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.
Zomba City Festival – End of March / Start of April
Entering its second year in 2022, 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.
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.
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: June
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.
Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon: July/August
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 2020 it ran from 3-5 July. Click here for more info.
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.
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.
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.
Lake of Stars Festival: September
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. There will be no main event in 2022 but announcements for 2023 will be made at the end of August 22.
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.
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 2021 it will run from 4 to 7 November.
Sand Music Festival: November
This is a 3-day music festival based at Senga Bay set up as an alternative to Lake of Stars.
Find Out More
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.
The Lake of Stars Festival is an internationally renowned music festival that takes place on the palm fringed shored of Lake Malawi each year. This year will mark the sixteenth year of the sensational music and arts festival.