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Overview

Small and densely populated, Malawi is not traditionally regarded as one of Africa’s top safari destinations, but this is changing as several formerly neglected parks in the Shire Valley south of Blantyre are now being developed for tourism. The wildlife highlight today as it has been for several years is the well-established Liwonde National Park, where elephants, hippos and lions can be seen on boat trips and game drives along the swampy Shire River, alongside the rare sable antelope and a stunning selection of water-associated and other birds. By contrast, Nyika National Park protects stunning montane landscapes of grassy meadows ...

Small and densely populated, Malawi is not traditionally regarded as one of Africa’s top safari destinations, but this is changing as several formerly neglected parks in the Shire Valley south of Blantyre are now being developed for tourism. The wildlife highlight today as it has been for several years is the well-established Liwonde National Park, where elephants, hippos and lions can be seen on boat trips and game drives along the swampy Shire River, alongside the rare sable antelope and a stunning selection of water-associated and other birds. By contrast, Nyika National Park protects stunning montane landscapes of grassy meadows frequented by zebra, roan antelope, elephant and the mighty eland. Nyika is excellent walking and horse-riding country too, as is the more southerly Mulanje Massif (central Africa’s tallest peak) and Zomba Plateau. Also recommended is the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, which protects a low-lying area en route to Nyika, while the gems of the southern Shire Valley are the Majete Wildlife Reserve, which has recently been restocked with rhino and elephant, and the little-visited Lengwe National Park, where the localized nyala antelope and samango monkey might be seen alongside buffalo and leopard. Birdwatching is rewarding throughout Malawi, particularly in the montane forests of Nyika and throughout the Shire Valley.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Any time, but the dry and cool southern winter (May-October) is most pleasant and best for wildlife viewing.