Many nationalities don't need a visa in order to go to Malawi. eventhough before you get there ask if it's true for your nationality.
About the country
One of the more poor countries in the area, because they don't have minerals like others countries in the area. Malawi is a small country compare to all its neighbours and sits on Malawi lake, even that the big cities aren't close to the lake, and this is one of the attractions of this country, since the animal life isn't so good, but you can do a quiet safari almost without see many others tourists. This country isn't so known and I'm sure that some people who read those lines havn't heard about Malawi. The biggest city of Malawi is Blantyre and the capital city is Lilongwe.
Getting to Malawi
If you want to continue to Zimbabwe you must get a visa to Mozambique in advance you can get it in Blantyre or in Lilongwe, if you stay in Wayfarer in Blantyre, you can get a visa in 1 day and you don't ne ed a passport photo. Also some people will need to get a visa in advance to Zimbabwe and this vias you must get in Lilongwe. The buses to Harare (Zimbabwe) depature from Blantyre, you have 2 options first there are some companies which operate ordinary bu s or the luxury bus that you take it from Mount Soche Hotel. If you go to Tanzania (I think there is a direct bus to Dar ES Salam from Lilongwe) you must get the visa before going to Malawi since there isn't Tanzanian embassy in Malawi and the officers in the Tanzanian border know this situation so they won't give you the visa in the border.
Going in Malawi
The public transport especially in the north of the country is slow and you can hardly find a bus. Even to hitch hike isn't easy. This is the country that I wasted the most time on w aiting for a lift. Most of the buses to the far destinations leave early in the morning, except the line between Blantyre and Lilongwe where you can find variety of buses and even luxury ones. If you can hire a car this is the best option.
Where to go
If you're in the north of Malawi don't miss the Livingstonia, from Chitimba you should hike up to this town because it's very difficult to find a lift to this town. In Chitimba you can take a guide who will show you the shortcuts to Livingstonia. There are nice water falls on the way up, but I reccomand to see them in the way down. This town is very nice and most of the buildings built in old English style and also the place to stay is inside of those big and nice houses. In this part of Malawi it's not so easy to find a good food, but you can take a meal in one of the small resturants in the town. Be aware that you can't change money not in Chitimba and not in Livingstonia. In Malawi lake it's also very cheap to take a scuba diving course. For the beginers course you'll pay 110 US$, there in only one places to take the course at the moment after the school in Nkhata Bay has been closed, therefore the single place to take a course is in Cape Mclear (Monkey bay) in the south part of Malawi lake. There is also a diving school at Chinteche (44 km south of Nkhata Bay), at Khande Beach 10km south of Chinteche. Malawi is also a good place to buy a wood craft, you can find a good market in Senga Bay near Salima and also the stuff in Blantyre is even better since they buy it from many small vilages and then sell it and from this town you can also take a tour to th e lizards island, I saw there some lizards, but you can find there a lot of sheet so therefore I think you should avoid this place. Very close to Nkhata Bay there is a fish farm where they grow fish to put in aquariums for export Where to stay
If you go to Livingstonia town you can stay the previous night in Chitimba in Das's place, this is a camp site on the shore of the lake, the place is simple and to if you want to wash yourself you should go inside the lake. In Livingstonia the Stone house is the nicest, it's an big old stone house in European style with large and high rooms. If you choose to stay in Mezuzu which isn't intresting town, the CAPP near the central bus station is a good choise. In Nkhata Bay there are a few places to stay with a beach or near the beach I stayed in Backpackers Corner which was good and stand on a hill where you can see the town and the lake. . Njaya Lodge, run by Brian and Claire in Nkhata Bay, also have Kayak Safaris, from 1 day till 1 week. In Chinteche there are some lodges with cheap chalets Flame Tree Lodge, which is nice. Sambani Lodge is nice too. Kawiya Cottages, I have no information about. Katoto Beach is terrible and Mkuzi Lodge is situated in a beautiful bay and they have good food, they also have camping facilities . Nkwazi Lodge has camping facilities and ablution blocks. They can cook for you if you order it in advance, it's very cheap. It's a beautiful spot, nice beach and gardens. Khande Beach (this is about 10 km south of Chinteche and is mainly a place for overlanders. They have a bar, restaurant and also a Diving school). There is also a hotel Hotel which is Chinteche Inn (wonderful restaurant, but very expensive for Malawi standards), they also have camping facilities. In Senga bay I stayed in Hipo camp site, but there are also another more expensive choise there. In Blantyre Wayfarer is nice place, but the stuff wasn't friendly, it's very close to central bus station and it's the most luxury backpackers hostel I saw in Malawi, because it's close to Zimbabwe and it looks like the hostels in Zimbabwe. In all those place the price for camping is very low 1-2US$ per night, the dormitories are a little bit more expensive