Malawi is roughly the same temperature all year round. June and July are the coolest months of the year, when the temperature averages 21 C and nights are brisk in the highlands. The rainy season lasts from November to April and can be the cheapest time for flights.
When to fly to Malawi
May to August are good times to book Malawi flights when the weather is cool and dry and good for outdoorsy pursuits.
The hottest – and most humid - months of the year are September and October.
Off season is between November and April. This is the wet season when conditions are humid.
Getting around Malawi
There are domestic air services from Lilongwe and a bus and train network, but train services are slow. The road network varies. Major roads are generally in good condition, but smaller roads can be very poor. In many parts of Malawi, the motola system supplements public transport. Two inexpensive ferries travel between Monkey Bay and Chilumba once a week.
Malawi insider information
- The Nyika Plateau (Malawi’s first certified park where zebra, leopard, hyena, reedbuck and roan roam) and the Vwasa Marsh Game Reserve are in the north. Vwasa is less well-known among Malawi’s parks, but is a great place to see elephants. In Lake Kazuni, the hippos wallow and there are also buffaloes, several types of antelope and zebras. Vwasa is considered to be one of the best reserves in Africa for viewing game from the lodge.
- In the centre of Malawi, there are Kasungu National Park (second-largest park after Nyika) and Nkhotakota Reserve. In residence are hippos, elephants, buffaloes, antelope, zebra and birdlife. The terrain in Nkhotakota Reserve, Malawi’s oldest established reserve, is said to be challenging.
- In the south is Liwonde, Lengwe National Park (best known for the nyala antelope), Majete and Mwabvi (Malawi’s smallest park). Cape Maclear is the world’s first freshwater national park.
- Lake Malawi covers 20 per cent of the country’s total area, the third-largest lake in Africa. It is famed for its cichlids (fish). The Lake of Stars festival takes place there in September.
- In the 19th century, David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, discovered Lake Malawi and renamed it Lake Nyassa. On the Livingstone “trail” in Malawi is the steamboat he ordered to replace his Ma-Robert and Pioneer. It is now a landing platform at Monkey Bay. The city of Blantyre is named after Livingstone’s birthplace in Scotland.
- Zomba has a rich colonial past – it is Malawi’s former capital city and seat of government - with several fine buildings including the Cobbe Barracks, the Gymkhana Club and old parliament buildings. The town sits at the base of the Zomba plateau, 1829 metres (6,000 feet) high.
- Mulanje Mountain, at 3,002 metres (9,800 feet), is the tallest mountain in south-central Africa. It’s not just for serious climbers; there are more gentle hikes too.