Visit a Land for Inland Snorkelling

Malawi, “the Warm Heart of Africa”, has a thoroughly deserved reputation for the friendliness of its people. Hundreds of miles of tropical golden sand beaches line Africa’s third largest lake. Relax in the sun on an uncrowded beach, hand-feed tropical fish at the world’s first freshwater National Park or enjoy the water sports. Malawi’s nine Wildlife Reserves offer true unspoilt wilderness. Experience the thrill of safaris as they used to be, staying in just a handful of exclusive lodges.

Malawi is emerging as a destination that offers quiet beauty in the southern end of the Great Rift Valley landscapes and unspoiled forests. It's a densely populated country, with green productive land, lots of small traditional farms and famously friendly people. Lake Malawi is the physical and spiritual backbone of the country, stretching for over 300 miles and covering more than 20% of the country in water. It is the southernmost of Africa’s great lakes is a clear lake which is mineral rich and teeming with countless, brightly coloured cichlid fish, most of which are endemic. It contains more than 500 species of fish, the largest number of any lake in the world.

Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa. Its approximate dimensions are 590km north to south and 85 km broad. It drains an area larger than Malawi itself yet, surprisingly, only one river, the Shire flows from it. Eventually, the water spills into the Indian Ocean via the River Zambezi.

The surface of the Lake is 470m above sea level. In the north it is quite extraordinarily deep: 700m, plunging well below sea level. This reflects the enormity of the natural faulting of the Great Rift Valley which is the origin of the lake itself.

For much of the year the Lake is placid, a gentle giant, but, especially when strong winds blow north or south, it can become quite choppy. Because of its potentially rich harvest of fish, the Lake plays an important part in the country’s economy. Fishing villages are scattered along the length of the lakeshore and the traditional industry and practices are an attraction to visitors.

This small country is also a bird-watcher’s paradise, with some 650 recorded species. Malawi’s strategic location between east and southern Africa allows travelers the opportunity to see a unique combination of species from both regions in a single setting. Travellers can follow the route of Dr. Livingstone through the town of Blantyre, named for his hometown in Scotland, to the savanna woodlands of Lengwe National Park, an important refuge for many rare species. Away from the lake, three high plateaux, Nyika, Zomba and Mulanje, tower above rolling farmlands all offer gentle hiking in a rich wilderness of moorlands and forests – and opportunities for some unique safaris.

Malawi provides plenty of opportunities for many types of activities. The lake is a haven for boat activities and watersports, as well as having some of the best freshwater diving sites in the world. Eight land-based national parks and wildlife reserves offer all type of safaris in a wide variety of natural wilderness environments. The mixed terrain and varied landscapes also provide for excellent trekking and mountain biking opportunities, particularly in the highland areas.

Malawi is blessed with no less than nine national parks and wildlife reserves. In the north are the unique Nyika Plateau and the Vwasa Reserve. These complement each other, one a highland, the other a lowland marsh area. The central region has two vast game areas Kasungu National Park in the west and Nkhotakota Reserve in the east, near the Lake. To the south, the best known national park is Liwonde, along the River Shire, but there are also three game areas further south in the Shire Lowlands: Lengwe National Park and the wildlife reserves of Majete and Mwabvi. Near the southern end of Lake Malawi is the world’s first freshwater national park at Cape Maclear

The big five can be seen in Malawi as well as a splendid range of antelope and other smaller cats such as caracal and serval. Hippos are to be found in large numbers, so much so that they are almost symbolic of Malawi’s prolific wildlife.

Malawi has a number of places of particular cultural and historical interest across its regions, including original mission stations and centres of excellence for handicrafts. Of the towns, Blantyre, Zomba and Mangochi have a number of historical buildings, monuments and museums.

The best time to visit Malawi overall is in the dry season, which lasts from late April to October or November. If you're coming to see wildlife, make it late in the dry season, when animals converge at water holes. But beware, the heat can be unpleasant, especially in the lowlands. The landscape is much more attractive and conditions less oppressive from May to July, but there are fewer animals about. The early dry season is the best time for bird watching it's also exceedingly hot, exceptionally wet or both.

Contact Bateleur Africa Tours and Travel for all your Malawi travel enquiries.