destination malawi web header 2017

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Newest ‘big five’ destination

LionIn the past, Malawi has been one of the lesser known safari spots in Africa owing to low numbers of animals and poaching habits. That has all changed, however. Conservation programmes and protection investments have resulted in an increase in the country’s wildlife numbers. Malawi now has a great variety of wildlife, including more than 650 bird species and the Big Five.

A nine-year public private partnership with African Parks Foundation has seen Malawi’s parks restocked with more than 2,500 animals. African Parks is also undertaking one of the largest elephant translocations in conservation history. In collaboration with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), the foundation is moving up to 500 elephants from Liwonde and Majete national parks to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Central Malawi. There are also many animal rehabilitation programmes throughout the country including a project to reintroduce cheetahs in Majete Wildlife Reserve.

Malawi’s parks and reserves offer something different from other safari options in East Africa. They provide an intimate game viewing experience away from the crowds and in beautiful areas of unspoilt wilderness. While tourist numbers are still relatively low, safaris in Malawi are extremely affordable. Whether you’re exploring by safari vehicle, walking, trekking or by boat, Malawi offers an unforgettable safari experience.

Malawi has a total of nine national parks and wildlife reserves, each one unique in its own way:

Nyika National Park is Malawi’s largest and oldest national park. It is one of the most unusual in Africa, standing 2,500 metres above sea level and consisting mainly of high, rolling grassland. The park is home to over 200 types of orchid flower, 400 species of birdlife and wildlife such as elephant, zebra, antelope, buffalo as well as the highest population of leopard in central Africa. Activities include trekking, mountain biking, 4x4 excursions and birdwatching.

elephant liwonde national park


Kasungu National Park is the closest park to the capital, Lilongwe. Its resident species include rare painted hunting dog, sable, impala, kudu and roan antelope. Elephant and hippo can be easily spotted, too.

Liwonde is Malawi’s most popular national park. Shire River, Lake Malawi’s only outlet, runs through the park, enhancing its beauty and making it an ideal spot for boat safaris. Wildlife includes elephant, antelope, black rhino, leopard, lion and impressive numbers of birdlife.

A World Heritage Site since 1984, Lake Malawi boasts colourful tropical fish and beautiful scenery. The area is perfect for kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing.

Lengwe National Park is a birdwatchers’ paradise. Located about 50 km from Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city, the park has over 300 species of bird. Visitors can also spot other wildlife such as warthog, buffalo, baboon, bushbuck and impala.


Other notable areas are Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, dotted with waterfalls that provide great spots for fishing, canoeing and rafting. Elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo are visible on game drives. Majete Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s success story in terms of conservation. A partnership between the government and African parks has turned Majete from a heavily poached area to a Big Five attraction.