8 Things to Do in Malawi

It can feel like a pretty small place if you spend a few weeks looking for things to do while backpacking Malawi. Yes, the friendly locals will keep you entertained and even just relaxing next to the beach every day can be a great way to spend the day, but honestly, at some point you will want to find day tours and things to do in Malawi.

Here are 8 things to do in Malawi:

Canoe Lake Malawi

Get out on the Lake with a canoe

Obviously you will want to visit the lake when you arrive and when you get there, why not take a stand up paddle, canoe or kayak out for a cruise. It’s one of the cheap things to do whether it be in Nkhata Bay, Kande Beach, Senga or somewhere else.

kids Zambia

Volunteer in Malawi

Yes, that’s exactly why most people visit the country but if you are not already volunteering in Malawi then you might want to check it out. Thing is, it doesn’t need to be a big NGO or charity, when you arrive there are always volunteer projects in Nkhata Bay and all the other popular spots.


Learn how to make wood carvings

Perfect for beginners, a great way to interact with locals and considering how popular it is for souvenirs, it is also one of the best things to do in Malawi. Every local under the sun in Malawi knows how to wood carve so finding someone willing to teach you won’t be difficult although be warned, the actual wood carving will be exactly that regardless of whether its a full size boat or not.


Go Scuba Diving in Malawi, if that’s your thing

It’s not mine but I hear the diving is pretty affordable, unique and easy to organize. There are scuba diving tours in Nkhata Bay, Cape MacClear and many other parts of the lake while the prices are usually anywhere from $40 upwards for a dive.

Backpacking Malawi Travel Guide

Try a Horse riding tour in Malawi

So, this is probably my number one recommendation for things to do in Malawi and horse riding in Nkhata Bay is probably the best (Also from nearby Kande Beach). Starting in the forests you travel through villages and beautiful landscapes before ending up on the beach where you can actually go for a swim on the horse.

livingstonia hike

Stay active on a Livingstonia Hike

I’ll be honest, there’s not much to see or do when you get up there, they say it’s an old antiquated town where the Livinstonia mission was built but I found it largely uninteresting. That being said, there are classic views and the Livingstonia Hike is an enjoyable day with a chance to swim in a small waterfall halfway up.


Climb the magnificent Mt Mulanje

Okay, I have yet to do this but from feedback and meeting other travelers while backpacking Malawi, I hear this is a must do for adventure seekers. Few tourists, beautiful vistas and a chance to get away from the busy towns or city.

Meet the locals

Meet the Locals, seriously

This is what Malawi is all about, meeting the locals. Visit the local markets, take a walk around town, try out the local traditional restaurants, take a cooking class. Meeting the locals is actually on my things to do in Malawi because it is always the highlight of a trip – so get out there and get involved!

For more information on Backpacking Malawi or interesting places to see, check out Backpacking Malawi Travel Tips.

Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen is an experienced overland tour leader in Africa. He is best known for cycling across Africa and writing about travel in Africa for many online media publications. If you would like advice or information for your trip to Africa, you can speak with him directly through the LiveChat box!

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The Author - Derek Cullen

I worked as an overland tour leader in Africa for many years. I now want to help you book the trip of a lifetime and find out everything you need to know about taking an overland tour in Africa.

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