Malawi Safaris > Wilderness Safaris
The Great Malawian Journey
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.
ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
||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
||Drive to Ku Chawe Inn, Zomba Plateau
|Day 12, 13 & 14
||Cross-country to Mvuu Lodge, Liwonde National Park
||Cross-country to Lilongwe
Day 1: Luwawa Forest Lodge, Viphya Mountain Range
Early 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
We 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).
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.
Located 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
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.
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
- 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.
*** Custom Tailor Made Safaris are our specialty, if you do not see a Safari that makes you happy, let us know and we can design the perfect fit for you!***