Malawi may be small compared to its neighbours, with an area of only 94,000 km², but it packs a lot within its borders with 633 bird species recorded and 1 endemic, the Yellow-throated Apalis.
Dominated by the grandeur of Lake Malawi, the country’s landscape boasts a stunning mix of habitats. From the expansive waters of the lake, which flank most the country, to the western highlands forming the African Rift Valley’s western flank, Malawi’s geographical range is rich and varied. The Shire River gracefully drains Lake Malawi southwards, adding to the nation’s natural allure. Southern Malawi, decorated with isolated massifs like Mulanje and Chiradzulu, highlight lush montane rainforests teeming with unique species.
Beyond its landscapes, Malawi teems with life, both in its vibrant communities and its rich biodiversity. Boasting a population of over 9 million people, Malawi exhibits a blend of cultures and traditions, contributing to the country’s warm and welcoming atmosphere. The avifauna is equally captivating, as Malawi stands as an exciting birding destination, offering birders an abundance of species, including near-endemics and a fascinating mix of migratory birds from both Palearctic and Intra-African regions.
At Sustainable Birding, we don’t offer ready-made, off-the-shelf birding tours. Our approach is deeply personalised—we meticulously craft each of our tours in Malawi from scratch, ensuring every detail aligns with your unique preferences. Whether exploring the diverse landscapes, from the shores of Lake Malawi to the montane forests of Mulanje and the charming Chelinda plains, our team of seasoned birding experts use our comprehensive knowledge to tailor your birding holiday, guaranteeing an experience perfectly attuned to your specific requirements.
All our birding tours in Malawi are expertly guided by our passionate, knowledgeable and experienced Malawian tour leaders. They are some of the best guides on the planet! So, give us a call or drop us an email and let’s talk Malawi!
Reasons to go on a Tailor-made Birding Tour
• Select the exact dates that suit your schedule.
• Choose the ideal time of year for your birding adventure.
• Travel alongside your preferred companions—be it family, friends, or fellow birders.
• Set your pace—whether fast or brisk.
• Customise within your personal budget, from luxurious to budget accommodations or a mix.
• Craft a tour that matches your specific interests—whether intense birding, leisurely exploration, photography, culture, music, wine, botany, butterflies, herpetology, geology, diving, hiking, and beyond.
• Our team is here to cater to your interests and ensure a fulfilling birding holiday.
Explore our selection of Scheduled Group Birding Tours in Malawi. These groups tours have been designed to fit different birding preference and time restraints. Typically, our group tours are more affordable, and allow people to meet up and make lifelong memories with fellow birders. All our group tours are small and come with an expert Tour Leader, having groups no bigger than 6 individuals, so you still get that intimate feeling and the full attention of the Tour Leader.
Please refer to our Birding Calendar for tour schedules, dates, and fixed prices.
In Malawi, birding remains captivating year-round, as 80% of its 633 species are residents within the country, ensuring a fulfilling experience regardless of the season.
However, for prime birding, the period spanning the end of the dry season (around October) to the end of the rainy season (approximately April) stands as the preferred window. During this time, the arrival of migratory birds from Europe and North Africa enhances the diversity of species. Particularly, November to December emerges as the peak, hosting a vibrant array of birds showing their breeding plumages. This timeframe offers bird enthusiasts an exceptional opportunity to witness a colourful and diverse spectacle, making it an ideal period for birdwatching in Malawi.
Malawi’s climate features a mix of tropical and subtropical influences, offering varied weather patterns across the country. Generally, the nation experiences a predominantly subtropical climate characterised by three distinct seasons. The dry season spans from May to October, marked by clear skies, minimal rainfall, and cooler temperatures. This period is ideal for wildlife viewing and trekking, particularly in the cooler highland areas, while the lower regions often highlight parched landscapes.
From November to April, Malawi enters its wet season, known for its higher temperatures and significant rainfall. The landscape transforms into lush greenery as the countryside blooms, attracting migratory birds and presenting excellent opportunities for birdwatching. However, access to certain areas might become challenging due to heavy rains and flooding, affecting travel and outdoor activities. The transitional months of April and November can experience unpredictable weather shifts as the seasons transition, making it a less predictable time for planning.
Preparing for a birding tour in Malawi requires packing essentials tailored to its diverse landscapes and varying weather conditions. Begin with lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for warm temperatures prevalent in most regions. Sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes are essential for walking in diverse terrains, from rugged trails to wetlands, providing stability and support during birdwatching activities. Additionally, a lightweight waterproof jacket or poncho proves invaluable during the rainy season when unexpected showers might occur.
Equipment such as high-quality binoculars tailored for birdwatching is essential and if you have a good working camera and lens, then please bring it with you! A comprehensive field guide specific to the country’s birds, such as Field Guide to Birds of Greater Southern Africa would be recommended.
*Remember that when you book a Malawi birding tour with us over 14 days, we will send you a new complementary field guide!
The Sustainable Birding Company is a subsidiary of Far and Wild Travel, a tailor-made tour company based in Cumbria, UK. Far and Wild Travel offer sustainable, luxury, tailor-made tour itineraries throughout Africa and around the world.