Ideas with inspiration: 2 birdwatching holidays in Malawi
In terms of water birds, the expansive Lake Malawi is very important. Its lengthy shores are lined with marshes, savannah and evergreen forests, which support a variety of species. The lake also drains into the Shire River, which is lined with lush riverine vegetation and wide floodplains. This stretch of the Shire beside Liwonde National Park has some of the most spectacular birding in Malawi, with night trips to find Pel's fishing owl on many birder's wish-lists.
A handful of further noteworthy habitats for birdwatching in Malawi include mopane and miombo woodlands, palm savannah and marshes. Birders may also be keen to explore the montane grassland of the Nyika plateau, which supports the uncommon and localised blue swallow.
Orange Cap Cichlid Safari
7 days • 2 locations
LILONGWE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT
US$4,280 - US$5,310 per person
Nature walks and kayak trips around Mumbo Island are great addition to a birdwatching break in Malawi. From the tiny and colourful paradise flycatcher to the large African harrier hawk there is a great range of birds to be seen here.
11 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT
US$7,680 - US$10,320 per person
Beside the river, with bush, open plains and salt pans nearby, Nsefu is a great location for birdwatching in Zambia. Knowledgeable guides, flocks of crowned cranes in the dry season, and yellow-billed storks during the rains are a bonus.
Nkwail has first-rate guides who know their birds very well – even the more obscure species. The superb location will also appeal when planning a birdwatching holiday in Zambia, as Nkwali overlooks the Luangwa River.
Birdwatching elsewhere in Africa
Top ideas and inspirational ideas for holidays which can focus on birds and birdwatching in other countries.
Where to see wildlife species in Africa
Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite African animals based on traveller sightings reports from the field.
By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.
2,886 sightings from 3,195 observations
The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.
1,537 sightings from 3,315 observations
Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.
2,403 sightings from 2,971 observations
The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.
787 sightings from 2,530 observations
African wild dogs are among the continent’s most compelling animals. Much misunderstood, these rare, tie-dyed canids are amazingly efficient hunters with a fascinating social life.
702 sightings from 2,215 observations
The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.
1,671 sightings from 3,146 observations
The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.
477 sightings from 1,590 observations
The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.
2,766 sightings from 3,237 observations
One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.
2,022 sightings from 2,461 observations
The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.
2,096 sightings from 2,359 observations
Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.
355 sightings from 1,669 observations
Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.
1,110 sightings from 2,368 observations
Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.
370 sightings from 1,667 observations
Superficially bovine in appearance, wildebeests are known for their spectacular migrations sometimes in huge numbers. These resilient animals are some of Africa’s most successful herbivores.
1,952 sightings from 2,935 observations
The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.
3,046 sightings from 3,627 observations
Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.
43 sightings from 2,657 observations
The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.
64 sightings from 2,717 observations