Ideally combined with a safari in either Zambia, Zimbabwe or Botswana, Malawi is a green and relaxing retreat, an almost forgotten backwater. Forming part of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Malawi is the dominant feature of the country and stretches over 400 miles down the eastern border. Despite its fair share of dusty dirt tracks, a good road network nevertheless exists, making Malawi an ideal destination for self-drive.
The rolling hills and forest terrain that constitute the high plateau known as the Nyika provide some of the most magnificent country in Africa. In the summer months, the grasslands burst into colour, carpeted by wildflowers: orchids, irises and proteas. This untouched wilderness is also home to vast herds of eland, roan antelope and zebra, family groups of warthog, bushpig and reedbuck, as well as the ever present predators: jackal, hyena and leopard. Birdlife too is prolific, particularly during November and December when the migrating flocks arrive. View Malawi in a larger map
Lake Malawi is believed to contain more species of fish than any other lake in the world - indeed, most of them are unique to these waters. At various points along the coast, as fishing boats return fully laden from their night's work on the lake, the early morning scene seems biblical as villagers appear en masse. The sublime western coastline contains endless coves and white sandy beaches and there are several excellent beach front hotels offering the perfect end to the safari element elsewhere.
Liwonde National Park
Situated on the flat plain of the Shire Valley at the southern end of the lake, the Liwonde National Park is in an area of floodplain and reed swamps. Elephant and sable antelope occur in large numbers, as do hippo, crocodile, impala and waterbuck. The area is also acknowledged as being among the very best birding locations in central and southern Africa - particularly prolific species include fish eagle and palmnut vulture.
In picturesque mountains close to the university town of Zomba are to be found waterfalls, rock formations, trout streams, rare plants, plus one of Africa’s most picturesque golf courses. Set against a backdrop of large tea estates in the south-east is the Mulanje Massif, rising to over 3,000 metres at its highest point, with breathtaking views and wide scope for rock climbing and mountain walking.