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The Great Malawian Journey

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The Great Malawian Journey - Wilderness Safaris - Africa Discovery Malawi

This safari is one of the best ways to explore Malawi's finest wildlife viewing areas and wilderness biomes, whilst being able to interact with the friendliest people in all of Africa, the Malawians. The style of accommodation varies throughout the safari, from small, intimate guesthouses in forest reserves, to more typical 'meru' tents, to stone and thatch chalets in National Parks. At each location, resident guides are used, ensuring the very best in local knowledge and expertise. Malawi boasts one of the highest biodiversity counts in Africa, and this safari encapsulates its true spirit. By travelling by vehicle, one has a very personal insight into the land and its wonderfully warm people. Over the years, it has become apparent that this last-mentioned aspect of a Malawi safari is a true highlight.


Day 1 Drive to Luwawa Forest Lodge, Viphya Mountains
Days 2 & 3 Drive to Lake Kazuni Safari Camp, Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve
Days 4, 5 & 6 Drive to Chelinda Lodge, Nyika National Park
Days 7 & 8 Cross-country to Chintheche Inn, northern shores of Lake Malawi
Day 9 & 10 Drive to Mumbo or Domwe Island, Lake Malawi for Kayak Africa
Day 11 Drive to Ku Chawe Inn, Zomba Plateau
Day 12, 13 & 14 Cross-country to Mvuu Lodge, Liwonde National Park
Day 15 Cross-country to Lilongwe


Day 1: Luwawa Forest Lodge, Viphya Mountain Range
The Great Malawian Journey - Wilderness Safaris - Africa Discovery MalawiEarly morning start to the safari. We drive northwards from the capital city, Lilongwe, through the Kasungu area. After Kasungu Town the landscape changes from Brachystegia (Miombo) woodland to rolling open hills as we steadily climb in altitude. Arrive in time for lunch at Luwawa Forest Lodge., a delightful lodge situated on a clearing in one of the largest forested areas in central Africa at 1300m above sea level. The scenery is spectacular and the air crisp and clear. Afternoon walking along streams within the forest gives us opportunities looking for one of southern Africa's rarest and most sought-after birds, the African Broadbill. For the more adventurous, mountain biking can be arranged. Dinner is served at the lodge around a warm, comforting log fire.

Day 2 & 3: Lake Kazuni Safari Camp, Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve
After an early breakfast, we continue northwards and the landscape changes dramatically as we near Rumphi. The massif of the Nyika looms ahead, and as we near the Zambian border, the altitude dips somewhat. Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve is one of Malawi's best-kept secrets. It boasts a mosaic of landscapes and biomes and is about 1000 km2 in size. Highlights are the varied types of biomes, from Brachystegia and mopane woodland to large rivers which feed the Kazuni Swamp. During the dry season there are large herds of elephant and buffalo, impala, kudu, puku and warthog. Hippos are always present in the lake, and lion and leopard are occasionally seen.

Birding, particularly at the end of the dry season and during the early rains, is exceptional with many waterfowl species that are not easily seen elsewhere on this safari. Activities include game drives (day) as well as walks.

Day 4, 5 & 6: Chelinda Lodge, Nyika National Park
The Great Malawian Journey - Wilderness Safaris - Africa Discovery MalawiWe head north-east on one of the most dramatic drives in central Africa. Leaving the dry and low-lying Vwaza marsh behind we move steadily up in altitude to where the Brachystegia gives way to heath and, at around lunchtime, to true rolling grasslands. We have reached the famed Nyika Plateau and check in to the warm, cosy Chelinda Lodge. This lodge is situated in the middle of the high grasslands (around 2100m above sea level) and experiences a pleasantly cool climate (jumpers and jackets a must!).

There is much to do in Nyika National Park (Malawi's largest). Game drives are successful, with highland game abounding - it is possible to see mixed herds of over 200 eland, zebra, reedbuck and roan antelope. Leopards are also fairly common, and peculiarly diurnal because of the cool climate. Elephants are also sometimes encountered. Birding is exceptional with over 400 species recorded. Walking in the afro-montane forest remnants is a must, where specials such as F?lleborn's Black Boubou, and Bar-tailed Trogon and blue monkeys can be seen. During the early summer months Nyika boasts one of Africa's best orchid viewing opportunities. Horse riding, fishing and overnight camping in the remote corners of this extraordinary reserve are also available.

Day 7 & 8: Chinteche Inn, Lake Malawi
We now move back down the Nyika Plateau. The destination for the next three days is clearly in sight, but nearly 1700m below - it is the shimmering blue of Lake Malawi. Descending the massif, we stop over at the northern region's capital, Mzuzu and view tropical rainforest remnants, rubber plantations and spectacular scenery as we near the lake. We arrive at Chinteche Inn, situated on a private, pristine white sandy beach with the Viphya Mountains and rainforest as backdrop.

