African Destinations


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 Malawi is known as the “Warm Heart of Africa”. Located to the south of Tanzania and just east of Zambia, this beautiful country is much more primitive than most parts of modern Africa. In other words, if you want to meet the locals and see the more “unspoiled” side of Africa – this is a great place to do so.

On the other hand, the country is also famous as being the home of Livingstonia Mission and the immense lake itself. Also known as Lake Nyasa, this body of water is the life source for locals and a favourite for tourists. You will find many great places to visit including Nkhata Bay, Senga Bay & Monkey Bay.

Population – 16.5 million

Capital City – Lilongwe (820k population)

Largest City – Blantyre

Attractions – Lake Malawi, Livinstonia Mission, Liwonde National Park & Mulanje Mountain

The Best Day Tours – Horse riding at Nkhata Bay, Scuba Diving in Monkey Bay, Village Tour in Chitimba, Hike to Livingstonia Mission, Mt Mulanje Climb

Where to Volunteer – Nkhata Bay

My Recommendation for Visiting Malawi

Overland Tours in Malawi

Honestly, if you plan to spend an extended period in Africa, I highly recommend that you join an overland tour from Nairobi to Victoria Falls. This trip will take in Kenya, and Tanzania before travelling through Malawi. Also, you obviously get to travel through Zambia en-route to the famous Vic Falls.

Recommended Overland Tour – Nairobi to Victoria Falls includes time in Malawi.

Read more on how to choose the best Overland Tour in Africa

Backpacking Malawi

Take a bus to Mzuzu for a night and stay at Joy’s Place. Then another matatu further north to Chitimba Beach for at least two or three more nights. You can hike to Livingstonia Mission from here but otherwise it’s a great place to chill. Afterward, go back to Mzuzu and take a bus to Nkhata Bay – my favourite place in Malawi. Spend a couple of nights here in Mayoka Village and explore the town. Kande Beach is another nice spot to the south with horseriding and a great scuba diving club. However, Kande Beach can also be super busy with overland trucks. If you want to venture further south, Senga Bay and Monkey Bay are cool but in many ways, I find these places a little too overrun with other backpacker.

Read more about Backpacking Malawi

Volunteering in Malawi

If you plan on volunteering, I strongly recommend that you stay in Nkhata Bay. Lilongwe is super underwhelming and honestly, so too are most of the towns in Malawi. At the same time, if you pass through Mzuzu, stay at Joy’s Place for a couple of nights – friendly, comfortable and great food!

Get in Touch if you would like my advice on volunteering.

More information on Malawi

If you would like more information, click here for a list of all my posts about Backpacking Malawi.

Alternatively, if you would like to chat with me, I am always here to help plan your trip to Africa.

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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