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Malawi Travel Guide

Malawi Travel Guide

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. Lovely Liwonde National Park has a winding river ideal for boat trips and seeing lots of elephants. Majete Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s top Big Five destination. The rolling green hills of Nyika National Park are ideal for walking.

Pros & Cons

  • Off-the-beaten-track safari destinations
  • Lovely combination of beach and bush
  • Self-drive, package or custom safaris
  • Less expensive than some of the more popular safari destinations
  • Significant 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

Wildlife

The African Parks organisation has made major strides in protecting Malawi’s wildlife by combatting poaching and translocating elephants and other animals to ensure healthy populations. Plenty of water in Malawi means elephant and hippo are common in several parks. Cats are difficult to see, but there are plenty of antelopes including some of the rarer species such as sable and roan.

More about the wildlife

Malawi Travel Guide

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.

  • More about the weather and climate

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.

  • More about the best time to visit

July to October are the best wildlife viewing months (from the middle to the end of the Dry season) as all water in the bush has dried up, and animals congregate around permanent water sources. Keep in mind, however, that October is extremely hot. The exception is Nyika Plateau, which gets very cold in the dry winter months. In Nyika, a more pleasant time is from November to May.

Best Time July to October (The bush is dry and animals are easy to find)

High Season July to October (Some of the parks can become busy and high season rates apply)

Low Season mid-November to May (Low season rates apply)

Best Weather April to August (It is cooler and it hardly ever rains)

Worst Weather November to March (Hot and wet weather)

May to October –Dry Season – Winter

  • Wildlife viewing is at its best due to less vegetation and animals gathering around waterholes
  • There is virtually no rain, skies are clear, and there are fewer mosquitoes
  • Although it is high season, most of the parks won’t be crowded
  • October can get very hot
  • Morning game drives will be cold; pack warm clothing

November to April –Wet Season – Summer

  • The scenery is green and lush
  • It is low season, meaning lower rates
  • You can see newborn animals
  • Best time for bird watching, with migratory birds present
  • Rains are mostly short showers late in the afternoon
  • Most camps stay open throughout the year
  • Wildlife is harder to see as vegetation is thick and there's an abundance of water
  • Some dirt roads become impassable; using a 4x4 is recommended across the country
  • Malaria is a bigger concern than in the Dry season

Best Time to go to Malawi by Major Park

Liwonde NP and Majete WR offer great wildlife viewing throughout the year, but the best months are the dry winter months, from May to October. (Generally, the dry months usually bring nicer travel conditions in Malawi.) Most other wildlife parks in the country follow the same pattern. Nyika NP has a different pattern – it’s open throughout the year but the dry winter months from May to September/October are bitterly cold on the plateau, while the warmer months from November to April are more pleasant at this altitude.

Premier Parks & Reserves

  • Liwonde NP – boat and classic safari
  • Majete WR – classic safari
  • Nyika NP – unique safari
  • All 9 Malawi Parks & Reserves

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