Top Wildlife Reserves and National Parks in Malawi
Look! There’s an elephant across the river!
Malawi has no less than nine National Parks and Wildlife Reserves quite evenly spread around the countryside. Premier wildlife viewing can be enjoyed without abhorring convoys of 4×4’s and tarred roads offering tranquil and often isolated safaris. The country is especially well known for its elephant population and for some of the largest concentrations of hippo in Africa. The big five: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros can all be seen along with countless antelope, crocodile, hyena’s, and numerous small mammals. Excellent game viewing can be done in the forms of river bushwalks, boat cruises and 4×4 night and day game drives.
Birds in the bush!
Malawi’s bird life is plentiful, famous for its variety and numbers with over 650 different species recorded. The African fish eagle is Malawi’s national bird and vast numbers can be seen by the shore of Lake Malawi and along the Shire River. Rarities such as the Livingstone’s flycatcher, the spur winged plover and green headed oriole are easily seen in Malawi. Making it a rewarding destination for birdwatchers and birding enthusiasts. For a wildlife experience unique to each region. Be sure to visit one of the following reserves.
Majete Wildlife Reserve
A dense wildlife reserve spanning across 70 square kilometres of Miombo woodland. Bordered by the Shire River with prolific species of birds and antelope including elephants, leopards, rhino, buffalo. With the introduction of lions in 2018, one of the top parks in Africa to see the big five. Visitors can explore the reserve in there own vehicle or on a guided game drive. Excellent ranger safari vehicles accompanied by a professional wildlife guide. Activities include guided bush walks or bird walks, hiking to the top of Majete Hill, visiting the Kapichiri Falls and game-viewing hides.
Ideally located next to the boundaries of the Majete Wildlife Reserve. Here guest can relax and unwind to the sounds of bush life along the river. With an infinity pool, green camping sites, deluxe lodging and a la carte restaurant overlooking the Shire River. Five lovely en suite chalets provide a peaceful retreat in an authentic bush atmosphere. Along the banks are an abundance of crocodiles, basking hippo’s and stark fish eagles.
Situated inside a private concession within Majete. A luxury lodge from Robin Pope Safaris overlooking the Shire river on the eastern northern boundary of the park. There are 8 sumptuous open fronted chalets leading out into wide private balconies with spectacular river views. Morning & night game drives , boat safaris, hikes and cultural tours are available.
Genuine bush camp experience about 3km inside the entrance gate. Managed and operated by African parks, offers six widely spaced tented chalets. Overlooking a watering hole which attracts plenty of wildlife such as buffalo and elephant coming to drink. Organised game viewing activities can also be organised by the camp. From guided game drives, night drives with sun downers, hikes and cultural tours.
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Liwonde National Park
An oasis of unique vegetation, wildlife and a range of habitats enhanced by the Shire river which flows through the park. Wildlife includes large numbers of elephants and the river attracts countless hippos and crocodiles. Antelope include kudu, sable and bushbucks there are also lions, leopards, rhino and varied birdlife. The hippos will often come in frontal view of your accommodation. Enjoy night drives, boat trips, and guided walks through the reserve. Stunning bird varieties and localities of barbets, flycatchers and kingfishers .Some 400 species to date have been recorded. With a few exclusive lodges located inside of the park retaining a serene environment, excellent for game viewing
The family-friendly Mvuu Camp open all year round is located right on the banks of the Shire River, in the Liwonde National Park. Accommodates guests in 12 en-suite chalets that overlook the banks of the Shire River. 4 hours from Lilongwe & 3 hours from Blantyre, the camp is designed to blend into its environment with guests staying in a clever mix of stone and canvas chalets and family tents. Guests also have the option to camp using their own equipment in the drier months.
Situated on the banks of a lagoon just off the Shire River on the western boundary of the wildlife-rich Liwonde National Park. The main lounge building is set high above the water for long views up-river. Comprises of eight beautifully-appointed stone and thatch tents, one of which is a romantic honeymoon suite. Facilities at the lodge include: lounge, pub, dining room and a natural rock swimming pool.
