View Map

Overview

The self-styled "Warm Heart of Africa" is a relatively small and densely populated African country dominated by the vast inland sea after which it is named, and is known for its friendly welcoming atmosphere. More than 350 miles long and up to 37 miles wide, Lake Malawi is a scenic gem that runs along the base of the Great Rift Valley hemmed in by some of the continent's most spectacular mountain scenery. Since the late 1980s, a string of low-key but beautiful lakeshore resorts — most famously Nkhata Bay and Cape Maclear — have made Malawi a perennial favorite with independent travelers seeking a cheap chill-out venue en route between ...

The self-styled "Warm Heart of Africa" is a relatively small and densely populated African country dominated by the vast inland sea after which it is named, and is known for its friendly welcoming atmosphere. More than 350 miles long and up to 37 miles wide, Lake Malawi is a scenic gem that runs along the base of the Great Rift Valley hemmed in by some of the continent's most spectacular mountain scenery. Since the late 1980s, a string of low-key but beautiful lakeshore resorts — most famously Nkhata Bay and Cape Maclear — have made Malawi a perennial favorite with independent travelers seeking a cheap chill-out venue en route between East and Southern Africa. But the lake is also serviced by some excellent upmarket resorts, particularly at Senga Bay and on historic Likoma Island. For wildlife lovers, highlights include the low-lying Liwonde National Park, where elephants, hippos and lions can be seen along the swampy Shire River, and the stunning montane landscapes of the Nyika National Park, frequented by zebra, roan antelope and the mighty eland. Nyika is excellent walking and horse-riding country too, along with the more southerly Mulanje Massif (central Africa’s tallest peak) and Zomba Plateau. Birdwatching is rewarding throughout, particularly along the lakeshore and in the montane forests. For adventurous history buffs, a total of 127 sites in the Chongoni Rock-Art Area, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006, makes for the largest concentration of prehistoric rock art in central Africa.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

view full overview

Philip Briggs for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance