Why travel to Malawi
Visit Malawi to discover ‘the warm heart of Africa’ – nicknamed because its people are so hospitable. Malawi is a land-locked destination dominated by its most famous tourist attraction: the enormous Lake Malawi. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Malawi stretches from the southern playground of Monkey Bay northwards towards Tanzania, a distance of around 570km. The lake is enormous – almost 80km wide – and gives the impression of the open sea. Here, visitors spend idyllic holidays snorkelling or diving in the crystalline lake or lazing on its golden beaches. Plus, it boasts one of the highest diversities of freshwater fish in the world, making it a fisherman’s paradise. You can expect to reel in tigerfish, lake salmon, black bass, bream and trout.
Malawi is also home to 11 National Parks, each one a tourist attraction in its own right. Elephants roam free in the rolling woodlands and grassy river channels of remote Nyika National Park and Kasangu National Park. In Liwonde National Park’s floodplains, reed swamps and floating meadows, you can expect to see hippo, waterbuck and the proud sable. And that’s just a start…
Why we love holidays in Malawi
- It’s Africa’s best-kept secret and an unspoiled destination offering unique attractions and activities.
- The lake’s clear waters and varied watersports offer the ideal relaxed beach holiday.
- There are 11 national parks and wildlife reserves for superb game viewing.
- You can enjoy the best of the bush and beach on an unforgettable holiday.
- There are more than 650 types of birds, so birdwatching is exceptional.
- You can discover the Big Five on a safari here.
Malawi is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. It’s an ideal location for a family get-together, a romantic destination to get away from it all and a spot where friends can explore and have fun together. Whatever type of holiday you’re looking for, you’ll find it in this beautiful country with its magnificent lake and superb game viewing. Let Thompsons Holidays put together an unforgettable Malawi holiday package for you.
What to do in Malawi
Visit Malawi for a unique bush and beach holiday. Yes, you can enjoy a fabulous beach holiday in this magnificent land-locked country! Savour long, lazy days on the shores of Lake Malawi, swimming in the clear water or enjoying a variety of fun watersports. Or go inland to visit the legendary Zomba Plateau and Central Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Mulanje, where the scenery is spectacular.
You can drive around the lake and explore its many beaches and resorts, including Salima and Mangochi Monkey Bay. Or venture into the highlands and plateau of Central and Northern Malawi to visit superb national parks and nature reserves, including Nyika National Park with its unforgettable 2,000-metre high plateau that offers stunning views of the northern part of Lake Malawi. The national parks provide a variety of game viewing options, making Malawi famous for a variety of holiday packages and safaris.
Things to do in Malawi
- Go mountain biking on the Nyika Plateau for superb scenery and lots of game viewing.
- Go hiking on Mount Mulanje with its rocky peaks, gorges, grasslands and rivers.
- Take the ferry to Likoma Island and visit its massive 19th Century cathedral.
- View hippos and elephants in Liwonde National Park, the country’s premier game park.
- Explore the vibrant Old Town in the capital, Lilongwe.
- Visit one of Malawi’s best beaches, Chintheche, in the northern part of Lake Malawi.
- Shop for souvenirs in Nkhata Bay’s bustling craft market.
- Discover the world’s only freshwater marine reserve, Lake Malawi National Park.
- Walk the Potato Trail in the Zomba Plateau, where villagers would walk to Zomba town to sell potatoes.
- Explore Livingstonia Mission and the Stonehouse Museum in Livingstonia.
Whether you’re keen to go on safari or enjoy a beach holiday – or both – let Thompsons Holidays arrange your memorable travel package to Malawi. It will be a dream come true.
Know before you go...
- The best time to visit Malawi is in the dry months, May to October.
- The rainy season is from November to April.
- Temperatures range from 17°C to 29°C in the hottest month, November, and from 7°C to 22°C in the coldest month, July.
- There are regular flights from South Africa to Malawi.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Lilongwe, Malawi is 2 hours,18 minutes. You will fly from there to your destination.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Reunion.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after your trip.
- Malawi is in the same time zone as South Africa.
- The official currency is the Malawi Kwacha (MKW).
- US dollars (US$) are widely accepted in the country.
- You can use an ATM to withdraw Kenyan Shillings at the airport or in the cities.
- Tipping is not generally accepted in Malawi.
- Some restaurants and services do add a service charge. In Blantyre and Lilongwe restaurants, add 10% if the service is good.
- English is the official language in Malawi.
- 57% of the population speaks Chichewa.
- The dominant religion in Malawi is Protestant Christian, followed by Sunni Islam, and Roman Catholic.
- It is not recommended to drink tap water in Malawi. Bottled water is readily available.
- No vaccinations are currently required but check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing for summer, warmer layers for cooler days and nights, beachwear.
- Comfortable walking shoes, sandals, flip flops.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat, swimsuits and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Transport within Malawi is by car.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!