Planning a trip to the Warm Heart of Africa? But not sure when to visit? Malawi truly is an all-year destination, however, for some, November may be too hot and February too wet! The climate isn’t the only factor that influences when to visit a country; there are events and costs which can weigh in on the decision making.
Let’s take a closer look at the calendar and see what you can expect throughout the year.
January – March
Seeing in the new year in a foreign country is an exceptional experience and that is no different in Malawi – partying throughout the night and waking up to the vast lake and the scorching sun is an instant hangover cure… Unfortunately, January in Malawi, this isn’t a guarantee. January and February are mid-summer months, temperatures are hot, uncomfortably so for some, and rainfall is at its highest. But hey, there are worse places to get rained on!
The Funky Cichlid hosts a vibrant New Years Party with a diverse crowd, attracting more people each year. You can opt to stay somewhere quieter / more upmarket but still join in the fun. Come mid-January, the bay clears out for those looking for a quiet escape.
If partying isn’t your thing and you aren’t visiting just for the lake, January – March is an exciting time to safari, particularly if you are an avid birder. This is a fantastic time for birdwatching. Over 650 different species of bird have been identified in Malawi with about 10 percent not being seen in other parts of southern Africa.
January, February and March fall into the off-season – during this period lodges offer cheaper rates. Providing an opportunity to save a few pennies!
April – June
Come April the clouds are, almost, rained out! The country is in bloom, the landscape is a sea (or lake) of green and looking very pretty. During this time, there is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables for sale by the roadside and temperatures are dropping. The average temperature in April is 26°C, 25°C in May and 23°C in June.
As well as being cooler, June is the windy month so it’s a great time to head to the lake for sailing and relaxing at the lakeshore.
The lush landscape and cooling temperatures make May and June an ideal time of year to hike Mount Mulanje. Bear in mind, temperatures can drop below 0 in the highlands so take lots of layers (we will advise you on exactly what to pack if you hike with us).
July – September
The landscape still retains its beautiful rich colours from the rains and the temperature is cool. During September, the temperature is on the rise – expect temperatures of 27°C in Lilongwe and higher at the lake – so this is ideal for those of you wanting prime sunbathing conditions.
A hugely popular event on the Malawi calendar is Lake of Stars. The festival returns this September after a year hiatus. The festival brings together tourists, locals and volunteers for 3 days of music, arts and culture. This is a magnificent and unique occasion – how often do you get to dance around under the scorching sun on a beach in southern Africa?
If exercise is your thing there is the Cape Maclear Triathlon, scheduled for mid-September. Now in its 4th year, the CMT has proven extremely popular, welcoming a varying level of athletes from across Malawi and farther afield.
October – December
October and November are the hottest months, expect average temperatures of 30°C and highs of 35°C. October – December (and September) are the best months for diving and snorkelling. The lake is calm and the temperature of the water is ideal.
November and December, typically, mark the beginning of the rains, short in November and long in December.
When to go
Each period of the year has its appeal. Depending on what you want to see and do and the climate you enjoy will guide you in deciding which is the best time to visit.
Broadly speaking, the best time to visit Malawi runs from mid-May to August, being the coolest period of the dry season. However, if you enjoy the heat mid-August, September and October may be a better choice.
Whenever you decide to visit us here in the Warm Heart of Africa we guarantee you will have an incredible time and visit again – maybe during the same sizzling month or a different period. The rains are spectacular…!
Want to know more about what to expect and when? Contact our team and they can tell you all about Malawi.
Rory spent two years working in Malawi at Malawian Style and got to discover much of Malawi and Zambia before returning to Europe – where he continues to put Malawi on the map. His favourite experience was trekking Mount Mulanje due to its challenging trails yet rewarding views and the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the peak. He continues to travel and is certain to return to Southern Africa again soon!