Culture and Music Abound at the Lake of Stars Arts Festival in Malawi

The Malawi Lake of Stars Music Festival is a three-day international arts festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi, the third biggest lake in Africa. Now in its 8th year, this festival will run from September 30 through October 2 and promises to offer its best line up of Afropop, reggae, folk performers yet.

The festival is the brainchild of Will Jameson, who wanted to find a way to promote Malawi as a tourism destination, raise money for the country, and expose Malawian artists to international crowds. It is entirely run by volunteers and proceeds are donated to charitable projects close to the festival site as well as to UNICEF, Build Malawi, Malawi Health Care Support and the Microloan Foundation. Even the stages are built entirely from sustainable bamboo!

The name Malawi Lake of Stars comes from the nickname given to Lake Malawi by David Livingstone, who was a Scottish Christian missionary and explorer of Africa during the 1800s. Malawi is Africa’s most docile destination and the lakeside is its most peaceful, sun-kissed area. Lake Malawi contains more species of fish than any other lake in the world and offers great bird watching opportunities too.

One company has exclusive festival ticket options including a range of flight and accommodation choices, although camping and hostel selections are all that is left for this year’s festival. If you plan to go, consider public transportation as there is a good network of inexpensive public buses throughout the country. Small mini-buses offer local journeys while larger coaches tackle the longer distance routes. Also, October and November along with April and May are the best months to visit as there are less rainfall and therefore more opportunity to see wildlife.

Responsible travel is catching on in the region as the country competes for tourism revenue. A green lodging choice in Northern Malawi is Luwawa Forest Lodge, which has a range of accommodations, was awarded the Malawi Government’s Ministerial Award in 2008 for community development work and sustainable tourism. 

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