This broad East Africa holiday itinerary introduces you to the very best that Malawi has to offer, combining stunning scenery with abundant wildlife. Begin your trip in the first reserve that African Parks ever took management of – Majete Wildlife Reserve – which is the only game park in Malawi in which you're able to view the Big Five. On safari here you'll search for Leopard and Lion (recently one of the Lionesses gave birth to two cubs) before embarking on game drives in Liwonde National Park, known for its large African elephant population and boat safaris up the Shire River.
At Rainbow Tours, we have one key piece of advice for people who choose to travel to Malawi; you absolutely cannot explore this beautiful country without visiting the Lake. Near the southern shore of Lake Malawi, Mumbo Island is the epitome of relaxation. This beautiful and stunning island has no mains electricity and runs only on solar power. Spend your time relaxing, reading, kayaking, snorkeling or just lying in a hammock watching the world go by.
Finally, we'll take you on a slow safari across Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Once abundant with wildlife, like most of Malawi's reserves animal populations were decimated through poaching. With African Parks taking over management of all three Parks/ Reserves there has been a concerted effort to restock and re-locate wildlife in Malawi. At the beginning of July, African Parks begun the process of translocating 500 elephants to Nkhotakota from Liwonde and Majete, as well as hundreds of warthog, buffalo, sable, kudu, eland, zebra, impala and waterbuck. This wonderful itinerary gives you a chance to visit all three parks and experience the difference that conservation projects can have in Africa first hand.
Day 1 Depart from London Heathrow on your overnight flight to Blantyre via Johannesburg.
Day 2 Arrive into Blantyre airport where you will be met and transferred by road (+/-2-hour transfer) to Majete wildlife reserve for your three-night stay at Mkulumadzi. All meals, local branded drink, park fees and safari activities included. Mkulumadzi is the only luxury lodge in Majete, comprising of 8 chalets set along the banks of the Shire river. The Lodge is set in a beautiful location at the conflux of two rivers, making the most of its isolated surroundings it is a perfect place to relax and watch game. To get to the lodge is an adventure in itself having to cross a bridge and then a short drive before arriving at the lodges main area. Activities include morning and afternoon game drives and walking safaris, and boat safaris.
Day 3 Majete Wildlife Reserve, is one of the best conservation success stories in Africa. When African Parks took on the management in 2003 elephants had been poached to extinction and there was little to no other wildlife in the reserve. Since African Parks has restocked the park and there are more than 400 elephants now in the park. Through community engagement poaching has decreased significantly and locals are employed and engaged in the management of the park. It is now the only ‘Big Five’ reserve in Malawi though the wildlife is still shy there is a chance to see Leopard, Lion, Rhino and Elephant as we as plenty of other wildlife including, Spotted hyena, bushpig, kudu, sable, and porcupine.
Day 5 After your last morning game drive in Majete Wildlife Reserve you will be transferred to Liwonde National Park for your 3 night stay at Mvuu Lodge with all meals, local branded spirit, beers, house wines, soft drinks and water, park fees and 3 safari activities a day included. Mvuu Lodge is situated in a lagoon on the edge of the Shire River. The 8 en-suite tents all face part of the lagoon and are secluded from each other. The small main lodge area has views of the lagoon and Shire river. The resident Hippo pod can be seen eating the grass on the verge of the river as well as the very tame resident Warthog. Game activities include walking safaris, boat safaris and evening game drives.
Day 6 Liwonde National Park is fairly small in comparison to many national parks in Malawi however it is one of the most popular national parks mainly due to its large numbers of elephant, reedbuck, waterbuck, and sable, as well as dense and large populations of hippo along the river. For bird lovers there are over 400 of the country’s 650 bird species. Predators include leopards, though rarely seen, and hyena. We can also arrange rhino trekking for an additional cost.
Day 8 Today you will check out of Mvuu Lodge and be transferred to Cape Maclear by road (3-4-hour transfer including a 45min boat journey) where you will spend the next 3 nights at Mumbo Island Camp with all meals as well as snorkeling and kayaking included.
Day 9 Mumbo Island is a truly unique paradise and somewhere to truly relax. There are only 5 double/twin tents and a family tent on the whole island you are bound to find a secluded spot. Activates here are based on relaxation and the lake, including Kayaking and snorkeling as well as a sunset cruise around the island, or just lying back on your hammock on your deck. Massages can be booked in advance at the bar on the island or reception on the main land. For the more energetic you can take a walk around the island and up to Pod Rock for great views of the lake. Lake Malawi with its clear fresh water is a great place to spend a few days. The lodge is situated on a private island in the world’s first fresh water national park. An eco-lodge Mumbo Island has no electricity and all power comes from solar power lanterns, so make sure that all your batteries are charged before heading to the island.
Day 11 This morning you will be taken the 45min by boat to the mainland before being transferred by road (aprox 5 hours) to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and the beautiful Tongole Lodge, staying 3 nights in chalet with all guided activities (including bush walks and treks, canoe trips, scenic sundowner drives and fly fishing), accommodation, meals and drinks (including hot beverages, mineral water, soft drinks, juices, mixers, Malawian beers, house wines, standard spirits and liqueurs), park fees, laundry, VAT and tourism levy, included.
Day 12 Tongole is a beautiful lodge in the middle of the largest of the three parks you will visit. With only four chalets the lodge is small and intimate, but with enough space to find your own secluded spot. This is where the 500 elephants are being re-located to from Majete and Liwonde. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is a laid back safari destination, there is not presently a large amount of wildlife and what is about is well hidden. But this is where conservation and public/private management truly become's inspirational and hopefully through partnership with other wildlife parks and the local community the current re-location will only be the start of the journey. We say - how amazing will it be to come back in 10 years and say that you where there at the beginning!
Day 14 After breakfast today you will be transferred to Lilongwe to stay at Kumbali Lodge for one night on a bed and breakfast basis.
Day 15 Today after breakfast you will be transferred to Lilongwe airport in time for the flight to London via Johannesburg.
Day 16 Arrive into London
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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