Dubbed 'The Warm Heart of Africa' due to the legendary welcome extended to all who visit, Malawi is a small country with a big heart and an even bigger range of incredible tourist activities! Lake Malawi’s vast size, its warm freshwater and its gorgeous surrounding beaches make it a mecca for those seeking a year-round location to swim, scuba dive, snorkel, water ski, sail, kayak, parasail or simply potter about in boats. Malawi also boasts plenty of national parks providing a haven for a wide variety of wildlife including crocodiles, lions, elephants, hippos and even leopard. Culture vultures are also well served by numerous fascinating historical and cultural sites as well as visits to traditional Malawian villages to meet some ever-smiling Malawians going about their daily lives. With all of this exceptional culture, natural scenery and friendliness on offer, this unique African country is enchanting enough to captivate even the most jaded traveller.
Majete Wildlife Reserve
Days 1 - 4
Sprawling across 700 square kilometres of the Great African Rift Valley, Majete Wildlife Reserve’s undulating terrain incorporates grassy plains, riverside groves and forests of marula, acacia and leadwood interspersed with palms and the occasional baobab tree. The park provides a sanctuary for a diverse mix of wildlife, including black rhino, elephant, antelope and warthog, while the Shire River is populated by large numbers of crocodiles and hippos. Lodging options include chalets and a wonderfully scenic campsite set above the Matitu Falls. This conservation success story is a must-see, with over 2500 animals having been reintroduced into the reserve since 2003 - making it home to Africa’s Big 5.
Liwonde National Park
Days 4 - 7
Liwonde National Park is situated at the southern tip of Lake Malombe in southern Malawi. Although Liwonde is a smaller park, it is arguably the most popular of all the game parks in the country. Malawi’s main river, the Shire, forms its western boundary and is the reserve’s lifeblood. Boasting plenty of animals including hippos, kudu, elephants, crocodiles and elephants, and even black rhino, the park has become one of Malawi's premier wildlife-viewing destinations. The birding opportunities here are excellent and a favourite sighting among birdwatchers is the Pel’s fishing owl. Visitors can look forward to a wide selection of activities including canoeing, sublime boating safaris, and excellently positioned camping spots. The area is also incredibly photogenic, with its lush Borassus palms, Impala lilies, and abundant wildflowers blooming after the rains.
Days 7 - 10
Located on the southern shore of Lake Malawi at the tip of the Nankumba Peninsula, Cape Maclear is a little resort town surrounded by mountains and set within Lake Malawi National Park. This town features an array of beachside bars and local restaurants in a spectacularly scenic setting of golden sand beaches lapped by dazzling turquoise water. Cape Maclear is a Robinson-Crusoe paradise, making it a sought after tourist destination. Kayak over to the nearby Thumbi island and spot the majestic fish eagle, sail across the lake and catch a picturesque African sunset, or scuba dive into the crystal-clear depths of the lake, which boasts some of the best freshwater diving in the world. Other popular activities include: bird watching, windsurfing, hiking, swimming or shopping in the local craft markets as well as island tours and guided village walks.
This unique, peanut-shaped country, once known as Northern Rhodesia, offers visitors an authentic African experience complete with adrenalin pumping adventure sports, a variety of fascinating cultural activities, and an abundance of indigenous wildlife, which finds refuge in Zambia’s vast national parks. Spend your evenings enjoying the spectacular site of the world’s largest waterfall, the Victoria Falls, while sipping on sundowners after an exhilarating day of whitewater rafting down the rapids of the mighty Zambezi River. If that sounds a little too adventurous for your taste, take a houseboat cruise along the exquisite Lake Kariba while watching wild elephants drink at the riverbank as you try your hand at catching the elusive tiger fish. However you choose to spend your time in this unique country, you are bound to leave with a heavy heart and a desire to return again soon to this exceptionally beautiful Southern African country.
South Luangwa National Park
Days 10 - 15
Bordering the Luangwa River, the northern and southern Luangwa National Parks contain some of the most breathtaking and untouched wilderness in Africa. As a result of this and the parks’ successful anti-poaching campaigns, the area has developed into a world-renowned wildlife haven. The South Luangwa National Park is renowned for its walking safari, which allows visitors to view elephant, hippo and even lion close-up under the supervision of professional and knowledgeable armed guides.
