WHY VISIT MALAWI
Lake Malawi in the east of the country occupies 20% of the territory and part of the rest of the country consists of high plateaus, from which the highest peak is the Sapitwa Peak (3002 m). The inhabitants are very welcoming and tolerant, which adds a real plus to the sumptuous scenery.
To discover: the ritual of Gule Wunkulu, practiced by the Chewas in the north and danced by a secret society, which is an initiation rite for young boys, with masks and costumes very impressive; The reserve of Chongoni where you will admire a thousand-year-old rock art; The Lake Malawi National Park, considered to have the richest wildlife in the world, its fishing villages and beaches; The Monkey Bay Peninsula and the Mumbo Islands on the same lake; Cities such as Zomba and Mzuzu, their monuments and museums; The high plateau of Zomba, with its coniferous forests at 1800 m altitude; The Mount Mulanje at 3000 m, the highest of the country, where you can make superb excursions; The various nature reserves where you will observe at leisure elephants and antelopes, elk and warthog, zebras, jackals, and leopards.
Without forgetting the capital Lilongwe and its big market were to stroll for hours…
WHAT TO SEE IN MALAWI
- Lake Malawi
- Mount Mulanje
- Likoma Island
- Dedza & Chongoni Rock Art Area
- Liwonde National Park
- Nyika National Park
- Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve
- Majete Wildlife Reserve
- Kasungu National Park
- Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
- Ntchisi Forest Reserve
- Zomba Plateau
- Nkhata Bay
- Makuzi Beach
- Salima and Senga Bay
- Chintheche Beach
WHEN TO GO TO MALAWI
The best period to visit Malawi is from April to September.
According to the altitude, the climate will be a little different: you will find heat (about 25 ° C) and humidity in the valley of Chire, while on the high plateaux it will be cooler and temperate.
The dry season lasts from April to October, and the rainy season runs from November to March. October often exhibits very high temperatures.
Following is a list of typical festivals and celebrations of Malawi.
- Manda Wilderness Dug-Out Canoe Race (April): this epic and adrenaline-filled race, really just about having fun, brings eight communities together from the Manda Wilderness area to battle it out on the waters of Lake Malawi. The day starts off with swimming competitions for the boys and girls, as the adults prepare their finely crafted canoes for the main event.
- Luwawa International Mount Bike Marathon (June): the race has been described as “a tough but very beautiful route” and at a distance of 50km; this is by no means an exaggeration. The track, starting at the Luwawa Forest Lodge follows the ridge silhouette of the South Viphya Forest Reserve, allowing competitors and supporters alike to enjoy the stunning scenery. Read more about Cycling & Mountain Biking in Malawi here.
- Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon (July/August): this epic test of speed, endurance, and sheer determination first took place in 1984, born by a group of sailors in the form of a casual sail northward up the Lake. Deck chairs lashed to the hulls, this tranquil route running South to North was just a hobby, but it wasn’t long until competition slipped in. Now, it’s become an annual event. In 2020 it will run from 3-5 July. Click here for more info.
- Mulanje Porters Race (July): the annual Mount Mulanje Porters Race regularly attracts the attention of hundreds of participants every year, both male and female and from all over the world. The participants athletically compete by running up and across the lovely plateaus of Mount Mulanje. The race takes place on the small, rocky, hazardous paths of Mount Mulanje and is 22 kilometers in distance, which would take a real mountain climber twelve hours to cover, but the runners manage the race in less than three hours! By no means is this race for novices, but it is great fun.
- World Lion Day (10th August): Malawi is now well and truly home to the Big Five – and of course this includes lions. Whilst Malawi has always been home to lions, the real success has been with the re-introductions to Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park. The lions are thriving and breeding as Malawi’s population grows. With these great achievements meaning so much to Malawi and African Parks – who manage Majete and Liwonde, World Lion Day is always an important day, and a day to celebrate!
- Annual Choir Festival (August): since the first Choir Festival in 2010, Nkwichi Lodge and The Manda Wilderness Community Trust (MWCT), a UK-based charity that has organized the Festival since its inception, have supported this event. MWCT connects some of the least supported communities to engage in sustainable development projects. The Trust also supports community events that provide training and foster unity in the region and leads conservation in one of Africa’s last true wildernesses. The Trust is committed to working at the pace of local communities and encouraging active collaboration between them.
- Malipenga Dance Season (August): Malipenga Dance Season is a traditional celebration of one of Malawi’s most iconic dance forms. Exhibitions take place all over the districts including Karonga, Rumphi, and Nkhata Bay, and are some of the most-loved demonstrations of the country’s rich heritage.
- Interregional Music Crossroads (August): During this celebration of music bands from all over Africa congregate in Malawi’s second-largest town Blantyre, and compete in this popular music contest. The prize – a prestigious European Tour! This is a great chance to experience the best of Malawi’s homegrown talent and music.
- KuNgoni Open Day (August): Each year the KuNgoni Centre organizes a cultural festival in memory of Father Jean-Baptiste Champmartin to whom the museum at Mua is dedicated. This is a cultural festival that brings drummers, singers, and dancers from the surrounding villages to display the knowledge and dancing skills of the Chewa, Yao, and Ngoni peoples.
