Must see attractions in Malawi

  • Sights in Northern Malawi

    Nyika National Park

    Malawi's oldest reserve is easily one of the most magical experiences in any trip to the country. Towering over 2000m above sea level, the Nyika Plateau is enigmatic; one moment its rolling grasslands recall the Yorkshire Dales, but then an antelope leaps across your bonnet, you note the nearby mound of steaming elephant dung and you remember you're in Africa (and that Nyika is home to a very large population of leopards!).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Southern Malawi

    Liwonde National Park

    With its lodges and safari activities, Liwonde is the closest thing Malawi has to a traditional wildlife park. Dominating the west, the Shire River overflows with hippos and crocodiles and is a favourite stomping ground for the 500-plus elephants. Waterbucks are also common near the water, while beautiful sable and roan antelopes, zebras and elands populate the floodplains.

  • Sights in Mua

    Chamare Museum

    If you only visit one thing here, make it the Chamare Museum, beautifully decorated with murals depicting scenes from Malawian history. The first room covers the history of Mua and the Roman Catholic Church in Malawi; the second delves into Chewa, Yao and Ngoni culture, with a depiction of a traditional Ngoni dance; and the third is a total knockout…

  • Top ChoiceSights in Southern Malawi

    Majete Wildlife Reserve

    Since African Parks took over management of this rugged wilderness on the western bank of the Shire River in 2003, things have really been looking up. There are now more than 3000 animals in the reserve, most translocated from other parks in Malawi and elsewhere in Southern Africa, including lions, hyenas, sable antelope, nyalas, black rhinos, buffaloes, elephants, hippos and leopards.

  • Sights in Cape Maclear

    Lake Malawi National Park

    Much of the area around Cape Maclear, including several offshore islands, is part of Lake Malawi National Park, one of Africa's few freshwater aquatic parks and a Unesco World Heritage Site. When organising activities on the lake, check if prices include the park entrance fee.

  • Sights in Mua

    Kungoni Centre of Culture & Art

    Part of the Mua Mission, this fascinating cultural centre is made up of several exhibitions, workshops and even a botanic garden. Set up in 1976 by a Canadian, Father Claude Boucher (who still directs the centre), it has developed into an important focal point for cultural information and training.

  • Sights in Likoma Island

    Cathedral of St Peter

    Likoma's huge Anglican cathedral (1911), said to be the same size as Winchester Cathedral, should not be missed. Its stained-glass windows, crumbling masonry and sheer scale are testament to the zeal of its missionary creators' religious conviction.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lilongwe

    Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

    This 1.1-sq-km wilderness area is Malawi's only sanctuary for orphaned, injured and rescued wild animals, and plays an active role in conservation. Local residents include a one-eyed lion rescued from Romania, a python, two cobras, baboons, duikers, servals, and blue and vervet monkeys. The entry fee includes a one-hour tour of the enclosures.

  • Sights in Central Malawi

    Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

    Comprising 1800 sq km of rough, inhospitable terrain – dense miombo (moist woodland), bush and evergreens – and a couple of navigable roads, this reserve has been undergoing a renaissance. Once poached, abandoned and encroached upon by human settlements, its fortunes have improved thanks to increased funding, two lodges, and management by African Parks, which was halfway through a historic reintroduction of 500 elephants in late 2016. There are also roan and sable antelopes here, buffaloes, baboons, waterbucks, leopards and even occasional itinerant lions.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Karonga

    Cultural & Museum Centre Karonga

    This museum, off the M1, celebrates the numerous fossil discoveries made in these parts, and the skeleton of the Malawisaurus (or a copy of it, anyway) takes pride of place. Visits take the form of a guided tour, with information panels in English adding detail. You’ll enjoy a whistle-stop journey through the history of the planet, with particular reference to the Karonga district, 'from dinosaurs to democracy' via milestones such as the rise of humans and Malawi’s fight for independence.

  • Sights in Northern Malawi

    Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve

    This 1000-sq-km reserve isn't on the mainstream tourist track, but its plentiful wildlife means it shouldn’t be overlooked. As well as a plethora of antelopes – pukus, impalas, roans and kudus, to name a few – there are more than 1000 buffaloes and hundreds of elephants here; it’s not unusual to see herds of 30. With some 300 species in the park, Vwaza’s birdwatching is also excellent, and this is one of Malawi's best places to see waders, including storks and herons.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lilongwe

    Parliament Building

    To get up close to Malawi’s movers and shakers, head to the home of the national parliament. It moved in 1994 from Zomba to the ostentatious palace of former president Banda on the outskirts of Lilongwe and now occupies this shiny new building near Capital Hill. Apply for a free guided tour by filling in a form at the gate two days beforehand (and only on weekdays).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lilongwe

    Kamuzu Mausoleum

    This marble and granite mausoleum is the final resting place of Malawi's 'president for life', Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Between four pillars bearing the initials of his most prized principles – unity, loyalty, obedience and discipline – is a wrinkled portrait of the 'lion of Malawi'. Guides at the entrance will show you around in exchange for a small tip.

  • Sights in Mua

    Mua Mission Church

    Ask at the Kungoni Centre of Culture & Art for the key to this brick building dating to 1907. The exterior has carved wooden doors and painted panels depicting scenes from Malawian history. In the imposing tin-roofed interior, men sit on one side and women on the other; the carvings on either wall represent aspects of male and female life.

  • Sights in Blantyre

    St Michael and All Angels Church

    This magnificent red-brick Church of Central Africa Presbyterian building was preceded by a simpler structure, built by Scottish missionary Reverend DC Scott in 1882. In 1888 the missionaries started work on a new, more impressive church with elaborate brickwork moulded into arches, buttresses, columns and towers, topped with a grand basilica dome. The church is off Old Chileka Rd.

  • Sights in Blantyre

    Museum of Malawi

    Malawi’s interesting national museum has a few gems, including a royal ceremonial stool dating from the 16th century and a display on Gule Wamkulu dances. The museum is between central Blantyre and Limbe, accessed from Moi Rd opposite Chichiri Shopping Mall. Take a minibus headed for Limbe and ask to be let off at the museum.

  • Sights in Livingstonia

    Stone House Museum

    The fascinating museum in Stone House (once the home of Livingstonia founder Dr Robert Laws, and now a national monument) tells the story of the European arrival in Malawi and the first missionaries. Here you can read Dr Laws’ letters and books, including the old laws of Nyasaland, and peruse black-and-white photos of early missionary life in Livingstonia.

  • Sights in Mt Mulanje

    Lujeri Tea Estate

    Growing tea since the late 19th century, this British-owned estate produces 12,500 tonnes of the quaffable leaf annually. With 3300 hectares of tea plantations and four factories, it also processes the tea of fair-trade-certified smallholder farmers, and was previously owned by Lyons, Brooke Bond and Unilever. Book in advance to go on a factory tour.

  • Sights in Senga Bay

    Fishing Village

    Life in Senga Bay revolves around the sea, and there's always something happening on the beach. Go early in the morning to see the boats coming in from night fishing, fish being auctioned and locals of all ages getting involved in the tideline hubbub. In the late afternoon, you'll see the fishermen readying their boats for the waves.

  • Sights in Blantyre

    Carlsberg Brewery

    Thanks to a Danish foreign minister who visited Malawi during the independence celebrations in 1966 and wasn't too impressed by the beer available, a Carlsberg brewery was established here. Beerophiles should book in advance to join the tour and learn about Malawi's favourite drink, the 'Green'.