Overview – Malawi

Ariadne van Zandbergen
Expert
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Malawi.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Malawi.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Malawi.

Ariadne and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Malawi.

Malawi’s main tourist attraction is enormous Lake Malawi, with its beaches and water-based activities. The country also offers a range of safari options in its network of vastly improved parks and reserves. Lovely Liwonde National Park has a winding river ideal for boat trips and seeing lots of elephants. Majete Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s only Big Five destination. The rolling green hills of Nyika National Park are ideal for walking, and it’s one of the country’s best places for spotting leopards.

Rates (USD) $208 to $673 pp/day
Best Time to Go July to October (Dry bush and animals easier to find)
High Season Jul to Oct (Some parks are busy, high-season rates)
Size 118,484km² / 45,747mi²

Pros & Cons

  • Off-the-beaten-track safari destinations
  • Lovely combination of beach and bush
  • Self-drive, package or tailor-made safaris
  • Less expensive than some of the more popular safari destinations
  • Big conservation efforts are underway, with many parks recovering from poaching
  • Easily combined in package tours with the wildlife-rich South Luangwa in Zambia
  • Small and easy to get around
  • Wildlife densities and variety not as good as in other countries
  • Not a Big Five destination, with only two parks that have rhinos

Malawi Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Although Malawi isn’t particularly known as a wildlife destination, the parks are well cared for and animal numbers are increasing. Plenty of water in Malawi means elephant and hippo are common in several parks. Big Cats are difficult to see, but there are plenty of antelopes including some of the rarer species such as sable and roan. Rhino has been reintroduced and Majete Game Reserve is now a Big Five destination.

Weather & Climate

Malawi has a tropical climate with high temperatures and ample rain. Travel is easiest in the Dry season which runs from May until the end of October. Afternoon rain is common in the Wet season months and humidity tends to be high. Temperatures are quite uniform throughout the year but the Wet season months are a few degrees colder than the Dry season months.

Best Time to Visit

The Dry season months from May to August are very pleasant in Malawi as rain is scarce and the temperatures are mild. The middle to end of the Dry season, from July to October, is the best time for wildlife viewing as animals have to leave the bush to find available water. Bear in mind, though, that October can get unbearably hot. For those who don’t mind a bit of rain, the low-season months from November to May are fresh and green, and low-season rates apply.

Premier Parks & Reserves

Want to Visit Malawi?

Malawi Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
A charming slither of a country with Africa’s third largest lake and fast-developing safari parks
4/5

Split by the Great Rift Valley and enormous Lake Malawi, and bordered by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, Malawi has a lot going for it thanks to the legendary friendliness of the people and a distinctly chilled vibe. I’ve explored...

Latest User Review
Not many different animals but great to see elephants.
4/5

I went biking in Malawi for 3 months, also spending some days at 2 nationals parks to see animals. Because I went 3 months, I had a budget. The better accommodation in Malawi is run by foreigners and is more expensive. At the wild parks we...