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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.

Mkulumadzi

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.


Mkulumadzi

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.


Nsefu

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

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

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

Wildlife safaris in Kenya

Kenya

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

Wildlife safaris in Mozambique

Mozambique

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

Wildlife safaris in Namibia

Namibia

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

Wildlife safaris in Rwanda

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

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

Wildlife safaris in Zambia

Zambia

Top-class walking safaris, the outstanding quality of guiding, and many highly individual lodges ...

Wildlife safaris in Zimbabwe

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.


Buffalo

Buffalo

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.

83% SUCCESS

1,112 sightings from 1,335 observations

Where to see buffalo in Africa

Elephant

Elephant

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.

91% SUCCESS

1,590 sightings from 1,750 observations

Where to see elephant in Africa

Hippo

Hippo

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.

89% SUCCESS

1,168 sightings from 1,310 observations

Where to see hippo 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.

50% SUCCESS

903 sightings from 1,799 observations

Where to see spotted hyena 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.

21% SUCCESS

198 sightings from 954 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Africa

Giraffe

Giraffe

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.

83% SUCCESS

1,523 sightings from 1,833 observations

Where to see giraffe in Africa

Eland

Eland

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.

45% SUCCESS

613 sightings from 1,362 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.

24% SUCCESS

228 sightings from 959 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Africa

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

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.

63% SUCCESS

1,058 sightings from 1,668 observations

Where to see wildebeest 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.

29% SUCCESS

261 sightings from 899 observations

Where to see black rhino in Africa

Lion

Lion

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.

80% SUCCESS

1,314 sightings from 1,646 observations

Where to see lion in Africa

Leopard

Leopard

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.

45% SUCCESS

840 sightings from 1,873 observations

Where to see leopard in Africa

Zebra

Zebra

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.

84% SUCCESS

1,724 sightings from 2,057 observations

Where to see zebra in Africa

Cheetah

Cheetah

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.

29% SUCCESS

418 sightings from 1,453 observations

Where to see cheetah in Africa

Pangolin

Pangolin

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.

2% SUCCESS

27 sightings from 1,487 observations

Where to see pangolin in Africa

Aardvark

Aardvark

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.

3% SUCCESS

43 sightings from 1,572 observations

Where to see aardvark in Africa

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