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Malawi Safari Tours & Holidays

4.0/5  –  8 Malawi Reviews

Dubbed ‘the warm heart of Africa’, Malawi is an amazing country to visit for people wanting to get a feel of African life, culture, scenery and wildlife. The country is not a prime wildlife destination where people fly in and out of the parks and hardly get to interact or get a feel for general life – quite the opposite, in fact. So, if your interest in Africa goes beyond the quintessential African safari, this might well be the country for you.

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8 Questions About Malawi Safaris

 
 

8 Questions About Malawi Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

When is the best time to visit Malawi?

“A Malawi safari is possible at any time of the year. July to October, which corresponds with the middle and end of the Dry season, is the best time for general wildlife viewing. At this time the bush thins out and animals gather around remaining water sources. However, this isn’t the case in Nyika National Park, which is located at high altitude and tends to be very cold during these months. The warmer summer months from November to May tend to be more pleasant and productive on the Nyika plateau. Malawi is a very varied country with a lot to offer aside from safari activities, so most people will visit some of the parks as part of a more general tour. In general, the cooler Dry season months, from May to August, offer the best travel conditions throughout most of the country. October can be extremely hot.”

More about the best time to visit Malawi 1

Why visit Malawi, and what are the major attractions?

“Lake Malawi is the third-largest lake in Africa and covers about 25% of the country’s area. It forms part of a string of Rift Valley lakes and it is by far the biggest attraction of the country. There are several resort areas along the lake offering sandy beaches as well as excellent diving and snorkeling. This friendly, laid-back country offers a great introduction to Africa, and tourism establishments are refreshingly integrated with local communities. Malawi is not a prime wildlife destination, but there are several good Malawi safari packages including options such as Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve. Nyika National Park is a scenic park at high altitude offering a very different experience from the bush safari destinations. There are several forest reserves and hikers are catered for on Mount Mulanje and Zombe Plateau.”

2

What does a Malawi safari cost?

“Malawi vacations tend to be relatively affordable. In fact, the country had long been a popular backpacker destination before other tourism facilities developed, and today budget travelers remain well catered for. In recent years, more establishments have opened up for midrange and upmarket package tourism. As anywhere in Africa, safaris tend to be some of the more expensive activities on a holiday. Liwonde National Park is Malawi’s most established safari destination and it offers accommodation for three different markets: camping, a standard midrange camp and a luxury exclusive lodge. So no matter your budget, Malawi safari prices should be well within your reach.”

3

How is the wildlife viewing in Malawi?

“Malawi is a very scenic country, but not primarily a wildlife destination. Having said that, the parks have improved hugely in recent times and its reputation as a wildlife destination is growing steadily. Majete Wildlife Reserve is a Big Five destination and part of it has been set aside as a private concession for the famous Robin Pope Safaris. With the help of African Parks, Majete has been regenerated and restocked from almost nothing and it is rapidly becoming a top wildlife destination. Another Malawian gem to be included in Malawi safari trips is Liwonde National Park. This very scenic park is located on a beautiful stretch of the Shire River, and boat-based safaris are particularly rewarding. Hippos and crocodiles are abundant and elephants can often be found drinking as well. Nyika National Park, which is more reminiscent of the European countryside than the African bush, offers a more low-key experience, but many antelope species can be seen grazing on the grassy hills and leopards are occasionally spotted on night drives.”

More about the Wildlife of Malawi 4

How safe is Malawi for tourists?

“Malawi is a very safe country. It is politically very stable and it lacks big cities such as Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg, which are usually the crime hot spots of any country. The rural nature of the country makes it almost a hassle-free destination. Of course there is some petty crime, as is the case in any developing country prone to poverty, so normal safety precautions should be taken when walking around unguided.”

5

How do you select a reliable Malawian tour operator?

“Malawi is not a mainstream destination and it isn’t on many general tour operators’ portfolios. A good place to start looking is on Safaribookings.com. There are several Malawi tours on offer, as well as links to operators that do bespoke Malawi packages. Always check the online reviews for customer satisfaction and avoid any operators with limited or too much negative feedback.”

6

What type of accommodation can I expect on a safari?

“Although initially mainly catering to backpackers, there is now a full range of accommodation available when on a Malawi safari tour. Different levels and styles of accommodation can be found in most parks, including the old-style luxury tented camp. On a different level of class is the exquisite lodge run by Robin Pope in Majete Wildlife Reserve. A full range of accommodation options is available along the lake, ranging from small resorts and boutique hotels to backpacker hostels, campgrounds and small guesthouses.”

7

What can I expect from an African safari in Malawi?

“Malawi is a friendly, off-the-beaten track destination that will appeal to people with a general interest in Africa: its people, wildlife and scenic beauty. Malawi holidays are usually but not exclusively centered on the wildlife, but, depending on your interests, you can balance your itinerary more toward the parks and reserves, or the lake and general African life. Most people will spend some time on the lake as well as in the parks. Diving and snorkeling is nothing short of fantastic, and the calm, salt-free water of the lake makes the whole experience easier than similar sea-based activities.”

8

Malawi Safari Reviews

4.0/5 8 Reviews
Expert
Stephen Cunliffe  –  
South Africa ZA

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

Dynamite comes in small packages
4/5

Known as the warm heart of Africa, Malawi is an enchanting and welcoming country that is undoubtedly home to the friendliest people in all of Africa. While it might lack the abundant wildlife resources and expansive protected areas of some...

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Expert
Sue Watt  –  
United Kingdom UK

Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.

Malawi: More than ‘the warm heart of Africa’
4/5

Malawi is well known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’ because of its welcoming, friendly people. While that moniker is certainly true, there’s much more to this tiny country than meets the eye, and its people are just one reason to...

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Tanja  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Aug 6, 2018
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...

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