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Birdwatching in Malawi
Birdwatching in Malawi
Birdwatching in Malawi
Birdwatching in Malawi
Birdwatching in Malawi
Birdwatching in Malawi

Malawi birdwatching

Ideas with inspiration: 1 birdwatching holidays in Malawi

Malawi has a number of species which are rare in the rest of Southern Africa, and birdwatching in Malawi is probably at its best in the country's water and forest habitats. Malawi's birding highlights include near endemics such as the Malawi batis, east coast akalat and white-winged apalis.

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.


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.

Best camps & lodges for Birdwatching in Malawi

Chintheche Inn

Chintheche Inn

The simple Chintheche Inn, owned and managed by Wilderness Safaris, is a relaxed beach lodge on the western shore of Lake Malawi. This northern part of the Malawi lakeshore is very green and lush, dotted with fishing villages and with endless sandy beaches.

86% (7 reviews)
Mumbo Island

Mumbo Island

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.

98% (10 reviews)
Heuglins Guest House

Heuglins Guest House

Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary is near to Heuglins - a highlight on a birdwatching break in Malawi. There are opportunities to see the olive sunbird, Livingstone's loerie, finfoot and the red-throated twin spot.

80% (2 reviews)
Ku Chawe Inn

Ku Chawe Inn

Interesting montagne species in the forests here

75% (4 reviews)
Mvuu Camp

Mvuu Camp

Great birding in this lush Malawi reserve

90% (6 reviews)

Best camps & lodges for Birdwatching in Africa

Birdwatching elsewhere in Africa

Top ideas and inspirational ideas for holidays which can focus on birds and birdwatching in other countries.

Birdwatching in Botswana


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Birdwatching in Kenya


Kenya is a prime destination for a birdwatching holiday at any time of year. Tremendous geographical ...

Birdwatching in Mozambique


Mozambique stretches over 2000km from north to south. It is a lush and varied country, and birding ...

Birdwatching in Namibia


The best time for bird watching in Namibia is during the rains - typically between around November ...

Birdwatching in Rwanda


Birdwatching in Rwanda is somewhat overlooked in favour of gorilla-trekking trips. However, birdlife ...

Birdwatching in Seychelles


The Seychelles is a disparate group of islands - some granitic; some coralline - scattered around ...

Birdwatching in South Africa

South Africa

South Africa has the highest number of endemic bird species in mainland Africa. Birding in the ...

Birdwatching in Tanzania


With a range of endemic bird species, Tanzania is a great location for a birdwatching holiday. ...

Birdwatching in Zambia


Birdwatching in Zambia will reveal a mix of south, east and even central African birds. Birdlife ...

Birdwatching in Zimbabwe


Whilst Zimbabwe doesn't have any endemics, it's still great for bird watching. A Zimbabwe holiday ...

Where to see wildlife species in Malawi

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite animals based on traveller sightings reports from the field.



Loxodonta africana

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.


3,737 sightings from 4,116 observations

Where to see elephant in Malawi



Panthera pardus

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.


1,999 sightings from 4,269 observations

Where to see leopard in Malawi



Panthera leo

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.


3,115 sightings from 3,844 observations

Where to see lion in Malawi



Acinonyx jubatus

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.


1,070 sightings from 3,271 observations

Where to see cheetah in Malawi

Wild dog

Wild dog

Lycaon pictus

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.


903 sightings from 2,854 observations

Where to see wild dog in Malawi

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

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.


2,225 sightings from 4,061 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Malawi

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

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.


634 sightings from 2,101 observations

Where to see black rhino in Malawi



Giraffa camelopardalis

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.


3,603 sightings from 4,193 observations

Where to see giraffe in Malawi



Syncerus caffer

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.


2,638 sightings from 3,185 observations

Where to see buffalo in Malawi



Hippopotamus amphibius

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.


2,733 sightings from 3,061 observations

Where to see hippo in Malawi

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

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.


473 sightings from 2,100 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Malawi



Taurotragus oryx

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.


1,492 sightings from 3,056 observations

Where to see eland in Malawi

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

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.


495 sightings from 2,101 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Malawi



Connochaetes sp.

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.


2,551 sightings from 3,773 observations

Where to see wildebeest in Malawi



Equus sp.

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.


3,938 sightings from 4,685 observations

Where to see zebra in Malawi



Smutsia sp.

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.


57 sightings from 3,428 observations

Where to see pangolin in Malawi



Orycteropus afer

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.


73 sightings from 3,417 observations

Where to see aardvark in Malawi

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