Horse riding, game viewing, canoeing on the lake, bird watching

We wouldn’t recommend it for an Africa first-timer (it has very diverse wildlife but not the classic big game viewing) although for bird watchers it’s a must: Lake Malawi is a major stopover point on the main migratory routes to South Africa.

With the Great Rift Valley running through the country, there is a fantastic diversity of terrain, from Central Africa’s highest peak, Sapitwa, to the highland plateau and stunning Lake Malawi.

The third largest lake in Africa, its translucent, pale green waters are thought to host the largest number of endemic fish of any freshwater lake in the world, while its shores of amber-coloured sand offer all that you’d expect from a beach holiday – albeit in the most incongruous setting.

Malawi is often overlooked, in favour of more celebrated neighbours, but it offers superb value for money and is particularly good for families.



As every one of the holidays we create is truly tailor-made, all of our clients come back with different and interesting stories. We love to hear from our clients on their return to find out about their most memorable moments. Our Destination Experts are also always travelling to our extraordinary destinations and every trip allows us to refine and add value to our clients' future experiences.

luxury holiday malawi

Private Island Escape in Malawi

Octavia Bolitho travelled to Malawi to research some different options for clients who wanted to explore more of Malawi after a safari. Escaping to the coast, she spent a few days relaxing on Likoma Island, where she snorkelled and kayaked around her private island as well as exploring the oldest cathedral in Central Africa.

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Pumulani Lodge on Lake Malawi

Noises in the Night- A Safari in Malawi

Laura Marsham spent a few days getting truly up close and personal with the wildlife in Malawi, and has a slightly terrifying experience (well she thought so). Throughout her trip she was truly mesmerised by the different landscapes and the persistent nature of the local fisherman trying to get the catch of the day.

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Places to Stay

At cazenove+loyd, we have no vested interest in the hotels, lodges, boats, trains and tented camps which we select. We only choose what is right for a particular client. We visit each destination in our three regions on a regular basis and have detailed conversations with our clients on their return so our choices are continually refined. Here are just four c+l reviews. This is by no means a prescriptive list, but hints at what we look for and value in places to stay.

Kaya Mawa

Kaya Mawa, Lake Malawi

With a stunning backdrop of Lake Malawi, Kaya Mawa on the remote Likoma Island is hands down our favourite lodge in Malawi. With a name translating to ‘maybe tomorrow’ relaxing is absolutely mandatory and staying at Kaya Mawa is true barefoot luxury, an authentic Robinson Crusoe experience with shoes very much optional.

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Pumulani Lodge, Lake Malawi

A luxurious option on the Southern shores of Lake Malawi, the name Pumulani comes from the local word for ‘rest well’ and the lodge is nestled in the lush hills on the Nankumba Peninsula. Known for its privacy and seclusion modern rooms are incredibly spacious with wonderful views down onto the lake and its exclusive beach. A magical place.

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Mkulumadzi Lodge, Majete Reserve

On the banks of the beautiful Shire River, Mkulumadzi is a new lodge in the rapidly developing but relatively unknown Majete Reserve. Unique and remote, it is the most beautiful reserve and home to an array of wildlife. For seasoned travellers it should be your next stop.

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Mvuu Lodge

Mvuu Lodge, Liwonde National Park

Mvuu or ‘place of the hippo’ sits nestled overlooking the Shire River in Liwonde National Park, Malawi’s most exciting game viewing area. With huge numbers of hippo and crocodiles Mvuu is a fantastic place for river adventures and boasts arguably some of the best bird life in Central and Southern Africa.

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For over 20 years we have been creating the best luxury tailor-made holidays, we know our countries inside and out and really know how to get under the skin of each one and the best way to experience them.

diving lake malawi Africa

Diving in Lake Malawi

There are over 600 species of fresh water fish in Lake Malawi, more than any other lake in the world. The diving in Africa's third largest lake is a real joy, mainly due to the fact that there is no salt, so no need for those heavy weight belts.

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Liwonde National Park

There aren’t many places in the world where hippo snooze directly under your low slung balcony, overhanging the water. But they do here. Or where herds of up to 40 elephant come down to the water at drinks time. But that happens here too.

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Nyika Plateau

This remote mountainous national park has mind blowing views. Take a mountain bike, or horse and experience the breathtaking landscapes that are more reminiscent of Scotland than Africa.

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Trek up Mount Mulanje

Mulanje consists of a series of plateaux criss-crossed with deep ravines – it’s a great hike to the top. Alongside great views you may also see the Klipspringer Antelope and the black eagle, fishing for trout.

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Lake Malawi

Beneath the mirror flat surface is the largest count of fresh water fish species to be found in any lake in the world – a diver and foodie’s paradise. What’s more, by night the lake comes alive with a mass of twinkling lights as the fishermen lay their nets.

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Zomba Plateau

Zomba Plateau is a great forested plateau rising to 1800m above sea level. From the top it is possible to see Lake Chilwa to the North, Mount Mulanje to the South East and the Shire River to the West. We also love great birdlife which is here in abundance.

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Cultural Malawi

Africa is renowned for its impressive landscapes and exciting game viewing but also not to be missed is the opportunity to experience the cultural side of a country and the lives and traditions of its people. Africa is a rapidly changing continent and at cazenove+loyd we celebrate the chance to discover this aspect and the experiences they bring with them.

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We know Malawi better than most. The possibilities are endless and ever-changing. On the map below, we have plotted some of our current favourite places to stay, some c+l highlights and a few pertinent client stories. And you can see if there is a team member travelling in that particular country and link through to them and what they are up to, so you can get them to call you on their return.

Best time to visit

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Best time to go

Most of the rain has faded by April and May, leaving lush green landscapes. Good green season rates can be found at this time. In June, July and August, the nights become a lot cooler, this is the start of the ‘peak season’ for Malawi – with sunny, clear skies, and increasing game sightings.

Come September the temperatures start to increase and by end of October this becomes quite oppressive, especially the low-lying areas around the lake. Particularly for those who want to use Lake Malawi as a beach destination post safari, Malawi combines well with Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Meet the Team
Africa + Indian Ocean

We'd love to hear from you

Our well travelled Destination Experts have extensive first hand knowledge of their destinations and can open doors that others simply can’t.