Ntchisi Forest Reserve is one of Malawi’s last remaining rainforests with thriving vegetation and trees that form a canopy 30 metres high. True to its nature as a rainforest, Ntchisi contains a range of flora and fauna that is second to none. Wild orchids thrive here and after the rains edible wild mushrooms flourish and are often used in dishes served at Ntchisi Forest Lodge located in the park. The rainforest covers an area of 75 sq km and is home to a wide variety of bird species, monkeys and baboons. There have been reported sightings of a black leopard in the mountain terrain near the park.
Located in the Great Rift Valley about 80 km from Lilongwe is Thuma Forest Reserve, filled with lush miombo woodland and a striking variety of plants and indigenous trees. Like most of the country’s forest reserves, Thuma has an exceptional number of bird species and an ecosystem that is closely monitored and protected by the Department of Forestry. Also joining conservation efforts is the Wildlife Action Group, which spearheads the Thuma Forest Reserve Eco-system Rehabilitation Project as well as conservation in Dedza-Salima Forest Reserve. In partnership with local communities, the group has a mission to protect the forest’s flora and fauna. Elephant and buffalo roam the rugged terrain and can often be seen in one of the patches of bamboo around the park.
Dzalanyama Forest Reserve, 40 km southwest of Lilongwe, has been a protected area since 1922 in order to guarantee the capital’s water source. Miombo, the main tree that grows in these parts and covers large areas, is part of an amazing ecosystem filled with indigenous orchids and birdlife. This 989 sq km reserve also has pine and eucalyptus trees that were introduced to the area in 1977. Tourists can take advantage of the reserve’s beauty by staying in one of the lodges located on the outskirts. At the heart of the forest lies Dzalanyama Forest Lodge, with comfortable accommodation overlooking the Makata River. In the early morning, the many different species of birds can be heard for miles around while indigenous butterflies form a colourful pattern beside the river. In the afternoons, guests can take a refreshing dip in one of several natural pools and streams in the locality.