- Likoma Summer Cultural Festival (August): Li-surf is a summer cultural event that aims to be different by providing a “modern touch”. It seeks to promote and share Likoma and Chizumulu Islands with the world and bring the world closer to the peoples of the 2 islands through cultural interactions and fun.
- Blantyre Arts Festival (August): aims to promote and celebrate Malawi’s cultural heritage, increase appreciation of the same, and promote the creative and cultural industries. Held in urban Blantyre and on the International level. To initiate skills and professionals through training and workshops with arts cultural exchange programs. To promote tourism and enhance cultural economic income for the development of the creative industry.
- Lake of Stars Festival (September): Lake of Stars is an internationally renowned music festival that takes place on the palm-fringed shores of Lake Malawi each year. It is a hugely successful event and the biggest on the country’s calendar. The 2019 event took place from 27 to 29 September at Kachere Kastle on the northern Lakeshore south of Chintheche. In 2020 the main Lake of Stars Festival will take a year off. Click here for more info.
- Likoma Festival (October): Likoma Festival is Malawi’s annual Island festival. A contemporary celebration of arts and culture with a strong focus on artists and traditional dances from Malawi and the rest of the continent. The Festival is aimed at promoting tourism in Likoma District while at the same time providing people with an opportunity to learn, earn, enjoy and advance their lives.
- Tumaini Festival (November): Tumaini is a music and cultural festival that takes place at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in central Malawi, 28km outside Lilongwe. It’s a unique and remarkable event, organized by refugees and Malawians, that has grown and grown since its first edition in 2014. It uses entertainment and artistic expression to promote intercultural harmony, mutual understanding, and peaceful co-existence. As a community celebration, entrance is free and it now also offers an innovative homestay program offering fascinating insights into camp life. In 2020 it will run on 6 & 7 November.
- Sand Music Festival (November): This is a 3-day music festival based at Senga Bay set up as an alternative to Lake of Stars. In 2019 it will run from 1-3 November.
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH MALAWI
To travel in the country, there are domestic flights between the main cities. Boat transport between towns on the shores of Lake Malawi. There are also trains, as well as private buses, which serve the most important cities. You can also rent a car, but the roads are sometimes in very bad condition. In big cities there are buses but very few taxis.
by plane, the main airports are:
- Lilongwe International Airport
- Chileka International Airport
GENERAL INFORMATION ON MALAWI
health tips & vaccination: in addition to conventional vaccines, it is advisable to have those against cholera (including epidemics frequent during the rainy season) and measles. Antimalarial treatment is highly recommended. Do not drink tap water, cook the vegetables, and peel your fruit. It is also recalled that Malawi is one of the countries most affected by AIDS.
local currency: Malawian Kwacha
local time zone: GMT+2
electricity: type G (230 V – 50 Hz)
WHAT TO DO IN MALAWI
typical food in Malawi
- Chambo: a fish from Lake Malawi, Chambo also known as Tilapia and is considered a delicacy. Often curried with carrots, onion, and lemon juice, this fish is also known as tilapia.
- Nsima: a staple of Malawi food. It is made from ground corn and served with side dishes of meat or vegetables. People in Malawi can eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Ndivo: Sauce or stew made with either vegetable leaves or meat that is added to nsima for flavor.
- Utipa: A small fish like whitebait or sardines.
- Kholowa: a dish made by mixing sweet potato leaves with oil, onions, and tomatoes giving it a rich distinct taste.
- Nkhwaniwotendera: Pumpkin leaves in peanut powder stew.
- Chikondamoyo: white bread filled with a blistering-hot curry is one of Malawi’s most treasured snacks.
- Dziwala: Fried grasshopper sprinkled with onion, salt, and tomatoes.
- Kondowole: made from cassava flour and water.
- Kachumbari: a type of tomato and onion salad, known locally in Malawi as ‘Sumu’ or ‘Shum’ or simply ‘tomato and onion salad’.
- Waliwasamaki: salmon served with vermicelli, onions, carrots, rice, and seasoning.
- Mkhwani: served as a side dish with nsima or rice. It consists of pumpkin leaves, tomatoes, and peanut flour.
- Mbatata: biscuits made with sweet potato and cinnamon.
- Mandasi: a type of plain local deep-fried doughnut.
- Phala la Mgaiwa: a type of ground corn, sweetened with some sugar and milk. Usually eaten for breakfast.
- Mawehu: a refreshing unsweetened non-alcoholic drink made from maize meal.
- Zitumbuwa: also known as fried bananas. Is made by making a dough with bananas, cornflour and a variety of spices then deep fried till they turn golden brown.
- Chibuku: served in a milk carton, this beer is made from fermented maize and has the consistency of porridge.
Kuche Kuche: A light local beer.
- Nthochi: bread made with bananas.
- Kondowde: a dish made from cassava flour and water and is eaten with fish.
- Thobwa: a fermented drink made from white maize and millet or sorghum.
- Futali: mashed pumpkin, sweet potato, cassava, or plantains and combined with peanut flour.
- Nthochi: a bread made from mashed banana.
souvenirs from Malawi
- Carved wooden masks, statues and toys
- handwoven twig rugs
- Mzuzu Arabica coffee
SIMPLE KICHEWA DICTIONARY
How are you?: Muli bwanji?
Thank you: Zikomo
What is your name?: Dzina lanu ndi ndani?