Blantyre and southern Malawi
Comprised of dramatic mountains and plateaus, lakes and forests, the southern portion of Malawi receives the largest numbers of visitors, and offers an incredibly diverse variety of activities where visitors can experience both adventure and wildlife. The south is also home to Blantyre, a dynamic city which provides a cosmopolitan jumping off point for anyone wishing to explore the south.
In the south of Malawi, where Lake meets Land, is Liwonde National Park. Bisected by the Shire River, the park is home to a large number of elephant, hippo, plains game including the beautiful sable antelope and the shy serval. The park is very lush, almost tropical, and one of the highlights is to take a boat trip on the river, drifting close to elephant as they feed at the water’s edge. Lions have recently been introduced to the park, with other predators soon to follow.
Visitors to the south may also encounter the impressive Zomba Plateau, a magnificent table top mountain, its surface playing host to forests, lakes and waterfalls. Hiking to the top of this stunning landform can be done with relative ease, and the views over the surrounding countryside are certainly rewarding. The rugged lanscape makes this region perfect for a variety of activities including horse-riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing and bird watching.
The Mulanje Massif, composed of several majestic peaks and ridges (the highest of which stands at 3001m) also provides an exhilarating playground for the adventurous. Most of the summits can be reached without technical climbing making this perfect for beginners. Rugged cliffs, lush valleys and cascading waterfalls provide wonderful scenery and form the habitats for an array of wildlife which calls the mountains home.
Not only incredible scenery is on offer in Malawi's southern portion- it is also home to Lilongwe, the county's capital city. Lilongwe may not always give off the best first impression due to its chaotic hustle and bustle and overcrowded streets, but the market and restaurants offer a certain charm, and the tobacco auction floors provide fascinating visits and wonderful photo opportunities.
Blantyre makes for a more pleasant city to explore, home to great resturants and bars without the same furore as Lilongwe. The layout of Blantyre is significantly more structured making it easy to navigate, and its proximity to some of the region's highlights make it a perfect place to base yourself if you want to head to the mountainous region of Mulanje or the Lower Shire Valley.