Top 10 Things to do in Malawi
1. Visit the Lake, especially Mangochi
It's absolutely beautiful.
You really can't say you've been to Malawi if you haven't been to the lake! Mangochi offers the best experience but Nkhata Bay and Salima are also gorgeous.
2. Try Chambo fish, nsima and chombe tea
Lake Malawi has the largest number of freshwater fish species for any single lake in the world. Chambo is the most popular variety of fish so you should taste that in addition to any other fish.
Nsima is Malawi's staple food. You'll either like it or you'll hate it. It's cooked maize flour, a little like polenta. It's similar to mealie meal in South Africa, sadza in Zimbabwe or nshima in Zambia. That said, the texture is very smooth and less grainy than mealie meal.
Tea is Malawi's second biggest export. Much of Tetley's Tea in England and the US is sourced from Malawi.
There are other local delicacies e.g. mandasi which we would totally encourage you to sample. These are like doughnuts, only nicer!
3. Go on a village walk
The lake is probably the best place to do this. Many resorts offer village walks as part of package. You'll probably also get to purchase curios at better prices within the village than you would at a market.
4. Go up Mulanje Mountain
The vistas from atop Mulanje mountain are breathtaking.
Drive to Mulanje through Thyolo and you will also get to see the tea plantations. It's a fantastic drive.
5. Visit at least one national park
We have many great national parks in Malawi.
Liwonde National Park is very popular and is a short 1.5-2 hour drive from Blantyre.
6. Visit Kamuzu Academy
Dubbed the Eton of Africa, Kamuzu Academy is a very well-built establishment. It's about 2 hours 30 mins from Lilongwe and very well worth a day trip.
7. Buy some curios (ziboliboli)
Ziboliboli is the Chichewa for curios. They are everywhere enroute to the lake and in some 'hotspots' in Blantyre and Lilongwe. There are many roadside sellers on the drive to Mangochi from Blantyre.
There are also some curios sellers localised in the main cities e.g. within Blantyre Market (just ask someone local for the nearest curios hotspot).
You'll also find plenty outside Ku Chawe Inn at the top of Zomba Mountain.
Buying art and curios in Malawi is a great way to support local communities.
8. Go to a Malawian wedding and try perekani-perekani
Malawian don't just dance at weddings, they throw money.
Change your money into Malawian Kwacha (50s, 100s and 200s recommended) and get throwing.
Don't worry about your moves, just shake those hips and go crazy - no one will judge!
9. Go to a Malawian church
Church and God are a very big part of Malawian culture. It's (almost) taboo not to believe in God in Malawi.
Or maybe a museum?
If you're not inclined to visit a church how about the National Museum on Kamuzu Highway halfway between Blantyre and Limbe. There's a small collection of traditional weapons and artefacts, and exhibits relating to traditional dance, European exploration and slavery.
Admission: USD0.70 (you can't beat that!)
10. Take a walk through Blantyre including Blantyre Market
Blantyre is designed for walking. Starting from Mount Soche Hotel walk down Victoria Avenue all the way to Blantyre Market.
From Blantyre Market take the road up to the old colonial house, La Caverna - they sell curios (pricey but great quality) and the cakes are divine - my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
11. Adopt an orphan (or two)?
Not being sarcastic. There are many orphans and abandoned children in Malawi.
See our list of charities.
We love openarmsmalawi.org.