The inn is situated in one of the Lake's best and most tranquil settings. Activities include relaxing at the lake, guided walks, snorkelling, canoeing and village visits. For the more adventurous, a full range of water activities are offered, including nearby scuba diving (at extra cost).
The Great Malawian Journey - Wilderness Safaris - Africa Discovery MalawiThe Great Malawian Journey - Wilderness Safaris - Africa Discovery Malawi

Day 9 & 10: Kayak Africa, Domwe or Mumbo Island
We depart Chinteche for one of the most spectacular day transits, driving around 350km southwards along the eastern lakeshore and surrounding countryside. We drive through the Nkotakota Game Reserve and visit Mua Mission, one of Malawi's finest handcraft skills development schools. After lunch we drive eastwards through beautiful countryside on the southern edge of Lake Malawi.

Accommodation is on one of two Islands off Cape Maclear - namely Kayak Africa's Domwe and Mumbo. Each consists of 5 tents on raised platforms with incredible views of Lake Malawi. The tented bedrooms offer tasteful furnishing and whilst not en-suite, nearby "enviroloos" and al fresco bucket showers ensure every comfort is provided.

The Great Malawian Journey - Wilderness Safaris - Africa Discovery MalawiLocated at the tip of the Cape Maclear Peninsula this company operates kayak safaris around the glorious islands of this part of the lake. Guests paddle themselves in state-of-the-art sea-going klepper kayaks, supported by a motorised wooden fishing boat. All kayaking is done on a leisurely basis and cold drinks are taken on board the kayaks.

This is a great experience, enjoying a little more action than the traditional beach holiday.

Day 11: Ku Chawe Inn, Zomba mountain range
We leave Kayak Africa and drive southwards to the Zomba mountain massif. Zomba was the former colonial capital of Malawi and retains some of its former architecture. This juxtaposed with one of the best local markets in Malawi make for a fascinating visit. Behind the town, the plateau rises to over 2000m and we wind our way up this massive mountain. The air becomes cooler as we enter plantations and rainforest remnants and we near our final destination, Ku Chawe Inn. The inn boasts incredible views, and is a short distance away from clear-running streams and a trout farm.

Days 12, 13 & 14: Mvuu Lodge, Liwonde National Park
Leaving after a leisurely breakfast and possibly a last visit to the market, we travel northwards to arrive at Mvuu Wilderness Lodge in time for an afternoon activity.

Liwonde National Park is Malawi's premier wildlife viewing destination. A wide variety of mammals occurs in the reserve and it also boasts an astonishing biodiversity of birdlife. On a three-night stay in this reserve, the record has been 300 bird species! The centre stage of the reserve is the Shire River, the only river that flows out of Lake Malawi. A myriad of species make the river their focus and it is on this river where one is able to take part in unusual, but hugely productive game viewing. Mvuu boasts "game boats" constructed locally out of Mulanje cedar wood. These comfortable boats enable game to be viewed in the heat of the day, when animals emerge out of the bush to drink at the river's edge. They also allow for exciting night boat trips to find rarely seen animals such as civet, large spotted genet, large grey mongoose, White-backed Night-heron and Pel's Fishing Owl. Game drives and walks as well as visits to a hide overlooking the river are also offered.

Large mammals occurring in Liwonde include sable, roan, kudu, large herds of elephant, buffalo, large numbers of crocodile (reputedly the largest in central Africa) and hippo. Bird specials further inland include B?hm's Bee-eater, Brown-breasted Barbet and Livingstone's Flycatcher.
The Great Malawian Journey - Wilderness Safaris - Africa Discovery MalawiThe Great Malawian Journey - Wilderness Safaris - Africa Discovery Malawi

Day 15 Safari ends - Lilongwe
Early morning road transfer to Lilongwe where our safari ends.


  • We gladly arrange additional tailor-made departures, subject to availability of space.
  • Each departure is guaranteed for a minimum of 2 confirmed guests and operates with a maximum of 8 guests per safari.
  • Included is accommodation on a sharing basis, all meals and drinks (except premium brands), national park fees, laundry (except Ku Chawe Inn & Luwawa Forest Lodge) and activities as specified in the detailed itinerary.
  • Excluded are flights, visas, compulsory insurances, all relevant entry and departure government taxes, all personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls, etc..), gratuities, optional extra activities, pre and post safari tours and meals or accommodation before or after the safari.
  • Age limits - Children from the age of 12 are welcome on all scheduled departures. For groups with children under 12, we will create a private tailor-made safari, on request and subject to different cost. For guests over the age of 75, a certified medical certificate of full health must be provided.
  • We reserve the right, due to situations beyond our control, to substitute a lodge or location with another of comparable quality. This will be advised in a timely manner.
  • If a guest is willing to share and we can match with another guest of the same gender, the single supplement will not be charged. However, if there is no suitable match, the single supplement surcharge will apply.

2010 rates The Great Malawian Journey
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