Kafue National Park
Days 15 - 18
Set in the heart of western Zambia, Kafue National Park is the country's biggest and oldest National Park. The Lufupa, Lunga, and Kafue rivers provide the lifeblood of the reserve, with the annual summer flood of the Lufupa creating an impressive delta. The floodplains, rivers, and woodlands support an impressive array of animal and birdlife. Visitors can catch glimpses of the hippos swimming in the waters of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, along with some of the biggest crocodiles in southern Africa. The park is home to over 500 bird species and numerous animals. Watch zebras and lions on the northern Busanga Plains, and antelopes and elephants on the more remote southern Nanzhila Plains. Cheetahs, not usually found easily, can be found throughout the park. Other species include warthogs, aardvarks, and monitor lizards.
A nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture, Zimbabwe’s status as one of Africa’s leading safari destinations was dampened for years by its political instability. But now that the country is transcending its strife and returning to a state of equilibrium, it is once again emerging as a vacation highlight of the continent. Victoria Falls – known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot featuring mind-blowing sunsets; Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants; and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through the Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.
Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
Days 18 - 21
Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls. It is set on the magnificent Zambezi River which creates the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. These spectacular falls can be easily visited and viewed from the Zimbabwean side. Considered to be the world’s widest waterfalls, Victoria Falls measures an impressive 1708 metres in width. The small town of Victoria Falls, which lies adjacent to the waterfalls, serves as a great base from which to explore the many attractions this area of Zimbabwe has to offer. The surrounding area provides a wide range of adrenalin-filled activities for adventure lovers. Visitors can look forward to an array of wonderful activities including: scenic flights, micro lighting, white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, and once-in-a-lifetime expeditions into the incredible Chobe National Park.
Eastern Hwange National Park
Days 22 - 25
Located in western Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie Game Reserve) is the largest natural reserve in the country and is famous for its rich diversity of wildlife. Home to one of the biggest elephant populations in the world, as well as around 100 mammal species, the park is a wonderland for animal lovers. Several protected animals inhabit the awe-inspiring open landscapes, including the endangered wild dog, critically endangered black rhino, and rare roan and sable - along with lion, cheetah, and around 500 bird species. Adventurers can look forward to guided bush hikes, game drives, and horse riding safaris, all of which offer excellent photographic opportunities. Hwange boasts several unique natural features, most notably the natural seeps such as Nehimba and Shakwanki animals dig for water.
Southern Hwange National Park
Days 25 - 28
Located in western Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie Game Reserve) is the largest natural reserve in the country and is famous for its rich diversity of wildlife. Home to one of the biggest elephant populations in the world, as well as around 100 mammal species, the park is popular among animal lovers. Several protected species inhabit the awe-inspiring open landscapes, including the endangered wild dog, critically endangered black rhino, and rare roan and sable - along with lion, cheetah, and around 500 bird species. Adventurers can look forward to guided bush hikes, game drives, and horse riding safaris, all of which offer excellent photographic opportunities.
Matobo National Park
Days 28 - 32
Idyllically located in the spectacular Matobo Hills, the renowned Matobo National Park is known for its rich human history, its remarkably diverse flora and fauna and its magnificent rugged terrain. This unspoiled natural wilderness features a range of massive red-tinged, granite boulders interspersed with gorgeous wooded valleys making it a dream destination for hikers, climbers and nature lovers alike. The reserve is compact, easily accessible and is home to an impressive range of African wildlife including the highly endangered black and white rhinoceros, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, cheetah, hippo, warthog and crocodile as well as Africa's largest concentration of leopard and black eagles. This unforgettable national park serves as an ideal stopover for travellers heading to the popular tourist sites of Hwange and the majestic Victoria Falls.
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Days 32 - 34
Once Zimbabwe’s capital, the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe is the biggest and most significant stone archaeological complex in sub-Saharan Africa. It is also one of its oldest – thought to date back to the 11th century and second only to South Africa’s Mapungwe. Composed entirely of rectangular granite blocks stacked on top of one another without the use of mortar, the walls and towers of the city measure up to 12 metres in places, and it is unsurprising that Great Zimbabwe was designated a World Heritage Site in 1986. Visitors can look forward to wandering through these ancient stone structures and immersing themselves in the history of this important heritage site.
Days 34 - 35
Zimbabwe’s capital city is the country’s most cosmopolitan and contemporary destination, dotted with restaurants and bars, shops and markets. Its proud historical and cultural heritage is reflected in several well-preserved old buildings and informative museums, while its many parks and gardens provide a pleasant contrast to the bustling urban sectors. Located within easy reach of the city centre are the Mukuvisi Woodlands, comprising over 250 hectares of rich natural wilderness, while the magnificent Kopje – a rocky hill to the southwest of Harare – offers great views over the city. Other city highlights include the fascinating National Gallery of Zimbabwe, the abundant Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences, the Chapungu Sculpture Park, and the gorgeous National Botanic Garden, filled with a variety of rare African plants as well as exotic plants from around the world.