Destinations

Malawi luxury safari trips

This landlocked African country is dominated by towering mountains and cliffs, the vast Lake Malawi, and endless savannah plains that are home to huge herds of elephants, prides of lions, bathing hippos and other wild animals.

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Currency

Malawian Kwacha (MWK )

Language

English, Chichewa, Chinyanja, Chiyao & Chitmbuka
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Time Difference

UTC+02:00
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Capital

Lilongwe

Malawi highlights

Malawi is undoubtedly one of Africa’s untouched wildlife destinations. This landlocked African country is dominated by towering mountains and cliffs, the vast Lake Malawi, and endless savannah plains that are home to huge herds of elephants, prides of lions, bathing hippos and countless other huge and impressive wild animals. The Great Rift Valley dissects the country in two, creating Africa’s third-largest lake, which is popular with divers, snorkelers, kayakers and beach goers, there are also several secluded desert islands to visit. Malawi is quickly emerging as one of Africa’s top safari destinations and its small size puts all that the country has to offer within easy reach – cloud-coated mountain peaks in the south, rolling highlands in the north, and expansive waterways and grassy plains in the centre. Majete Wildife Reserve is Malawi’s only Big Five destination and under the management of Africa Parks, it has become a conservation success story. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park are also fast becoming top wildlife destinations in Malawi

Location

The landlocked country of Malawi is located in south eastern Africa, nestled between Tanzania to the north, Mozambique to the south and east, and Zambia to the west. Malawi’s most prominent geographic feature, Lake Malawi, is shared with Mozambique and its northern shores determine the border with Tanzania.

What can you expect of the terrain?

Malawi is a pint-sized land of many terrains. Rocky cliffs and mountains split the country in two through the centre and savannah grass for as far as the eye can see creates a picturesque African landscape as if taken directly from a travel brochure. In the north of the country, rolling highlands and rugged hills are often compared to the Scottish Highlands, and in the south, thick clouds cloak towering mountains and thick woodland. Malawi is also dominated by meandering rivers and the large Lake Malawi.

What type of wildlife will we see?

Malawi may be a small country, but it has no shortage of wildlife waiting to be spotted by adventurous travellers. Huge herds of breeding elephants are scattered across the country, as are hippos and crocodiles bathing in the lakes and rivers. You can also expect to see various antelope species, including eland, roan antelopes and greater kudu, chachma baboons in the trees, vervet and blue monkeys, and bushbabies. As Lake Malawi covers a third of the country, Malawi is also home to 500 species of fish, including African catfish, carp, sardines and barbs.

Best time to visit

Best time to go and why?

Between mid-May and October, the cooler months of the dry season, the weather is more predictable, and the wildlife is concentrated along the shores of lakes and rivers. However there are is possible frost at night at the higher altitudes. The rainy season between November and April is best for visiting the northern plateau as the temperatures are warmer. In terms of extreme weather, cyclones are possible from mid-November to mid-May.

When is high season?

Although there is no crowding at any time of the year, the dry season between May and October is the busiest time for visitors.

When is low season?

Few visitors come to Malawi during the extremely hot and humid rainy season between November and early April. At this time of year, safaris will feel more exclusive, but flora and fauna will not be in bloom.

When is the best weather?

From May to October temperatures are lower and skies clear, making for spectacular photographic backdrops. When visiting the northern hills, November to April brings more pleasant weather for hiking.

Parks & regions in Malawi

Majete Wildlife Reserve

As Malawi’s most successful conservation success story, African Parks have restored Majete Wildlife Reserve into the country’s safe haven for endangered wildlife. Leopards, elephants, buffalo, black rhinos, lions, zebra and antelope all roam the undisturbed woodlands here.

Liwonde National Park

Liwonde National Park is the most popular park in Malawi, and the River Shire makes boat safaris a unique experience here. Countless elephants, antelope, leopards and rhinos trample across the floodplains, and huge crocodiles hide in the thick reed beds in wait of their prey.

Nkhotakota

Visited by explorer Dr Livingstone in 1863, Nkhotakota is rich in culture and history. A traditional village at its heart, with potters using centuries old techniques, and sandy lakeshore beaches, this is a destination to visit to learn more about the history of this small African republic.

Lake Malawi National Park

No visit to Malawi would be complete without visiting its namesake lake. Lake Malawi National Park is the world’s first freshwater national park and a World Heritage site. Thousands of freshwater fish feed from the hand, including the Mbuna, and wild baboons, antelope, hyrax and countless predatory birds watch on from the shoreline.

Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve

An area of marshlands, savannah plains and rugged rocky outcrops, the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve is home to more than 300 species of birds and large herds of elephants and hippos. The wildlife of Vwaza are known to roam the lands, so game drives are popular here.

Nyika National Park

Nyika National Park is Malawi’s largest national park at 3,200 square kilometres in size. During the rainy season, the vast grasslands come alive when 200 species of endemic orchid bloom, as duiker, eland, warthog and zebra charge past in search of fresh drinking water and tall green grass to eat.

Kasungu National Park

On the border with Zambia, in western central Malawi, the Kasungu National Park is home to large herds of fierce horned buffalo, leopards and hyenas searching for their prey, and bathing hippos in the lake at Lifupa. As the 2,100 square kilometre park is largely flat savannah plains, it is easy to both walk and drive through the area.

Malawi safari trips

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