This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Nkhotakota, Malawi's oldest protected area

Nkhotakota, superb walking, canoeing and fishing.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve: in detail

Nkhotakota safari holidays: the full story

Located in central Malawi, below the Chipata Mountain the scenic Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is the country’s oldest and least-developed protected area. And at 1,802 km2, it is also the largest.

Nkhotakota’s rugged terrain stretches from the Great Rift Valley in the west to a few kilometres short of Lake Malawi in the east. Some of Malawi’s main rivers flow through it on their way to the lake and numerous streams and waterfalls cascade into the reserve from the edge of the escarpment.

Most of the reserve is dominated by brachystegia and miombo woodland with little open ground, while tall grasses and areas of both evergreens and rainforest are particularly characteristic of the wetter parts of the plateau.

As a true wilderness area, Nkhotakota is particularly attractive to travellers who wish to enjoy walking safaris, canoeing and fishing.

Safaris to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Until recently, Nkhotakota Reserve was difficult to access and remained largely undiscovered. Then, in October 2011, came the opening of Tongole Wilderness Lodge, the first luxury lodge in this area. Initially, visitors were able to reach the lodge via a scenic track through the park – then in January 2013, Tongole opened an airstrip, opening up the area to flight transfers.

Nkhotakota’s larger wildlife
Larger mammals in the Nkhotakota Reserve include elephant and buffalo, as well as the magnificent sable and kudu antelopes.

Flora and birdlife of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
With over 280 bird species recorded here – including giant kingfishers, black stork and palm-nut vultures– it is not surprising that Birdlife International has classified Nkhotakota as an Important Bird Area (IBA).

In 2015 African Parks took over the management of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to try and eradicate elephant poaching as well as to ensure the parks survival. Their efforts also include the translocation of 520 elephant, as well as 1,400 other game animals from the Liwonde National Park and Majete Game Reserve.

They are also involved in helping the local communities to benefit from the park which includes the erection of a perimeter fence which has helped improve the human-wildlife conflict with the villages bordering the park.

Where to stay in Nkhotakota

Our suggestions for safari camps in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Tongole Wilderness Lodge is a relatively new luxury lodge in the Nkhotakota Wilderness Reserve offering walking, fishing and canoeing safaris in a pristine wilderness environment.

90% (10 reviews)

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Nkhotakota

This is their success for sightings in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


100% success


0% success


0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success


0% success


0% success


0% success

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link

New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team