Malawi named one of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel Top Countries for 2022! Find out more.
Malawi named one of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel Top Countries for 2022! Find out more.
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Malawi's Events

Malawi has a lot to offer when it comes to events, with musical, cultural and sporting events throughout the year. Below is a brief calendar of some of the main events in the country.

Manda Wilderness Dug-Out Canoe Race – April

This epic and adrenaline filled race, really just about having fun, brings eight communities together from the Manda Wilderness area to battle it out on the waters of Lake Malawi. The day starts off with swimming competitions for the boys and girls, as the adults prepare their finely crafted canoes for the main event.

Zomba City Festival – 26 – 28 April

Entering its forth year in 2024, the concept of the festival is to have visitors moving from one venue to the other with entertainment for all ages found at various lodges and public spaces. There will be arts & culture, sports and kids activities spread over town; from Art in the Park with a visual art exhibition and food fair in the Botanic Gardens to live music at Pakachere Lodge, yoga, theatre, poetry, hiking, and much more.

Malawi Fashion Week: End of May / Start of June

This small but fun event brings together models, designers, retails, and buyers – giving them the opportunity to network and create new contacts. It’s an opportunity to see some of Malawi’s best offerings when it comes to fashion!

Luwawa International Mount Bike Marathon:  6th July

The race has been described as “a tough but very beautiful route” and at a distance of 50km; this is by no means an exaggeration. The track, starting at the Luwawa Forest Lodge follows the ridge silhouette of the South Viphya Forest Reserve, allowing competitors and supporters alike to enjoy the stunning scenery. Read more about Cycling & Mountain Biking in Malawi here.

Mulanje Porters Race: July

The annual Mount Mulanje Porters Race regularly attracts the attention of hundreds of participants every year, both male and female and from all over the world. The participants athletically compete by running up and across the lovely plateaus of Mount Mulanje.

The race takes place on the small, rocky, hazardous paths of Mount Mulanje and is 22 kilometers in distance, which would take a real mountain climber twelve hours to cover, but the runners manage the race in less than three hours! By no means is this race for novices, but it is great fun.

Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon: Early August TBC

This epic test of speed, endurance, and shear determination first took place in 1984, born by a group of sailors in the form of a casual sail northward up the Lake. Deck chairs lashed to the hulls, this tranquil route running South to North was just a hobby, but it wasn’t long until competition slipped in. Now, it’s become an annual event. In 2023 it ran from 5th – 12th August. Click here for more info.

World Lion Day: 10th August

Malawi is now well and truly home to the Big Five – and of course this includes lions. Whilst Malawi has always been home to lions, the real success has been with the re-introductions to Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park. The lions are thriving and breeding as Malawi’s population grows. With these great achievements meaning so much to Malawi and African Parks – who manage Majete and Liwonde, World Lion Day is always an important day, and a day to celebrate!

Annual Choir Festival: August

Since the first Choir Festival in 2010, Nkwichi Lodge and The Manda Wilderness Community Trust (MWCT), a UK-based charity that has organised the Festival since its inception, have supported this event.  MWCT connects some of the least supported communities to engage in sustainable development projects. The Trust also supports community events that provide training and fosters unity in the region, and leads conservation in one of Africa’s last true wildernesses. The Trust is committed to work at the pace of local communities and encouraging active collaboration between them.

Malipenga Dance Season: August

Malipenga Dance Season is a traditional celebration of one of Malawi’s most iconic dance forms. Exhibitions take place all over the districts including Karonga, Rumphi and Nkhata Bay and are some of the most-loved demonstrations of the country’s rich heritage.

Interregional Music Crossroads: August

During this celebration of music bands from all over Africa congregate in Malawi’s second largest town Blantyre, and compete in this popular music contest. The prize – a prestigious European Tour! This is a great chance to experience the best of Malawi’s home grown talent and music.

KuNgoni Open Day: August

Each year the KuNgoni Centre organises a cultural festival in memory of Father Jean-Baptiste Champmartin to whom the museum at Mua is dedicated. This is a cultural festival that brings drummers, singers and dancers from the surrounding villages displaying knowledge and dancing skills of the Chewa, Yao and Ngoni peoples.

The Umthelo Cultural Festival

Each This is a three-day cultural festival among the Ngoni people, that takes place every August, on Hora Mountain in Mzimba district in the north of Malawi. Hora Mountain is said to have been the first Ngoni settlement in Malawi. The Ngoni tribe are renowned for their dances, particularly one known as Ingoma, a dance that demonstrates the history and pride of the Ngoni people and is danced by both men and women.

Likoma Summer Cultural Festival (Li-Surf): August

Li-surf is a summer cultural event that aims to be different by providing a “modern touch”. It seeks to promote and share Likoma and Chizumulu Islands to the world and bring the world closer to the peoples of the 2 islands through cultural interactions and fun.

Blantyre Arts Festival: August

Aims to promote and celebrate Malawi’s cultural heritage, increase appreciation of the same, and promote the creative and cultural industries. Held in urban Blantyre and on the International level. To initiate skills and professional through trainings and workshops with arts cultural exchange programs. To promote tourism and enhance cultural economic income for the development of creative industry.

Cape Maclear Carnival: 30 Aug – 1 Sept 2024

The Cape Maclear Carnival launched in 2023 with the full title ‘Cape Maclear Carnival presents a Fitness Fiesta: Ignite the Revival” – this celebration harmoniously blends elements of health, fitness, culture, and entertainment to reinvigorate tourism in this beautiful destination. The Cape Maclear Carnival is now expected to be an annual event and the 2024 edition will focus on a Sprint Triathlon – an exhilarating weekend filled with fitness, fun and community spirit.

Lake of Stars Festival: 6 – 8 September 2024

Lake of Stars is an internationally renowned music festival that takes place on the palm fringed shores of Lake Malawi each year. It is a hugely successful event and the biggest on the country’s calendar.  The 2019 event took place from 27 to 29 September at Kachere Kastle on the northern Lakeshore south of Chintheche. Due to COVID, the festival has not been operational for the past three years. We are very pleased that the festival will return in 2024 at Fish Eagle Bay Lodge.

Sand Music Festival: 27 – 29 September

This is a 3-day music festival based at Senga Bay set up as an alternative to Lake of Stars.

Umhlangano Cultural Festival

The Umhlangano cultural festival is held annually in September in Ntcheu district, in the southern part of Malawi. This colorful celebration brings together diverse ethnic groups to showcase their traditional music, dance, food, rituals, ceremonies and customs.

Likoma Festival: October

Likoma Festival is Malawi’s annual Island festival. A contemporary celebration of arts and culture with a strong focus on artists and traditional dances from Malawi and the rest of the continent. The Festival is aimed at promoting tourism on Likoma District which at the same time providing people with an opportunity to learn, earn, enjoy and advance their lives..

Kumbali Live Concert

Get ready to groove to the rhythm of the hottest hits! Kumbali Country Lodge are excited to announce the upcoming Kumbali Live Concert, sponsored by Standard Bank with a staggering 30 million kwacha sponsorship. Taking place on on 11 November, 2023, an unforgettable night of live acts include Lawi, George Kalukusha, and Ami Faku. This exclusive event will be held in the picturesque Kumbali Castle Gardens, creating a magical atmosphere that will transport you to a world of music and celebration. Get your tickets here.

Tumaini Festival: November

Tumaini is a music and cultural festival that takes place at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in central Malawi, 28km outside Lilongwe. It’s a unique and remarkable event, organised by refugees and Malawians, that has grown and grown since its first edition in 2014. It uses entertainment and artistic expression to promote intercultural harmony, mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence. As a community celebration, entrance is free and it now also offers an innovative homestay programme offering fascinating insights into camp life.  In 2024 the 10th Anniversary event will run from 31 October to 2 November.


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Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon

The Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon (LMSM) is an annual sporting event in the Malawi calandar. Established in 1984, the event was created by a group of sailors, which began as a casual sail northward up the Lake, with deck chairs lashed to the hulls.

Lake of Stars Festival

The Lake of Stars Festival is an internationally renowned music festival that takes place on the palm fringed shored of Lake Malawi.