What can you tell me about Malawi?

May 19th, 2005, 11:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 178
What can you tell me about Malawi?

Wilderness safaris has a new trip to Malawi called "The Great Malawian Journey" and it sounds wonderful and the cost is unbelievably cheap (one quote = $4660). I've read that Malawi does not have the wildlife that other southern African countries have, which is probably why it's not a popular destination for safari lovers.
I'm so appalled at the escalating Botswana prices and am desperately trying to find more affordable alternatives for my yearly Africa fix.
I'm heading to Zambia in September, so I'm looking ahead to 2006.
phernska is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Most reading I've done on Malawi suggests it is a great birding destination, with mammal life not as compelling as in other Southern Africa countries.

If you are looking for a deal, why not visit the Wilderness camps in Zimbabwe, they could use the help and the wildlife is supposed to be great.
napamatt is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Besides considering Malawi, a trip to the less visited parks in Zambia may be of interest to you. In reading the Bradt Zambia book today, it stated that while at its peak, Liuwa Plains is as packed with wildlife as just about any other destination in Southern Africa.

Also, it would be quite easy to combine North Luangwa with Malawi. Have you already visited Kutandala? It seems like an amazing camp.


How about Kafue...have you already visited Kafue? Lunga River Lodge and Busanga Bush Camp both look like great places.

Or...Botswana up until June 30th or starting on November 01st is much more reasonable than in high season. It seems that the wildlife is great year-round.

Or...take Napamatt's suggestion and consider Zimbabwe. I know Makalolo Plains is one of the camps that I would like to visit more than just about anywhere else. I also know that one of the best guides I have yet had is attempting to win his own concession in Hwange to start his own lodge/camp. If he is successful, I will visit his place in a heartbeat as I am sure it will offer the very best guiding and be in a very wildlife rich area.

There are just so many options when it comes to Africa, even when limited to Southern Africa. Malawi (Central Africa) seems like a great place for birding or just to chill out on Lake Malawi, but I do think it is very limited with its overall wildlife.

You need to take into consideration that although it is 1/6th the size of Zambia, the population of Malawi is about 10% higher than the population of Zambia. With so many people in such a small area, Malawi just doesn't afford the same type of wildlife experience that you would get in Zambia, Zimbabwe or Botswana, but if you are into birding, it is said to be one of the best places.
Roccco is offline  
May 26th, 2005, 05:49 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 20
I would not recommend Malawi as a first time to Africa visitor, but as you seem to have been often, DO consider Malawi; it does offer some quite unique experiences. As mentioned in another post, it would also be a great add-on to Zambia with a non-stop flight from South Luangwa to Lilongwe (Malawi's capital). None of the posts so far have mentioned this country's largest asset - the lake. Snorkeling for one, was a highlight of my trip: 'Tropical' fish in a fresh water lake. Another one was kayaking to and staying at an island camp for a couple of nights (built, maintained and operated by Kayak Afrika). Sailing (you do the enjoying, the crew does the work) is also available. You could even do an overnight cruise on the Shire River from Club Makokola down to Liwonde National Park. Wilderness has some lovely camps in Malawi. I have stayed at Mwuu Camp right on the banks of Shire River in Liwonde NP (great for hippos and rhinos), and at Chintheche Inn right on the northwestern side of Lake Malawi. A visit to Malawi should not miss going to the high plateau of Nyika. The scenery is beautiful rolling hills with forested areas, and you'll see LARGE herds of eland, roan antelope, zebra and very likely leopard. The Chelinda Lodge is fabulous. They even offer horse back safaris. I also want to address what memorable experiences I had with the local people. One afternoon, three of us strolled into a village to see what it is like in such a heavily populated country. So far we had only heard the women singing on their way to work early in the morning as they passed our camp (a most refreshing thing) - or are you as content as to be singing on your way to work? Anyways, as we walked along, a toddler started screaming running back to his mom... the boy had never seen a white face. I felt like we made history. In Rumphi, while waiting for a flat tire to be fixed, an older gentleman brought out some make shift chairs, a small table and a game. He did not speak any English, and we did not speak his tongue - but within a few minutes we were playing this game, I think it's called 'Bao', laughing and gesturing. I have been to cultural events, but THIS was the real deal. I am forever enriched by those memories. Malawi is a poor country, and I would not want to take away from what little tourism revenue they can make and send it elsewhere, not even Zimbabwe. That is in no way saying Zimbabwe doesn't need it - they do, desperately, but so does Malawi. I hope you will visit.
Africaholic is offline  
May 26th, 2005, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 87
Malawi is a great location for a relaxing holiday. The people are great and the Lake is a great way to travel from town to town.
Photos of our travels in Malawi
rdkr is offline  

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