Where to go on a safari in Malawi
Malawi is an amazing African safari destination with various tourist destinations waiting for you to explore during your visit, Malawi as a great destination is divided into 3 regions which are places to go to whole on a safari in Malawi, these regions are Northern region, Central region and southern region. These regions host various tourist attractions as detailed below
The northern region of Malawi is a very unique region to visit while on a safari in Malawi, the region of Malawi is the most unspoiled region of the country characterized by great highlands “the Viphya highlands”. Viphya highlands is a plateau rising to 6000 ft although some peaks stretch further to 1000 ft. higher and lie on the borders with Zambia and Tanzania in the north.
Other significant highlands/ranges in the Northern region of Malawi include the Malingu Mountains rising to over 7000 ft and Misuku hills rising to over 6500ft and the most significant of them is Nyika plateau which towers to 8000ft.
Highlights in Northern region of Malawi
Vwaza Marsh wildlife reserve
Vwaza Marsh wildlife reserve is found in the northern region just a few kilometers from Mzuzu city near the border of Malawi and Zambia and south west of Nyika Plateau, the wildlife reserve covering an area of 400 square kilometers is a home to a variety of wildlife species such as buffaloes, hippos, African elephants, buffaloes, greater kudu, roan, elands, impala, Liechtenstein’s hartebeests among others. Vwaza Marsh wildlife reserve inhabits over 250 bird species such as billed stork, goliath’s heron, white faced tree duck and many others.
Vwaza Marsh wildlife reserve offers amazing safari activities such as game viewing, birding, nature walks among others
Nyika plateau national park
Nyika national park is one of the top tourist destinations in Malawi situated in the northern region of Malawi, this park is the largest national park in Malawi spreading across the scenic Nyika plateau. Nyika Plateau national park is a home to a variety of wildlife and over 400 bird species, animals inhabiting in Nyika national park include klipspringers, buffalos, zebras, cats, jackals, porcupines, reedbucks, hyenas, elands, zebras and many more. Birds found in Nyika national park include the Starred robin, the Denham’s bustard, secretary bird, Mountain Marsh widowbird, the Mountain yellow warbler, the wing snapping Cisticola and the Chirping Cisticola among others.
Nyika national park offers amazing safari activities such as game viewing, bird watching, hiking and nature walks.
Mzuzu city situated in the Northern region of Malawi hosts a lot of tourist attractions spreading around the city, some of the attractions include coffee farms, the Nyika plateau national park hosting a variety of wildlife and birds, Nyika Plateau, Nkhata Bay and shores of Lake Malawi.
Other highlights in the north include Nkhata Bay, Kande Horse stables among others.
Central region of Malawi is the most visited region of Malawi mostly by international travelers, Central region is the most accessible region of Malawi from Lilongwe the capital of the country. International travelers on a Malawi safari first arrive in Lilongwe and then access other parts of the country.
Central region is a very exciting region comprising gently undulating landscapes, the landscape of this region is part of the central African Plateau at 400ft, in the east the region is close to Lake Malawi where the plateau’s escarpments descend into the Rift valley.
The Central African Plateau is crossed by numerous rivers which lead to Lake Malawi and the plateau also consists of inselbergs, gentle landscapes, highlands and forests. Some of the amazing destinations or protected areas in the central region include Dzalanyama Forest Reserve situated west of Lilongwe famous for birds, Dedza Highlands, Dedza-Salima Forest reserve, Thuma Forest reserve, Dowa highlands and Ntchisi Forest Reserve situated East of the Lilongwe the capital stretching south-north along the edge of the Rift Valley.
Highlight destinations in Central region
Kasungu national park
Kasungu national park is located in the western central region of Malawi a few kilometers from Lilongwe the capital city of Malawi, the park is one of the biggest national parks in Malawi hosting a number of wildlife species such as zebras, leopards, jackals, elephants, hippos, civet cat and many bird species such as common swift, African swift, fiery-necked nightjar, pied cuckoo among others.
There are a number of amazing safari activities to do in Kasungu national park such as game viewing, bird watching, nature walks among others.
Lake Malawi and Lake Malawi national park
Lake Malawi is a remarkable tourist attraction in Malawi, biggest lake in the country and the 3rd largest lake on the African continent, Lake Malawi is protected by Lake Malawi national park and the site was recognized as a UNESCO Heritage. Lake Malawi locally known as Lake Nyasa inhabits over 1000 fish species and Lake Malawi national park inhabits a variety bird species such as herons, ducks, African fish eagle and many more along the shores of Lake Malawi and animals such as baboons, blue monkeys, leopards, hippos, common duikers among others.
Lake Malawi national park offers a number of safari activities such as game viewing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and bird watching.
Central region of Malawi is a culturally diverse region when compared to other regions in Malawi, Lilongwe the capital city of Malawi found in the central region consists of many cultural sites such as
- a 20th century creation of modern office blocks in a garden setting
- Old Town
- Chongoni Rock Art Area – a UNESCO World Heritage site and the densest cluster of stone age rock art found in central Africa, this rock art is evidence of Malawi’s inhabitants from past centuries.
- Dedza forestry town – this pleasant forest town overlooks Dedza Mountain and a home to Dedza pottery where artists and craftsmen are watched producing various art pieces and their artistic skill are displayed at Mua Mission.
- Mua is a mission station where students create the finest wood carvings in Malawi and is a home to a fascinating cultural Museum.
Other amazing destinations include Nkhotakota wildlife reserve, Ntchisi forest reserve, the Lilongwe wildlife Trust, Lilongwe city among others.
The southern region of Malawi is a beautiful Malawi destination to visit while in Malawi, the south region of Malawi is composed of a scenic landscape consisting of Shire valley, Mulanje Mountain, Shire River and many more. Shire River gets its water from Lake Malawi flowing through the Lower Shire Valley heading to Mozambique.
Shire Valley in the southern region is the lowest point of Malawi yet it is situated just 100 kilometers away from the highest peak that is Mount Mulanje standing at the altitude of 9850 feet.
Highlight attractions in southern region of Malawi
Blantyre city is a hotspot of culture, the city is the most commercial center in Malawi located in Shire highlands bordered by numerous peaks. The city comprises many appealing historical building, upto date shops. Zomba situated in the foothill of the Zomba Plateau was the actual capital during the colonial times and it still holds its legacy with a gymkhana club, colonial buildings and war memorial sites which are explored during your tour in Malawi.
Lakes in the southern region of Malawi include Lake Malawi protected by Lake Malawi national park found at Cape Maclear, the lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lake Malawi has a magnificent stretch of sandy beaches comprising a biggest collection of lodges between port Monkey Bay and port Mangochi, this southern region comprises 2 additional lakes that are seen and Malombe plus Lake Chilwa.
Southern region of Malawi is a home to a variety of wildlife which is protected in various national parks and wildlife reserves with 3 of them situated in the lowland shire valley also habiting a huge sugar estates which are reached by descending the impressive Thyolo Escarpment situated southwest of Blantyre.
National parks in the southern region of Malawi include Lengwe national park, Mwabvi wildlife reserve, and Liwonde national park. These national parks inhabit many animals such as elephants, antelopes, lions, leopards, rhinos among others.