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What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Travelling can be frustrating in Malawi. Lodges are pretty expensive for what you get. Also, with the exception of the main highway (the M1), many roads are in terrible condition. Most trips anywhere in the country are at least a 4 hour drive, which makes it hard to do quick weekend trips. You can get to the lake in 2 hours though (in Salima). The country's topography is quite diverse though and it's very beautiful. - Jul 21, 2017
Four Seasons for lunch or brunch, Kumbali for brunch, BBQs at friend's houses, swimming at the Tamarind Club, tennis at the Golf Club or your friend's is what you make of it. Night life is pretty much Cameleon's, the Living Room, or Club Zanzi for dancing...not much but getting better. - Sep 17, 2013
Lake Malawi is beautiful. There are a wide variety of fish if you go to the right places to snorkel, even some scuba diving, boating, and just relaxing on the beach. Gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. Beautiful mountains, lots of birds and flowers and some pretty good game viewing in Liwonde. I haven't been to Nyika which is also supposed to be good for viewing. We've also gone to South Luangwa twice so we could see more big game (leopards, lions, buffalo, etc.). It's a long bumpy road, but worth the trip. There are many beaches and forest lodges. Lots of options if you can travel a few hours or so. - Sep 26, 2012
Going to the market, Kumbali village, Zomba Plateau, the tea estates, Lake Malawi, Domwe/Mumbo Island, game drives/boats in Liwonde, etc. - Sep 17, 2009
Malawi is a stunningly beautiful country. There are many scenic places along the lake--but not great accommodations or services. Expect to pay a lot and be a bit disappointed in terms of quality for cost. Mount Mulanje and other national parks are also worth seeing. South Luangwa game park across the border in Zambia is a must when you are so close! - Jul 27, 2009