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Classic Malawi

This itinerary can be used as is or it can be customised to suit your budget, travel dates and preferences. Make a free, no obligation enquiry and we will tailor-make your ultimate African journey.

Landlocked Malawi is often overlooked on bucket list African journeys which is unfortunate, because this country has incredible natural beauty and all the classic African experiences with none of the crowds.

Lake Malawi is of course the pièce de résistance, but on this Classic Malawi trip you'll also enjoy fantastic game viewing in Liwonde National Park, hiking or rambling through breathtaking highlands and bargain-hunting at authentic African markets in the cities.

Here's a taste of the magic of Malawi...

Day 1: Sightseeing in Lilongwe

On arrival into Lilongwe International Airport, you will be wamly welcomed and transferred to your accommodation in the heart of Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe.

Lilongwe is a vibrant city made up of different sections, each with its own charm and attractions. To the south is the Old Town, dotted with shops, bars and restaurants and a mix of industrial and residential buildings. This area of the city is full of character and bustling activity - think street markets with plenty of souvenir shopping. The New Town lies to the north and is known as the City Centre, featuring more developments and government buildings.

Between the two towns lies the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary which is home to the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre - Malawi´s only sanctuary for rescued, orphaned and injured wild animals. It is also the world´s first accredited "People & Wildlife" PAW centre, working with the local people to promote nature conservation that will benefit both the people and wildlife of Malawi.

Day 2-3: Drink in the views in Zomba

After a night in lovely Lilongwe, you'll head to the Zomba Plateau in the south, about a four and a half hour drive. Picturesque Zomba is the old colonial capital city of Malawi, while the plateau is quite unlike anywhere else in Africa. The winding roads twist and turn their way up the 1800m rise into this highland paradise.

The top of the plateau is an evocative place with truly beautiful natural scenery. Streams crisscross one another, fighting their way into lakes and waterfalls. An extensive network of paths meanders its way through the forests of cedar, pine and cypress, while leopards, giant butterflies, baboons and birds of prey swoop or amble among the rocky outcrops and trees. You can spend hours hiking or rambling along the twisty paths or drive right up to the top for some of the most memorable views you'll ever see.

Day 4-6: Game viewing in Liwonde National Park

Following your stay in Zomba, you will make your way by road to Liwonde National Park. Although Liwonde is quite small compared to other parks in Malawi, it has a wonderful array of wildlife. The Shire River borders the western edge of the park and is jam-packed full of hippos and crocodiles.

The fertile floodplains, dense woodlands and lagoons of the reserve sustain over 400 species of bird as well as zebra, antelope, warthog and even leopard. Here you'll find Malawi’s largest remaining population of elephant as well as the critically endangered black rhino.

Big game species are restricted in national parks due to an increase in poaching over the last decade, however lions were reintroduced to Liwonde in 2013.

Liwonde is dominated by mopane woodland, with the mopane trees creating a canopy 12 metres high. The landscape also is rich with ancient baobob trees and borassus palms.

Recommended Accommodation

Mvuu Lodge and Camp

Mvuu Lodge nestles discreetly on the banks of a tranquil lagoon just off the Shire River, with its profusion of crocodile, hippo and birdlife. The camp is great for families and offers family tents and a playground for the kids.

Days 7-9: Relax on Lake Malawi

We always say the perfect African trip includes both bush and beach, and the beach is exactly where you'll be headed today. You'll be transferred to Mumbo Island Camp in Lake Malawi National Park in Cape Maclear - Malawi's answer to the Cote d'Azur or the beaches of Mykonos.

Mumbo Island Camp is located on a pristine, deserted island 10 kilometres off the Cape Maclear Peninsula, itself a strip of honey-coloured sand lapped by turquoise water under a sunny, blue sky. Does that sound like paradise? It is!

Despite being landlocked, Malawi has its own famous 'inland sea' in Lake Malawi. This enormous body of freshwater is one of the largest lakes in the world and Mumbo Island is one of the most enchanting locations on its shores. Only 1km in diameter, the island has never been populated and remains in a pristine, natural state. The green camp is entirely off grid to ensure the island stays completely unspoilt.

With a maze of massive underwater boulders, numerous species of colourful cichlid fish and calm, clear water, Lake Malawi National Park offers what many consider to be the best freshwater snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the world.

If you can tear yourself away from your hammock, you'll find fishing villages scattered along the lake's shore that are well worth exploring. As are the long stretches of uninhabited golden sand beaches which are perfect for reading, relaxing and reconnecting with nature.

Recommended Accommodation

Mumbo Island Camp

The island's theme is barefoot luxury – there is everything that you need and nothing that you don’t. The camp sleeps only 14 guests in tastefully furnished tents with shaded decks, hammocks, en suite hot bucket showers and eco-loos.

Day 10: Homeward bound

It's hard to leave, but you can always come back. You'll be transferred to Lilongwe International Airport or Chileka Airport in Blantyre in time for your return flight, with magical memories to sustain you until your next African adventure.