8 Day: Landscapes of Malawi Safari Itinerary
You will be met by your Safari guide and transferred by road (4-5 hours) to Luwawa Forest Reserve. We initially pass over the flat central plateau with its fertile farmland and smallholdings. Gradually the road turns to indigenous forest interspersed with granite outcrops and the final stretch is through miombo woodland that slowly becomes mature plantation forest.
Day 1: Luwawa Forest Lodge, Luwawa Forest Reserve
Take time to relax and freshen up after your journey and enjoy your impressive surroundings.
Day 2 – 4: Chelinda Lodge, Nyika National Park
After breakfast, we transfer (6-7 hours) to Nyika National Park. The first 100 kilometres to the bustling capital of Northern Malawi – Mzuzu – is through the heart of the Viphya Mountains. Here, we stretch our legs and visit the market. This fascinating drive shows constantly changing habitats as the altitude results in different vegetation types, starting with subsistence farms and savannah, slowly turning to miombo woodland and then finally entering the park at Thazima Gate. Explore one of Malawi’s most spectacular wilderness areas consisting of pristine miombo woodland, mature mountain forest patches, crystal-clear running streams and miles and miles of open, rolling grassland.
Day 5 -7: Chintheche Inn, Northern Lakeshore
We transfer to Chintheche Inn on the central Lakeshore – approximately 6-hour drive. We retrace our steps to Mzuzu and then take one of Malawi’s most beautiful roads: the windy descent to Lake Malawi at Nkhata Bay. Rural communities dot the surrounds and the steep, farmed slopes produce picturesque banana and cassava plantations mixed with patches of indigenous forest. We stop for a look at the famous port of Nkhata Bay and then head south along the lakeshore to Chintheche through rubber plantations, fishing villages, and the Kawalazi Forest Reserve, a remnant patch of lowland rain forest, where we may stop for some birding.
Relax and enjoy lake life on this private island. Fabulous flora and fauna can be explored in and out of the water and cultural tours are also a highlight.
Day 8: Road Transfer
We return to Lilongwe and bid farewell to our adventure.
Landscapes of Malawi - The Details
Malawi’s northern region has much to offer the avid explorer, combining some of the most unspoilt parts of the country with authentic cultural experiences. The eclectic Viphya Mountains is our first stop. Then it is on to the unique Nyika National Park – the centrepiece of this Exploration with its cool climate and rolling game-filled grasslands. This park offers diverse habitats and spectacular landscapes of the Nyika montane biome – a scene seemingly more fitting to Europe than Africa. Finally this is contrasted with the central shores of Lake Malawi that reveal a blend of stunning beaches, vibrant local communities and exceptional freshwater fishlife; the cichlids are world-famous for their myriad varieties.
Explorations are led by highly skilled and qualified professional guides with an incredible passion for the natural regions they work in. Sharing the adventure and guiding you on this journey of discovery combined with their vast knowledge of the natural world, history and culture are their professions and personal hobby. Many of our guides are also skilled photographers and can assist you in taking away amazing wildlife photographs. Your guide will host you for the duration of your journey, providing you with a consistent, detailed interpretation that is shaped to your specific interests.
- We travel through the fabled north of Malawi via the central Viphya Mountains to the iconic Nyika National Park, and then on to the pristine beaches of Lake Malawi.
- Activities include guided walks, day and night game drives and non-motorised watersports.
- All camps are fully serviced and allow a sublime "back to nature" experience as well as a relaxing lakeshore experience.
- Experienced, knowledgeable and passionate guides travel with the guests throughout the journey.
- Road transfers showcase the breathtaking landscapes across Malawi.
Luwawa Forest Lodge, Luwawa Forest ReserveDays 1:
Located some 250 kilometres north of Lilongwe in the Viphya Mountains, Luwawa Forest Lodge is the base from which to explore the Luwawa Forest Reserve. Intimately designed, the lodge has four chalets with en-suite facilities, and a main area with a bar and full restaurant services. Luwawa offers a wide variety of activities to suit all ages and capabilities. Hiking and mountain biking are two of the most popular activities. There are kilometres of good forest roads and tracks just waiting to be explored, some leading to remote mountain streams and waterfalls. Did you know?
- Luwawa uses solar energy and wind power, with a diesel generator as backup.
- Crystal-clear water from a nearby mountain stream is boiled and filtered for drinking purposes and the permaculture garden supplies most of the vegetables.
- The Viphya Plateau averages 1 600 metres above sea level and is usually temperate, with clear days and cool nights throughout the year.
- The area around Luwawa is mainly plantation forest, but with some impressive indigenous miombo woodland and indigenous forest pockets as well.
Included: Dinner and Breakfast.
Chelinda Lodge, Nyika National ParkDays 2 - 4:
Celebrated as a wild and untouched highland area, the Nyika National Park is unlike any other biome in south central Africa. At Chelinda Lodge, prepare yourself for an African experience with a difference. The camp is set against a pocket of hagenia woodland looking out over the sweeping grasslands of the Nyika Plateau. With the landscape in mind, we built the camp to maximise the incredible scenery – often dotted with large herds of roan, eland and Crawshay's zebra. There are eight spacious en-suite log cabins with a cosy fireplace and upstairs viewing area or second bedroom. Your meals and drinks are served by our cheerful staff in the dining and lounge area complete with an outside deck for sundowners. Did you know?
- Wilderness and Malawi's Department of National Parks & Wildlife are in discussions regarding collaborative conservation efforts in this region.
- Nyika is characterised by isolated hills and ridges, evergreen forest pockets and extensive patches of broad-leafed miombo woodland in the lower areas.
- Your activities include day and night game drives, informative walks and mountain biking.
- As well as iconic antelope, the Park harbours warthog, spotted hyaena and side-striped jackal. Elephant can be seen at times and leopard populations are particularly good in the area.
- Chelinda Lodge is a key birding destination in African with over 400 birds species recorded.
Included: All meals and safari activities.
Chintheche Inn, Northern LakeshoreDays 5 - 7:
Renowned for its white sands, warm crystal clear waters and age-old fishing villages, the area around Chintheche Inn boasts some of the finest beaches on the lakeshore. With a backdrop of the Viphya Mountains, this shoreline is dotted with remnant patches of lowland tropical forest – a haven of bird life. Your accommodation is comfortably furnished with en-suite facilities and a patio leading out onto our lush garden with shady trees. The lawn slopes down onto the lake where you can spend hours either soaking up the sun or busying yourself with one of the many activities on offer. Meals and drinks are served in the dining area and bar, while in the evenings we regularly dine under the spectacular African skies. Did you know?
- Chintheche Inn closes for a month each year to host Children in the Wilderness programmes, dedicated to helping local children nurture life skills along with a love of their natural heritage.
- Palm-fringed beaches and soaring mountains surround the waters of Lake Malawi. Miombo woodland and baobabs are present.
- Water sports at Chintheche include diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and sailing. Land-based activities such as guided walks, mountain biking or cultural visits are fascinating.
- Mammals such as baboon, vervet monkey, dassies and hippo are most commonly sighted.
- Over 100 bird species are found here, particularly waterbirds such as African Fish-Eagle and White-breasted Cormorant.
Included: All meals and non-motorised water sports activities.