We spent 14 nights in Malawi over Easter and some of you asked why Malawi, or maybe why a Malawi Family Holiday? What is there in Malawi, why did you chose Malawi as your next adventure destination? Lot of questions as to why?
The answer put simply was why not! When you see what a Malawi Family Holiday has to offer why would you not head out there and explore.
or maybe even head off on their October Half Term adventure!
You can see our highlights video of our 14 nights in Malawi below and there are a couple of other videos within the post too!
We flew with South African Airways through Johannesberg into Blanytre in Southern Malawi where our Malawi Family Holiday began. The long haul flight was actually OK and the kids slept for 8 out of the 11 hours from London to Johannesberg.
Check out some of our long haul flight essentials here.
We chose to spend 3 nights at our first hotel in order to allow the children some time to acclimatise and get over the long overnight flight.
So we first went to
Game Haven Lodge | Malawi Family Holiday (3 Nights)
Game Haven Lodge is a beautiful 500 acre game park and lodge, set in one of the last remaining indigenous forests and grasslands of the Shire Highlands of Southern Malawi approximately 20km from Blantyre on Chimwenya Game Park, Bvumbwe.
We even got chance to see the 3 week old baby giraffe due to our brilliant guide who found the giraffes fairly quickly and then lifted the kids up onto his shoulders so they could see.
You can read our full review of Game Haven Lodge here!
From Game Haven Lodge we visited a couple of community projects in Blantyre – The Malawi Council for the Handicapped and the Pamet Recycling Company.
In between our time at Game Haven Lodge and Zomba Forest Lodge we made a slight detour (3 hour detour) to visit Mount Mulanje. We decided to visit Mount Mulanje mainly because we’d read up on the fact that you could get some of the best views in Malawi from the top. Whilst you don’t get anywhere near the top with kids we did thoroughly enjoy the trip.
You can read the full blog post about Mount Mulanje with Kids here.
Zomba Forest Lodge | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)
Our two days at Zomba Forest Lodge were fabulous and I’d highly recommend it as a place to stay and to put on your Malawi Itinerary. It’s quirky and unique and I’m quite sure we will never stay anywhere quite like it again. Check out their website for booking details.
The food at Zomba Forest Lodge is what’s talked about most consistently on their Tripadvisor reviews and rightly so. The food descriptions are quirky and written up on a blackboard in the morning. You don’t quite know what’s going to arrive but when it does it is very very good. A clever use of local ingredients made with European flare meant over the course of two days we ate meals including Moroccan Tagine, stuffed breads, quiche, chicken and sweet potato surprise. Matt and I loved the food and ate everything that was lovingly prepared. The quality of the ingredients and the way it was cooked really was quite exceptional. It was also nice to sit around a table with people and discuss everything and anything.
You can read our full review of Zomba Forest Lodge here!
Whilst we were at Zomba Forest Lodge we also took part in some really fun activities with Yodep too some of which you can find in this video!
Mvuu Camp | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)
We were hosted at Mvuu Camp as guests of Central African Wilderness Safaris and I can honestly say that we had the most amazing time there. Mvuu Camp (and Mvuu Lodge next door) are set within the 548 sq km Liwonde National Park, which itself is a 30 minute flight from Blantyre (or three hours’ drive). We actually arrived via a stay at Zomba Forest Lodge which took around 3 hours too.
Liwonde National Park, run by African Parks since 2015, is once again starting to show signs of improvement. In the absence of an effective perimeter fence prior to 2015, high levels of poaching, illegal fishing and unsustainable deforestation had an adverse effect on the ecosystem and things had been looking incredibly bleak. Now however with the construction of a new 117 km of electrical perimeter fence, the elephant translocation and the re-introduction of cheetah, lions and rhino to the park, it’s definitely worth visiting Liwonde National Park and you most certainly won’t leave wondering if it was worth it.
We spent some time experiencing what African Parks have achieved in Rwanda so can’t wait to experience what they have achieved in Malawi too!
You can read our full review of Mvuu Camp here!
Have a look at which animals we saw! Some of these were seen at Game Haven too!
Pumulani | Malawi Family Holiday (1 Night)
What can I say about Pumulani Lodge from Robin Pope Safaris that hasn’t already been said by the countless 5* reviews on Tripadvisor. It’s stunningly beautiful, service is exceptional and the villas have a greater square footage than most London flats.
We retired to our private deck at the villa with a nightcap and sat listening to the sound of the Lake before collapsing into bed, very happy and content, with only a little sadness at the shortness of our stay.
The name Pumulani means “rest well” in the local Chichewa language, and that’s exactly what we were offered – the chance to unwind in a beautiful and tranquil setting.
You can read our full review of Pumulani Lodge here!
Makokola Retreat | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)
Makokola Retreat is magnificently set on an unspoilt Palm Fringed Lakeshore North of Mangochi, The Makokola Retreat is a retreat for relaxation, unwinding and recuperation. The resort is a popular and one of the good standard Malawi beach resorts on the shores of Lake Malawi. However, over our 14 night in Malawi the resort offered the most “standard” accommodation compared to other unique and engaging experiences offered by the other places we were fortunate enough to visit.
You can read our full review of The Makokola Retreat here!
During our time at The Makokola Retreat we spent a fabulous few hours at the local Book Bus. We had the most wonderful time at the Book Bus that afternoon and if you are debating whether you should visit with your kids then the answer is most definitely yes. The visit had initially only been planned for and hour and a half but at 4pm when we were due to leave the girls were still enjoying themselves it seemed a shame to move them on.
You can read a full post on our experience at the Book Bus in Malawi here.
Domwe Island | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)
Domwe Island is a pristine, uninhabited island, which is part of the Lake Malawi National Park – a World Heritage site. We stayed at the only camp on the island, which has minimal environmental impact – and maximum comfort for guests! We stayed in a fully-equipped walk-in tent on a deck under a thatched roof!
Chawani Bungalow | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)
Chawani Bungalow is sited on the slopes of Thyolo Mountain, it’s a historic tea planter’s bungalow and is a relaxed, family friendly retreat surrounded by lush subtropical rainforest on Satemwa Estate. The kids had a fascinating day at the Satemwa Tea Estate and I wouldn’t hesitate to take them again. It’s an easy day trip from Blantyre but also a lovely place to stay (particularly Huntingdon House!) if you’re travelling around Malawi.