January 7, 2014

The secret of mystical, magical Malawi

Lake Malawi has crystal clear water

The start of a new year is the perfect time to discover more amazing places to add to your ever-growing travel list. Here's a secret... mystical, magical Malawi is a must-see.

Browse Malawi packages here.

Malawi is a unique inland beach and multi-experience destination offering a wide variety of recreational and special-interest attractions, all within a short distance of one another. It is not highly commercialised or sophisticated and is a simple down-to-earth destination. The greatest charm of Malawi is the rare combination of the large expanse of freshwater lake and her friendly people with their genuine warmth.

Malawi’s tourism base is natural and culture based. The country is unspoilt – Africa as it was when the early explorers first set eyes on it. A land-locked country in south central Africa, it is bordered by Tanzania to the north, Zambia on the west and Mozambique to the east and south. It is only a two-hour flight from Johannesburg. The diverse tourism offering is largely undiscovered by most South Africans who would enjoy a holiday in Malawi if they only knew what it could offer them.

Lake Malawi inland beach destination

Malawi is being recognised by high-profile UK and international media houses – National Geographic, CNN Travel and Wanderlust – as an emerging alternative and exciting destination providing inspirational and educational experiences for travellers.

About Malawi
Malawi covers an area of 118 484 square km, is about 900km long and only 160km wide and has a population of 14 million, 80% of whom live in the rural areas and are engaged in subsistence farming.
The dominant feature is Lake Malawi; the large expanse of fresh water that covers almost a third of the country’s surface area.

Malawi is best sold for what it is – it is warm, welcoming, beautiful, spectacular, sporting, and relaxing and offers good value for money. The landscape is full of contrasts, from miles of golden beaches to towering mountains and deep valleys with crystal clear streams. Wildlife reserves, national parks and a variety of sporting and artistic events make this an ideal holiday destination.

Apart from honeymoons and holidays, the recent developments in Malawi have opened up huge opportunities for other markets such as the business and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) market as well as the rapidly growing conference trade.

Why Malawi?

Local fisherman on Lake Malawi

No visa needed for South African passport holders!
All-year-round destination
Air access from Johannesburg
Value for money
Caters for all markets
Crystal clear fresh water
Abundant wildlife
Fantastic fishing
Towering mountains
Peace and stability
Low crime rates
Warm heartedness of the people
Haven for birding enthusiasts
Landscape full of contrasts
Fine and beautiful subtropical weather
Spectacular flowering of indigenous orchids
Diversity of attractions within short distances
One of the safest destinations in Africa
Suitable for families with children as well

About Lake Malawi
Popularly known as the Lake of Stars, Lake Malawi is the most beautiful feature of this diversely beautiful country. It stretches almost 600km from north to south. It is 365 miles long and 52 miles at its widest point, giving it the name the Calendar Lake. It reaches a depth of over 700 metres, is fed by 14 main rivers and drained by the Shire River which eventually flows into the Zambezi.

Snorkeling in Lake Malawi

The Lake is part of the Great Rift Valley, with coastal plains rising into steep escarpments such as the Nyika Plateau. The lake covers 23 000 square km of Malawi’s total area of 118,400 square km. Its crystal clear water, fine sandy beaches, wooded islands and marine life are its major tourist attractions, offering a unique African inland beach experience.

Cichlids in Lake Malawi

Kayaking on Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi in Africa

The lake has been profiled as one of the ten most beautiful lakes in the world. Its estimated 1 000 species of tropical fish (cichlids), most of which are indigenous to Lake Malawi, are the largest number of fish species in any inland lake in the world.

The crystal clear waters make the lake ideal for scuba diving and the southern tip of the lake is best known for its abundance of fish, especially around the Cape Maclear area. The most sought after are the mbuna, or rock fish. The vivid colouring and unusual behaviour of these fish make them a major attraction for all divers and snorkellers.

National Parks
Nyika National Park:
Nyika is Malawi’s oldest and largest national park. It covers an area of 3 000 square km and is at an average altitude of 1 800m above sea level. Owing to its high altitude, summer temperatures rarely exceed 21C.

Antelope in Nyika National Park

The park is remote, wild and beautiful and home to large herds of zebra, eland, and antelope and has the largest concentration of leopards in Malawi. It is also home to high-altitude birds such as Den Itam’s bustard and the Red-winged francolin.

Nyika is the only park in the country that offers horse safaris and is home to the greatest concentration of Roan antelope in Africa. November to May is the most rewarding time for game viewing in Nyika.

Kasungu National Park:
The park is situated in the central region of Malawi and covers about 2 000 square km at an altitude of
1000m above sea level. It is home to large herds of elephants, buffalo and zebra. Predators include lion, hyena, wild dog and serval and the park is currently under a heavy restocking programme. There are also a number of archaeological sites.

Lake Malawi National Park:
Lake Malawi National park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, and is the world’s first fresh water marine park and is the largest fresh water reserve in Africa.

Other reserves are Vwaza, Mwabvi, and Nkhotakota.

Mumbo Island Camp on Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi fresh water lake in Malawi

Liwonde National Park:
This park is in southern Malawi and is situated in the Upper Shire River Valley. It has a dazzling variety of birds (about 450 species recorded) including the only population of Lillian’s lovebirds in Malawi. Liwonde is home to large herds of elephants, waterbuck and reedbuck. The Shire River also has large herds of hippos (one of the densest concentrations in Africa) which can be seen on boat safaris. Black rhino, zebra, buffalo and wildebeest were recently reintroduced and the populations are rising steadily.

Lengwe National Park:
Lengwe National Park, in the extreme south, is popular for hiking and bird watching.The park lies within the Lower Shire Valley about 50km south of Blantyre and bordered to the west by Mozambique.

The natural vegetation of the area is mixed woodland and grassy dambo although much of the surrounding area has been turned into a sugarcane plantation. It is famous for the spiral horned nyala antelope, which is not found in the other northern parks.

Other antelope, such as bushbuck, impala, duiker and kudu are found here as well as warthogs, monkeys and baboons. Outside the rainy season, game viewing can be exciting as the park has only a few waterholes, which act as a magnet for animals.

Majete Game Reserve:
Majete Game Reserve in Chikwawa has been successfully restocked and is now home to the Big Five thanks to a public-private partnership between the Government of Malawi and African Parks. The reserve is one of Africa’s true success stories as the world has witnessed the wonderful transformation of a heavily poached and exhausted national park into a well stocked and thriving wildlife area with accommodation of an international standard and a fast growing animal population.

How to get there:
There are daily flights from Johannesburg to Malawi.
Road system is good and extensive.
Enquire at your nearest Sure Travel agency for all the Malawi packages. Find an agent here.

Our favorites include:
• Domwe Island, only 5 KM from Cape Maclear
•  Mumbo Isalnd, the camp accommodates 14 guests only
•  Mkulumadzi, located on Majete Wildlife reserve

Cape Maclear in Malawi

Mumbo Island camp accommodation in Malawi


If this doesn't inspire you to go to Malawi - nothing will! It looks amazing!

Agreed - Lake Malawi is amazing! Truly one of a kind.

thanks so much for sharing.. i have it on my wish list now..

Malawi is one of the beautiful touring place in the world. This is so amazing. i like this place very much. In your article i found a lots of information how i visit Malawi.

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