MALAWI SAFARIS & BEACH, PLUS BIRDWATCHING HOLIDAYS

Underrated, Malawi offers an interesting diversity of wildlife reserves and genuine encounters with both nature and people. Malawi is an exceptional country for birdwatching holidays. The more adventurous can discover a different Africa.

Experiences in Malawi

Mkumuladzi Lodge

Liwonde National Park

Nyika Plateau

Lake Malawi

Mkumuladzi Lodge - Private Majete

Reached across a suspension bridge this fine lodge nestles in the riverine bush beside the lower Shire River. With just 8 spacious river-facing rooms this lodge has its own concession area within Majete National Park allowing you to explore the bush and have wildlife encounters where few others venture. The lodge has one of the nicest pools we know and for the adventurous there is a viewpoint star bed where you can sleepout overnight above the forested park below. A relaxed atmosphere pervades as Mkumuladzi yet staff are attentive.

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Liwonde National Park - Premier park

Almost timeless, the Shire River runs its languid course along the western edge of Liwonde National Park and provides water to the great populations of wildlife. Groups of 120+ elephants come to the river, waterbuck are everywhere on the floodplains, herds of 100+ sable walk in line to the waters edge. With recent introductions of more rhino and the lions and cheetah breeding this park certainly has come of age thanks to the conservation efforts of African Parks.

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Nyika National Park - Upland Eden

High above the Rift Valley at around 2,300m is a truly beautiful wilderness of rolling grasslands; home to an interesting variety of game but it is perhaps the upland and endemic birds as well as a stunning array of flora of which the 200+ species of orchid stand out. The vast Nyika National Park at over 3,200km2 is great place to walk, mountain bike or just take game drives with highly knowledgeable local guides. There are a number of extended hiking trails too. There really is nothing like Nyika in Africa!

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Lake Malawi - Tropical waters

The enticing turquoise waters of Lake Malawi and its white sandy beaches are a terrific asset to Malawi. Covering around one third of the country the warm waters, a veritable inland sea, are home to colourful cichlid fish, perfect for snorkelling and diving. There is a good choice of accommodation from upmarket lodges to simpler tented camps, sited on beaches to rocky outcrops above the freshwater.

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Our Holiday Ideas

Some of the very best opportunities for safaris in Malawi from self-drive holidays, guided safaris to flying safari holidays. Malawi offers great choice and combines nicely with Zambia too. Be sure to contact us with your own ideas.

Malawi

Malawi as a safari destination? Most certainly. It is perhaps overlooked beside more popular neighbours, Zambia and Tanzania but it holds some real gems and still provides memorable experiences. Of course, with the long lake at over 580km long and practically and inland sea bordered by sandy beaches it also is a great destination to end a safari with some days of relaxation. For explorers there are a wealth of adventures to be found. Mt. Mulanje offers hiking trails, as does the Nyika plateau. Mountain biking is also popular and allows a great way to meet the friendly local peoples. There are many clichés, "the warm heart of Africa", "Africa's friendlist nation"; certainly highly populated, you will find people accessible and welcoming, often offering what little they have.

The key national parks are Majete Wildlife Reserve, Liwonde National Park, Nkhotakota National Park and Nyika National Park. Other reserves generally have simple accommodation and infrastructure. However, some locations should be on the list for those interested in bird watching in Malawi: Ntchisi, Zomba plateau, Mt. Mulanje, Dzalanyama. Birding this small country with around 650 recorded species and a number of near endemic and endemics is a delight and highly recommended.

Majete Wildlife Reserve has been returned to a thriving sanctuary for wildlife thanks to the reintroductions made by the major conservation organisation African Parks over the last 15 years or so. The reserve bounds the Shire River through the Lower Shire Valley where it runs a rocky course that once thwarted Livingstone. Mostly forested there are a number of waterholes to sustain the wildlife in the higher regions of the park. Game viewing is primarily by vehicle and off-road driving is not possible due to the vegetation. Afternoon drives usually finish with a spotlighting return to camp. Morning guided walks are made from Mkumuladzi Lodge.

Liwonde National Park is perhaps the jewel of Malawi's national parks. It has a dense and varied wildlife population, interesting bird life and the possibility for bush walks, river trips as well as game drives and night drives. Beyond the slow-flowing Shire River there is mopane forest and a large open floodplain area characterised by large termite mounds, bogs and grasslands. Accommodation is within the park at either Mvuu Lodge & Camp or at Kuthengo, a small tented camp. This national park combines well with itinerary in the south of Malawi, on journeys through the country, as a bush and beach break or with neighbouring wildlife parks in Zambia.

Nkhotakota National Park, like the two mentioned above is also managed by African Parks. Dense miombo woodland surrounds the Bua River and adjoining valleys, this is a huge wildlife reserve that took in the translocation of 500 elephants. Safari activities here are primarily walks and canoeing on the Bua River, it is a place to discover the smaller wildlife and to understand the woodland ecosystem. Equally it makes a good place to relax or toengage with the local communities. Tongole Wilderness Retreat supports a number of schools in the area.

Nyika National Park is an upland area north of Mzuzu and bordering Zambia and undoubtedly one of the highlights of Malawi. The highlands are characterised by rolling grasslands, mountain streams and a patchwork of haegenia woodland. The grasslands support a range of antelope: eland, roan, common reedbuck, common duiker and bushbuck. Nyika also has a high density of leopards and finds the occasional lion. It is an important area for bird watching with Denham’s bustard, the endemic red-winged francolin, bar-tailed trogon in the woodland patches, wing-snapping cisticola and yellow-crowned canary flying over the flowering slopes, whilst scarlet-tufted sunbirds can be seen among the protea flowers dotted among rocky outcrops.

 

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Malawi Travel Information

CAPITAL Lilongwe

TIME ZONE GMT +2 hours

FLIGHTS

To: Lilongwe or Blantyre
Airlines: Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways
Flight time: approx. 11 hours

HEALTH

Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A, Meningitis vaccinations and Malaria prophylaxis are recommended. You should consult your G.P. for up to date and precise details before travelling.

WEATHER

Malawi has a high season between June and October whilst travel in the green season from November to March when the rains arrive can be rewarding, both for bird watchers as well as botanists. At this time the Nyika plateau is in flower and the country is lush and green. Wildlife tends to have new-born at this time. Outside of the main tourist season of July and August the parks can be quiet.

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