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
Wildlife safaris in Malawi
Wildlife safaris in Malawi
Wildlife safaris in Malawi
Wildlife safaris in Malawi

Best Malawi Safaris

Top places for 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.


The Majete Reserve now boasts the Big Five, with lion, leopard and buffalo as well as elephant, zebra, sable, waterbuck and eland. Currently they have around 11 black rhino and cheetah are also occasionally seen.

Kuthengo Camp

Kuthengo Camp is located on the banks of the wide Shire River in the Liwonde National Park and is home numerous elephant, hippo and crcodiles. On land see waterbuck, reedbuck and sable. Recent translocations means that lion and cheetah are also present.


The Majete Reserve now boasts the Big Five, with lion, leopard and buffalo as well as elephant, zebra, sable, waterbuck and eland. Currently they have around 11 black rhino and cheetah are also occasionally seen.


On a wide bend of the Luangwa River, where elephants regularly cross, Nsefu is in an area with a high density of game and birdlife – but relatively few visitors. This, along with top-notch guides, results in excellent Zambian wildlife safaris.


Nkwali camp has first-rate guides, most fully-qualified to lead walking safaris as well as 4WD safaris, and South Luangwa allows night drives, and some off-read driving. These factors make for a superb wildlife safari experience in one of Africa's best game areas.

Wildlife safaris elsewhere in Africa

Our top ideas and inspiration for Wildlife safaris in other countries.

Wildlife safaris in Botswana


Botswana's wildlife safaris are perhaps the best in Africa: the vast reserves are usually un-fenced, ...

Wildlife safaris in Kenya


Kenya is the country where the word 'Safari' (Swahili for 'journey') actually comes from. Close ...

Wildlife safaris in Mozambique


Mozambique is best known for its wonderful beaches and marine life, not its 4WD safaris. There ...

Wildlife safaris in Namibia


Wildlife safaris in Namibia can be outstanding. The country has Africa's highest cheetah population, ...

Wildlife safaris in Rwanda


Having walked since dawn, you're tired but your senses are alive. You hear them grunt before you ...

Wildlife safaris in South Africa

South Africa

Expert Africa covers only the western side of South Africa, including the Cape and Kgalagadi. Within ...

Wildlife safaris in Tanzania


Tanzania offers a winning combination: some of Africa's best wildlife safaris plus stunning tropical ...

Wildlife safaris in Zambia


For all of the Zambia specialists at Expert Africa, wildlife safaris are the core of what we do: ...

Wildlife safaris in Zimbabwe


If watching wildlife from a 4WD is not close enough for you, then go on a wildlife safari in Zimbabwe! ...

Where to see wildlife species in Africa

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite African 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.


3,537 sightings from 3,891 observations

Where to see elephant in Africa



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.


1,889 sightings from 4,029 observations

Where to see leopard in Africa



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.


2,964 sightings from 3,641 observations

Where to see lion in Africa



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.


1,028 sightings from 3,085 observations

Where to see cheetah in Africa

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.


843 sightings from 2,707 observations

Where to see wild dog in Africa

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.


2,127 sightings from 3,841 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Africa

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.


615 sightings from 1,995 observations

Where to see black rhino in Africa



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.


3,413 sightings from 3,953 observations

Where to see giraffe in Africa



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.


2,504 sightings from 3,021 observations

Where to see buffalo in Africa



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.


2,591 sightings from 2,910 observations

Where to see hippo in Africa

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.


436 sightings from 1,954 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Africa



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.


1,438 sightings from 2,916 observations

Where to see eland in Africa

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.


458 sightings from 1,965 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Africa



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.


2,411 sightings from 3,557 observations

Where to see wildebeest in Africa



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.


3,723 sightings from 4,412 observations

Where to see zebra in Africa



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.


54 sightings from 3,238 observations

Where to see pangolin in Africa



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.


67 sightings from 3,241 observations

Where to see aardvark in Africa

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

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

  • 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