Combine two of the country's premier wildlife destinations with some beach relaxation to bring together the best Malawi has to offer.
Malawi has a lot to offer wildlife lovers, from fascinating Majete Game Reserve, finally restored to its former glory after years of destructive poaching, to Liwonde National Park, the country’s foremost wildlife attraction. Our 'Best of Malawi' itinerary culminates with some time at the beaches of Lake Malawi: the ‘Lake of Stars’ is an ideal spot to enjoy some restorative relaxation. All three locations offer more than enough species diversity to keep avid birders fully occupied.
Day1: Depart UK
Days2-4: Arrive Blantyre, fly to Nchalo & transfer to Majete Wildlife Reserve; vehicle, boat & walking safaris
On arrival at Blantyre International Airport you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your camp in Majete Wildlife Reserve, a drive of approximately one hour through colourful local villages and bush. Depending on your arrival time there should be time to enjoy lunch looking out over the Shire River and an afternoon and night wildlife safari.
Days5-7: Drive to Liwonde; vehicle, boat & walking safaris
Day and night wildlif safaris at Liwonde are conducted in open four-wheel-drive vehicles offer the best chance of spotting leopard, lion, elephant and sable. However, the highlight here are the superb river cruises in specially-constructed boats which take you out in the heat of the day, when the animals emerge to drink; these allow you to get close to hippos, crocodiles and the wonderful birdlife. There are also exciting night trips to find civet, large spotted genet, large grey mongoose, white-backed night heron and Pel's fishing owl. A well-positioned hide overlooks the river, and with special permission you can visit the park’s new Rhino Sanctuary, which also contains Liechtenstein's hartebeest and buffalo.
Today you will transfer to Pumulani on Lake Malawi, normally by road, but occasionally part way by boat if the roads are wet. The 100-kilometre drive takes two to three hours, first skirting the shores of Lake Malombe where most of the year you can see the fish-drying racks that dot the villages along the lake's edge. Further north there is an option to stop at the old colonial naval port of Mangochi to visit the rundown yet eccentric little museum.
Standing beside the Shire River in the south west of Malawi, this area of the Great Rift Valley is characterised by sculpted miombo woodland undulating across the hills, which in turn overlook stunning river valleys and riverine forest. It is surprising then that so few decide to travel to this natural treasure.
Where: Southern Region
Ideal for viewing: black rhino, African elephant, Burchell’s zebra, leopard, Cape buffalo
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris
Set at the southern end of Lake Malombe, Liwonde National Park has quiet lagoons, open savannah and wooded hills. There is an astonishing diversity of birdlife to be found here, however the park's major attractions are boat safaris on the Shire River and the successful reintroduction of black rhino.
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris, Birdwatching
Lake Malawi covers nearly one quarter of the country. Its northern shore combines well with the Nyika Plateau and feels relatively untouched, while the most exclusive lodges are located on the Mozambique side. Either way, relaxing on the sandy beaches makes a fine addition to any safari in Zambia or Malawi.
Where: Eastern Malawi
Ideal for viewing: African fish eagle, hippo, Nile crocodile, vervet monkey, dik dik
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
The perfect combination of luxury and isolation, Mkulumadzi is located on a private concession beside the Shire River. Eight spacious chalets, shaded by giant mango trees, have a deck, sunken bath and outside shower. The lodge offers vehicle, walking and boat safaris in Majete Reserve.
This upmarket lodge is nestled in thick undergrowth on the banks of a lagoon just off the Shire River. It offers eight luxury tents with en suite bathroom and private viewing deck looking out on the lagoon. A short distance away, the somewhat simpler Mvuu Camp has 12 chalets with river views.
Pumulani is an exclusive property set on a peninsula overlooking the southern end of Lake Malawi. Subtly nestled in the hillside, ten stylish, grass-roofed villas blend with their surroundings and open out onto a private deck with lake views. Relax on the private beach or beside the infinity pool, snorkel, dive or kayak.