5 things to do in Malawi
A visit to southern Africa would not be complete without a trip to Malawi. This vibrant and beautiful place should be on every travel destination wish list.
There are many amazing experiences to be had in Malawi this list hopes to narrow your choices down to a manageable list and to give you a few ideas for your travel guidelines.
It is, as always, important to mention at the beginning of this article that Malawi does fall into a malaria area and it is therefore vital that you consult your doctor before booking your trip.
- Lake Chilwa: the second-largest lake in Malawi after Lake Malawi, Lake Chilwa is an amazing destination for those travellers who love fishing. Lake Chilwa is in eastern Zomba District, near the border with Mozambique. Approximately 60 km long and 40 km wide, the lake is surrounded by extensive wetlands making it the perfect place for bird and wild life watching. There is a large island in the middle of the lake by the name of Chisi Island. The lake has no outlet, and the level of water is greatly affected by seasonal rains and summer evaporation. In 1968, the lake disappeared during exceptionally dry weather. The lake supports a waterbird population of around 1.5 million with about 160 different species. Some of these migrate along the Asian – East African Flyway from Siberia each year. With twelve bird species, the number is over 1% of their total flyway population. This along with the villages sourounding the lake make this a very popular tourist destination.
- Liwonde National Park: Tourism in Malawi is still low key and that is reflected in the number of visitors to Liwonde National Park. That said, it is Malawi’s premier wildlife-viewing destination. As there are so few dangerous predators, it is one of the few wildlife national parks that offers game walks, an alternative to the more common game drives. There are also canoe and boat safaris.
- Nyika National Park: Nyika National Park is Malawi’s largest national park, with an area of 3200 Square km. The name Nyika means “where the water comes from” as the plateau’s elevation makes it wetter than surrounding areas. Most people experience the Nyika by staying on or driving over the plateau itself but this represents only around one third of the National Park. The escarpments and northern hill areas descend to lower altitude and feature a much drier landscape seasonally. The plateau itself is recommended for trekking and mountain biking, as well as more conventional 4×4 excursions. The montane vegetation attracts large numbers of antelope from the diminutive Common duiker to eland and roan. Zebra are common near Chelinda and the highest part of the plateau.
- Lengwe National Park: Lengwe National Park is a national park in Malawi located near the town of Chikwawa and about 40 miles southwest of Blantyre. Lengwe’s topography is unusual for Malawi and consists of open deciduous forests and dense thickets. It is the home of the reclusive Nyala antelope. The climate of Lengwe is hot and dry, and the only source of consistent water is from the rain. Many man-made water holes have been constructed to attract and maintain the animal population.
- Chongoni Rock Art Area: The Chongoni Rock Art Area is located in the Central Region of Malawi consisting of 127 sites in the forested hills of the Malawi plateau with depictions of rock art and paintings of the farmer community of the Late Stone Age and the Iron Age period. The rock art sites are near the mountainous region of Dedza which is the highest town in Malawi which was settled during pre-historic times. It is reported to be the “densest cluster of rock art” in Central Africa.
When traveling it is always important to remember and accept that you will never be able to do everything in one trip. There will always be things that you can’t cross off your travel list because you ran out of time or because of some unforeseen circumstance. There is nothing wrong with not sticking to your pre-planned itinerary, often the most amazing experiences are things that never even crossed your mind while you were planning your trip.
The best way to experience Malawi is, as with any country, to interact with the people who live there. Don’t be afraid to try something that falls outside of your normal comfort zone.