Wildlife safaris in Malawi

Best wildlife safaris in Malawi

Don't expect spectacular game on a wildlife safari in Malawi, instead come for a relaxed safari - and you may be pleasantly surprised. In combination with a beach holiday at Lake Malawi, or a wildlife safari in Zambia, Malawi's parks are really worth a visit, especially for 'old Africa hands' who have travelled a lot on the continent.

In the north of the country the Nyika Plateau, rising to about 2,500m, provides panoramic views and a variety of plant life, including many endemics and an incredible 200 species of orchids. The undulating montane grasslands and occasional forests are home to herds of roan, reedbuck, zebra, eland and the occasional leopard.

In the centre of the country, the rugged woodlands of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve are veined by rivers and the wildlife safaris here are best known for their elephants and birding, amongst other wildlife. Many streams and waterfalls cascade from the hills here, making a great backdrop for relaxed walking safaris and canoe trips.

Lake Malawi drains south into the languid, palm-lined Shire River. Beside this the lush, tropical Liwonde National Park has long been regarded as offering the best wildlife safaris in Malawi - harbouring elephant, waterbuck, bushbuck, impala and sable antelope. Exploring on a motorboat safari can be particularly lovely; the park is home to good populations of crocodile and hippos.

Even further south, in the Lower Shire Valley, the same species live in the faster-flowing waters around rocky rapids beside Majete Wildlife Reserve. On land, this newly-restored park is home to bushbuck, nyala, zebra, kudu, waterbuck, eland and warthog, countless impala and baboon - plus elephant, buffalo and lion.

As mentioned, it's often best to combine wildlife safaris in Malawi with a safari in Zambia, and specifically with the nearby South Luangwa National Park, or with a beach holiday beside Lake Malawi.

Our pick: the 1 best wildlife safaris in Malawi