy canoeing and a visit to Likoma and Chizumulau Islands on the Mozambican shoreline.
At the southern tip of Lake Malawi in the Liwonde National Park is Mvuu Camp, the country’s main safari lodge. The abundant water, fabulous birdlife and boating safaris makes Mvuu Camp reminiscent of the Okavango Delta, and you can enjoy sightings of elephant, lion, antelope and rhinoceros by open vehicle and on walking safaris. Like everywhere else in Malawi, the pace is gentle, the people warm hearted and the climate pleasant, so give us a call if you would like to find out more about the Warm Heart of Africa.
Malawi’s climate is one of the most pleasant in Africa. During the long dry season from mid-April to November the skies are clear, with little humidity and midday temperatures range from the mid 30s in the low lying Shire valley to the mid-teens to low 20s in the mountainous and hilly regions. In the summer from late November to the end of March rains come mainly as thundershowers and even at this time of year the beaches of Lake Malawi see seven hours or more of sunshine a day on average.
Altitude is one of the main factors determining the temperatures. On safari in the higher reaches of the Nyika plateau or if you are hiking on the Zomba plateau it can be cool by day and even frosty at night in the dry season. If your safari takes you to the low lying Liwonde area near the shore of Lake Malawi, dry season daytime temperatures easily reach the low 30sC and the evenings are pleasantly warm.
Malawi - Useful Information
There are no direct flights between London and Lilongwe, the capital. The most convenient way to travel is to fly overnight to either Nairobi or Johannesburg connecting with a relatively short morning flight to Lilongwe. Malawi is two hours ahead of GMT. Visitors from UK, USA and the Commonwealth do not require a visa.
Although Malawi is landlocked, Lake Malawi is so large and its beaches and climate so attractive that it can provide a very enjoyable beach holiday. Lake Malawi is quite easily accessible from the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia and also combines conveniently with a safari at Mvuu Lodge in Malawi’s Liwonde National park.
Walkers will enjoy hiking the spectacular green hills and valleys of the Nyika Plateau, and in the south of Malawi the massif-like Zomba plateau also has some delightful walking trails and bird watching.
Please consult your medical doctor for advice about vaccinations and protection from malaria.
Lake Malawi: the Inland Sea
Although Malawi is totally landlocked, you won’t be denied water activities on your safari. Sometimes known as the Calendar Lake, Malawi’s "inland sea" is 365 miles long, 52 wide and home to more fish species than any other lake. The lake is a superb base for all kinds of water sports from snorkelling and water skiing to boat trips and fishing.
With 650 recorded bird species, 10% of which aren’t seen anywhere else in southern Africa, Malawi is a real birdwatchers’ paradise. Lying just on the equator, the country sees lots of migratory birds whilst the Malawi’s range of landscapes – everything from mountains to swamp plains – provide superb habitats for all manner of avian creatures. Keen birdwatchers will be able to see a huge variety of different birds from the tiny locust finch to the tall Marabou stork. Lake Malawi attracts hundreds of birds including pied kingfishers, brown-throated weavers, palm swifts as well as lots of fish eagles.
The Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley runs right from northern Asia down to south-east Africa and shapes the landscape of Malawi into something truly spectacular. Lake Malawi makes up 20% of the country whilst the remaining 80% is a series of undulating hills, escarpments, peaks and mountains cloaked in lush greenery. With the highest peaks touching 10,000 feet and the lowlands barely above sea level, Malawi claims some of Africa’s most varied scenery. At times you might want to just sit back to take in the view, but if you want to venture into the hills try mountain-biking, trekking, climbing and bird-watching.
Malawi is well-known throughout Africa as the ‘warm heart’ of the continent, because of its hospitable and friendly people. Throughout your safari in this beautiful country, the happy and welcoming locals will make you feel entirely at home.
Call us to plan a superb holiday with a difference to Malawi.