Reviews of safaris to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
10 holiday reviews from our travellers of holidays which include Nkhotakota.
"A wonderful time in Malawi"
We were glad that we had the night in Blantyre on arrival to recover from the journey out (exactly 24 hours door to door), prior to going to the game park.
The drive from Majete to Liwonde was arduous and took nearly 7 hours. This was partly due to misty conditions through the mountains, bridge repairs in Blantyre and the poor quality of the roads, particularly the access road into Liwonde National Park.
The drive from Liwonde to Nkhotakota was extremely arduous and took about 7.5hours. The driver did not seem too well to start with and had to stop for a short while. We fed him some of our packed lunches as the monkeys had apparently pinched his breakfast!. We had a stop in Salima for toilets and refuelling, but there was a delay due to an issue with the driver's office, in sending him through sufficient funds to buy enough petrol. We moved on and had the same issue in Nkhotakota town, where we stopped for nearly an hour while he tried to sort it out. The driver had not been to Tongole Lodge before and had to keep stopping to ask how to get to it. Once in the park, signposting disappeared and we ended up at the sister camp and had to be re-directed. We were concerned when the driver said that he was driving straight back to Blantyre without a break. It might be worth exploring air transfer - the pilot we spoke to said it was possible via Lilongwe. Obviously the cost would be higher but after undertaking the road journey, this could be worth it.
We are not sure why Expert Africa are offering South African Airways via Johannesburg as their preferred route. We found Ethiopian Airlines flights to be extremely good, with modern planes (Airbus A350 and Boeing 787) and excellent crew. The issue about flight changes that we were notified about prior to departure were due to the main runway at Blantyre being closed for several months for re-building. Only small planes can land at Blantyre on their small runway, and so all large planes have to go into Lilongwe and then a shuttle service is run down to Blantyre in small turboprop planes. Ethiopian could have explained this to us when they changed the flights. Our luggage was taken right through to Blantyre and immigration was also done at Blantyre, even though we arrived there on an internal flight.
The only other downside to Ethiopian is the airport at Addis Ababa. although a relatively new terminal, is not to the standard of Johannesburg airport, although is tolerable for a few hours.
Our Business Class flights (for 2 people) cost £4545.24 compared with your quote with SAA of £9841.98 and we were extremely happy with the service.
Thank you so much for organising this trip for us. we had a fantastic experience and really enjoyed our time in Malawi." Read full review: 18 nights in Africa; 16 on a Malawi trip
Expert Africa knitted the two sets of arrangements together perfectly and pretty seamlessly. Overall, the trip had many highlights (just a few low-lights at the beginning) and we would happily use EA again." Read full review: 18 nights in Africa; 4 on a Zambia safari
"A perfect Zambia - Malawi combination Holiday"
Lucy really provided expert guidance on chosing camps that suit us. We wanted to go back to Tafika and she has given us new places to consider and her recommendations have been excellent." Read full review: 21 nights in Africa; 13 on a Zambia safari
"First time in Malawi"
We found the advance information and help setting up the trip first class.
Malawi is a beautiful country. Everyone we came in contact with from drivers to guides and lodge staff were superbly friendly and attentive to our comfort.
All in all it was a fantastic trip enjoyed by all.
The only glitch was the failure of the transport for the airport to arrive on our last night which cause some anxiety and expense as it was late on Sunday night and it was not easy to find alternative transport. A working contact number for the provider might have helped." Read full review: 8 nights in Africa; 8 on a Malawi trip
"Malawi is a must"
Otherwise, an amazing experience, and we saw far more wildlife than we were led to expect from the literature.
The country felt safe and friendly and the lack of hordes of visitors made you feel you were experiencing the real Africa." Read full review: 17 nights in Africa; 12 on a Malawi trip
"Malawi Holiday 2016"
The last two Lodges might have disappointed others who expected more and had researched less.
Malawi was disturbingly poverty stricken and food aid was obvious everywhere.
Lake Malawi is dropping alarmingly and one good rainy season will not be enough to restore the lake. What happens to the tourist business if the lake drops another metre from the September 2016 level does not bear thinking about." Read full review: 14 nights in Africa; 13 on a Malawi trip
"A safari in Malawi"
How fortunate to see three leopards while visiting Chelinda, the trip was made!! A challenging first week walking the Livingstonia Trail. Great fun, wilderness & sense of achievement. Cannot praise the staff enough.
My heart is lost in Tongole a very special place. Enjoyed all our other accommodations too. A real comfort to see Abasie our driver from our previous trip, we were right at home! All in all another very successful trip. Thank you." Read full review: 13 nights in Africa; 7 on a Malawi trip
"Historical Malawi Adventure"
A very great big thanks goes to Claire Scott, my contact who took on board what I thought was a massive ask & querie into what I was aiming to achieve. Having explained four of five main locations I wanted to visit in Malawi & why, Claire set about making & suggesting a plan for me. My quest was to visit locations in Malawi that my great grandfather had pursued over a hundred & thirty years ago in the late eighteen hundreds.
In 1888 William Murray had set out as a young man of 22, from the Highlands of Scotland, to pursue a vocation of working in the Mission field in Central Africa. The first location that I was aware he worked at was Bandawe. Others included Livingstonia, Kota Kota, Kasunga & Mombera to name a few.
Claire set about making a plan suggesting flights, airports, accommodation and transportation. Within a few days she returned to me with a plan that certainly encompassed as much as I could fit in with the time available.
The trip was set in motion! As we reached nearer our departure date Claire contacted me regarding seeking information from Malawiean sources. Sources in Malawi had offered to help me find information on the Hisotrical Missions, if I was interested. I was over the moon. This proved very worth while. I met with Dora & Mike from Mandala House, in Blantyre (the Society of Malawi) I spent a morning with them and shared photos & information. This was a positive start to our Mission adventure.
All our accommodation on our trip was unique to their locations and varied in style & facilities. Frank & I enjoy meeting people and try to accommodate all activities where possible when we travel. Was it luck or what?? Everywhere we visited we met new & interesting people - staff & guests. Had fun, enjoyment and companionship in all activities.
Our driver from Central African Wilderness Safaris - Abassie was a real gentleman. Patient, attentive to our needs & wishes. He delivered us to all locations on the schedule & squeezed a few more in, while en route to destinations. We valued his local knowledge & connections with people. Although we learned loads from him, I do believe he also learned from the 'journey' & information we had taken along.
Our 'journey' took in all the locations we aimed to cover. Arriving in Livingstonia was the end of our journey but also the most important to me. We met with the librarian & estate manager of Livingstonia Mission(arranged by Abassie I asume). Both provided us with a guided tour, history lesson & a hilariously enjoyable morning. Finding a photo of my Great grandfather with Dr Robert Laws in one of the museum displays in the Stone House was the height of happiness for me. The rounding up of a long, searching journey. Ah!
Now, I have a lot of correspondence to catch up with everyone in Malawi who assisted with my search.
Our trip also provided some holiday time too. The treat part was to visit Tongole Wilderness Lodge and what a treat. Aswel as enjoying the visit from the local elephants, everyone & everything about Tongole was just brilliant.
Expert Africa provided well organised travel information, assistance with my specific reason to travel & a very caring, helpful Claire Scott - thank you so much!" Read full review: 13 nights in Africa; 6 on a Malawi trip
We'd like to thank everyone for making our trip so enjoyable." Read full review: 13 nights in Africa; 12 on a Malawi trip
Where to stay in Nkhotakota
Our suggestions for safari camps in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve