Following the arrival of the group flights in the early afternoon, we head out of Lilongwe, passing endless small villages and rolling landscapes on our way towards the lake. We then head north towards the reserve, passing through Nkhotakota town. One of the largest reserves in Malawi, Nkhotakota covers 1800 sq kms and is home to a healthy elephant population as well as antelope waterbuck and buffalo. However, wildlife can be difficult to see in the reserve, but being largely inaccessible by road, Nkhotakota offers us a true wilderness experience.
Given the heat at this time of year in Malawi, there is a choice of a shorter (3 or 4 hour) walk or a longer, more arduous (6 hour) walk through the wilderness reserve, returning to the lodge in the afternoon.
Day 4 - 5
After approximately a 5 hour drive through Southern Malawi, we will arrive in Zomba, Malawi's old colonial capital. After lunch we head onto the plateau for a short afternoon walk. The following morning we will head back up the plateau for a longer hike taking in Chingwe's Hole and the spectacular views from the mountain top. The afternoon will be spent at leisure exploring Zomba town or on an optional visit to a nearby community project a short drive from the lodge.
Today we travel the short distance to Liwonde National Park in the morning. Situated along the Shire River at the Southern end of Lake Malawi, Liwonde NP encompasses woodland, open grassland and riverine swamps. The diversity of the landscape means that this park has some of the most scenic game viewing in Malawi. It is home to large populations of hippo, elephants and plains game and we will spend our time here wildlife viewing on a game drive and boat safari.
Today we head to a nearby village on the borders of Liwonde National Park, travelling first by boat, and then by bicycle taxi. In the afternoon we will be taken on a walk through the village followed by a traditional cultural dance performed by the local community. We spend the night in the village, allowing us to experience the real Malawian life by sleeping in the traditional mud brick hut in the village. Accommodation is offered on a mat laid on the floor - with or without a mattress depending which you prefer.
Today we leave Njobvu village behind and head to the shores of Lake Malawi. We are transferred by local motor boat across to Domwe Island (tandem kayaks are available for those feeling energetic enough for the 45 mins kayak across to the island).for a night on a private island. The afternoon is free for swimming and snorkelling in the lake and relaxing at the lodge.
Dotted with isolated islands and stretching some 500 km along the eastern side of the country, Lake Malawi contains around 500 species of fish. Much of the area around Cape Maclear is part of the Lake Malawi National Park - one of the few freshwater aquatic parks in Africa. We have the day free to relax on the shores of Lake Malawi or participate in the various optional activities available here.
We leave Cape Maclear and travel to Chipata in Zambia, passing through the border on our way.
This morning we head 130km towards the Luangwa Valley and the park. Situated in Zambia's eastern province, the national park is 9000 sq kms of pristine wilderness. The afternoon is free to enjoy the lodge.
Day 12 - 13
Arguably one of the most majestic parks in Africa, South Luangwa s home to elephant, buffalo, hippo, zebra and giraffe, as well as lion and hyena to name but a few, but perhaps its most famous residents are the leopard and the most colourful bird life in southern Africa. We take morning and afternoon game drives during our time in this park. The middle of the days here will be free to relax by the pool, or to take optional visits to a local village or a tour of a local tribal textile workshop.
We will depart South Luangwa after breakfast and travel back to Lilongwe, arriving back in the late afternoon.