Newly renovated addition to Robin Safaris, overlooking the Shire River. The lodge offers 4 canvas fully furnished modern tents. With one family unit allowing a maximum of ten guests for an intimate luxury experience. Eco-friendly lodge setting in a private concession. Guest can enjoy bird walks, game drives and seasonal boating.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Serenely located under Chipata Mountain and nourished by the mountain streams that flow through it, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is the largest and oldest national park in Malawi. It offers stunning serenity as well as the promise of adventure. The reserve is a playground for Africa’s most amazing animals, boasting around 280 bird species, as well as buffalo, elephant, warthogs, impala, and waterbuck. Nkhotakhota Wildlife Reserve is managed by African Parks, like Majete Wildlife Reserve. There was a historic, incredible relocation in 2017 of 520 elephants from Liwonde and Majete to Nkhotakota National Park. The park was once heavily poached, but today has seen a great transformation and guest can enjoy top notch guided along the Bua River.
Bua River Lodge
Offering superb safari tented accommodation adjoined over the Bua River. The lodge is connected by a network of paths along the wooded riverbank, the en-suite tents are all pitched on wooded decks with canvas shades. The spacious luxury tents set on an island mid-river are especially private, with a multi- level restaurant offering fine hospitality. The guides at the lodge are phenomenal and provide authentic bush walks and game drives filled with rich history and current affairs of life in the bush!
Tongole Wilderness Lodge –
Offers guests a choice of staying in its 1 family cottage and one of four River Cottages, each with a raised wooden deck that offers a tranquil and private space to relax and watch the river and forest wildlife go by. All the rooms are furnished with comfortable twin beds that can be converted into a king-size bed on request. The bathroom is en-suite and consists of a flush toilet, a shower and a large hand-built sunken bath that doubles as a plunge pool. Hot water as well as 240v power is available in each cottage
Nyika National Park
The Nyika Plateau rises like a massive granite dome up in northern Malawi, giving the Nyika National Park a unique upland that creates an environment that is unlike any other in the world. Montane grasslands rising 2400m above sea level, consisting of sheer escarpments, rolling grass hills, and lush forested woodlands. Home to zebra, countless antelope (including roan, reedbuck and eland) and elephant as well as nearly 400 species of birds. Additionally, you can see owls, jackals, hyenas, and leopards on night drives. The dams and streams have trout for fishing. The grasslands have a variety of orchid types in the rainy season and rich with wildflowers in the summer. Activities available at the camp include game drives, guided walks, mountain biking, birding, trout fly fishing and popular Livingstonia Trail.
Situated on the high northern plateaus of Malawi, Chelinda Lodge is a luxurious escape, surrounded by rolling hills, lakes and streams, and with a good variety of wildlife to spot from your game drives and walks. The Lodge stands at the centre of Malawi’s wild and remote Nyika National Park Eight pine log chalets spread along the end of a pine forest all with fabulous views. The ground floor features an open plan bedroom and lounge, with en-suite bathroom, queen-sized beds, wing-back chairs and a veranda. The cabins are double storey. There is a mezzanine viewing deck upstairs which is used as an additional living area and can also be used for children.
Located within the Nyika National Park, Chelinda Camp overlooks a crystal-clear dam with panoramic views of rolling hills, isolated woodland and open high-altitude grasslands. Accommodation at Chelinda Camp consists of two options. There are four chalets which have two bedrooms, a bathroom, lounge, dining area with a fireplace and a small kitchen. There are also six en-suite rooms with twin beds, which share a dining, bar and lounge area complete with comfortable furnishings and an inviting fireplace for those cosy nights.
Malawi is a beautiful country blessed with a large, rich diversity of animals and plant life as well as a wide variety of wildlife reserves and national parks. Although it may not have the massive number of predators and other large mammals as some of its neighbouring countries, Malawi has so much more to offer that it makes up for it, such as genuine wilderness and unspoiled areas, almost untouched by humans. Join one our cycle tours and cycle into one of these wildlife reserves on an adventure cycling holiday. Book today!