Things to do in Malawi
Malawi’s roads are so much better than they used to be and are constantly being improved: they’re tarmacked no less, a luxury when compared to some parts of Africa! This makes it an ideal destination for a self-drive vacation; meaning you’re in control of what you see, for how long, where and when. There is no signage in Malawi’s more rural areas, but a tailor made vacation company will kit you out with all of the information and maps you need. Alternatively, hire a local driver-guide – they’ll know the roads back to front and can fill you in on local life, customs and culture as you go.
Any safari in Malawi is fantastic: on foot, you’ll notice smaller animals and their behaviours up close and on a game drive you’ll reach viewpoints that only a 4x4 can get to. However, a boat safari along the Shire River adds an extra thrilling dimension as you find yourself just feet away from an elephant, a hippo, or a crocodile sidling into the water to see what you’re up to.
Go to the Lake of Stars Festival. Held annually on the shores of Lake Malawi, it’s a three-day international music festival that began in 2004 and has since climbed the ranks to become one of the world’s best festivals attracting a stellar lineup of global and local acts and an audience of over 3,000 people. It’s very cool and yet steeped in tradition, the beer is ice cold, and it’s just really, really fun.
Volunteering in Malawi can involve helping out with rescued wild animals including carnivores, primates and reptiles, as well as contributing to community initiatives involving all sorts from education to tree-planting. Most trips offer shared, dorm-style accommodation and you’ll get stuck in with day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, but you’ll come away with a much clearer idea about the bigger picture regarding conservation and local culture across the country.