National Parks & Game
Nyika National Park
Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve
Nkhotakota Game Reserve
Lake Malawi Marine Park
Majete Game Reserve
Lengwe National Park
Malawi is a naturalists paradise, and boasts as
rich a variety of large mammals as most African Countries; including the so
called big five - buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros. There are
over 170 species of mammals and some 649 recorded species of bird.
with everywhere, human population pressures have meant that most the big game
species are now restricted to game reserves and national parks. Although these
reserves are not as famous as some found in other East African countries, they
offer comparable and excellent game viewing.
To get the most out of a
game viewing expedition you will need to take into account the climate. The
best times of the year for game viewing is during the dry season August to
November. Some parks will be closed or impassable without a four wheel drive
vehicle during the raining season, particularly Jan - March. To find out the
latest situation at any of the parks enquire at the Wildlife Society Shop
located in Blantyre or Limbe
NYIKA NATIONAL PARK - click to view recommended Tours and Safaris
In 1965 The Nyika National Park became the first certified Park in Malawi. It
encompasses the majority of the Nyika Plateau area in the Northern Region. It
is the largest (covering an area of over 3,000 sq. km) and highest ( heights
averaging 1,800m) of Malawi's parks bordering Zambia on the western side. The
area is virtually uninhabited by man, with only a few settlements of Aphoka
people. The Nyika is covered in moor-like, treeless grasslands, endless rolling
hills, occasionally interrupted by pockets of evergreen forest in the ravines
and valleys. There are numerous waterfalls on rivers flowing off the high
Owing to it's altitude, the Nyika offers a welcome break
from the tropical heat of the lakeshore. Summer temperatures rarely exceed
21.5°C and in the winter months (June, July & August) an evening by the
logfire provides a relaxing distraction. The area is passable most of the year
round but is best visited in a 4x4 vehicle during the rainy season. November to
May is the best time for game viewing, October to December for bird watching,
whilst January and February are the best months to visit to experience the
spectacular flowering of indigenous orchids.
The plateau is remote,
wild and beautiful providing dramatic scenery and panoramic views, especially
to the north. The Nyika National Park is home to large herds of zebra, eland,
roan antelope, sable antelope, lichtenstein's hartebeest, kudu reedbuck,
bushbuck, duiker, and warthog. It houses the largest concentration of leopard
in the country. The nocturnal family of wild animals include hyena, jackal,
civet cat, honey badger, porcupine and aardvark. Due to the absence of lion in
the park, it is possible to go on a foot safari of up to 5 days but you must be
escorted by a game scout.
More than 300 bird species have been
recorded in the Nyika Plateau, including the Den Ham's bustard, the malachite
sunbird and red winged francolin all found in the grassland area, whilst the
cinnamon dove, bartailed trogon and starred robin are found high in the forest
canopy, particularly the Chowo forest near the Zambian Resthouse. Four birds
found on the Nyika plateau that have not been recorded anywhere else in Malawi,
the yellow mountain warbler, churring cisticola, cracking cloud cisticola and
mountain marsh widow. It also contains three butterfly species and one species
each of chameleon , frog and toad which are found nowhere else.
rivers and dams are stocked with rainbow trout, trout fishing being a very
popular pastime here. Fishing permits must be arranged at head office at
Chilinda and can be obtained all year round. for the Nyika Plateau area.
The gamepark entrance is situated 129km from Mzuzu and 68km from Rumphi.
Drive west from Rumphi for approx. 60km and take a right turn towards the gate.
There is a daily entrance fee payable at the gate.
Approximately 56km from the
entrance gate is Chilinda Camp where there a high luxury Lodge and a cheaper
Camp with self catering units and a camp site.
VWAZA MARSH GAME RESERVE - click to view recommended Tours and Safaris
Click to view
Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve sees very few visitors , despite its
easy access, inexpensive accommodation and rich diversity of animals and birds.
It lies southwest of the Nyika Plateau, to the north of the floodplains of
South Rukuru River and covers an area of 1,000 km². Road conditions are
poor particularly in the raining season when a 4x4 vehicle is essential. The
terrain is generally flat and the dominant vegetation type is mixed
brachystegia and mopane woodland.
The populations of large animals
vary from season to season as they cross the border from and to Zambia's
Luangwa Game reserve. The reserve houses large herds of buffalo and elephants,
and a great variety of antelope are present, including roan, greater kudu,
Liechtenstein's hartebeest, eland and impala.
The birdlife include
Goliath Herons, Openbill Storks, many birds of prey and the rare White-winged
Starling. Lake Kazuni supports a good population of hippo and elephants can
often be seen around the lake. Walking is permitted in this area (accompanied
by a game scout).
A vast amount of wildlife can be seen around Kazuni
camp and the lake, a truly spectacular sight.
A daily entrance fee is
Camp - This camp comprises four twin bedded rondavels made entirely of
poles and grass with ensuite facilities and a main restaurant / bar under a
secluded grove of Acacia trees.
Kazuni Camp -
Self Catering - five grass huts with beds and mosquito nets and a central
ablution block. Cooking places provided. All in a patch of evergreen trees.
Right next to the self-catering camp (and using the same ablution block) is
a campsite for those with their own tents.
KASUNGU NATIONAL PARK Map
The Kasungu National Park is Malawi's second largest (over 2,000km2) lying
at approximately 1,000m above sea level. It is situated in the Central Region
approximately 165km north of the capital city, Lilongwe and 289km south of
Mzuzu. To the western side the Park borders with Zambia. Kasungu provides some
of the best available game viewing in the country, particularly at the end of
the dry season from August to November, a time when waters levels begin to
dwindle forcing the animals to stay close to the remaining watering holes in
The Park is warm from the months of September to May and
cooler from June to August. Most years the park is closed during March, maybe
earlier if the rains are heavy. The roads are in better condition at the start
of the dry season and has a network of untarred roads. Depending on what you do
the best time to visit the park is:- August to January for Game Viewing
November to December for bird watching June to September for walking August to
September for the flora November to February for the orchids and wild flowers.
The best months for photography for August to February.
vegetation consists mainly of Miombo woodland broken up by grassy river
channels, known locally as Dambos. A number of rivers flow through the park,
the most important of which are the Dwanga and the Lingadzi, A tributary of the
Lingadzi, the Lifupa, dams as Lifupa Lodge which creates the spot for game
viewing within the park, especially to see the resident hippos. Kasungu is
famed for it's population of elephants, though poaching is, even today, a big
problem. A well as elephants it boasts a large variety of buck, including
sable, roan, kudu, impala and Hartebeest as well as buffalo and zebra.
Predators in the Park include, hyena, wild dog and serval. (I have even been
lucky to see a leopard, but was many years ago).
Lifupa Lodge is an upmarket,
ideally located, approximately 14km from the main entrance gate and overlooking
the dam. It is a 40 bed luxury lodge, includes four suites, all overlooking the
dam. It also has a further 16 superior en suite rondavels. I don't have up to
date prices but it is definitely not cheap. Adjacent to the Lodge there is a 24
bed self catering tented camp. There is a swimming pool at the lodge,
facilities include an information centre and museum, shop, and petrol can be
purchased. Activities provided by the lodge include open vehicle game drives,
guided wilderness trails, sundowner cruises and visits to archaeological sites.
NKHOTAKOTA GAME RESERVE Map
Nkhotakota Reserve is situated 115km to the North East of Lilongwe, on top of
the Rift Valley escarpment above the lake. It is the oldest established reserve
in Malawi. The Bua River cuts through the middle on route to the lake. and
provides a excellent spot for a bit of fishing for mpasa and Lake Salmon
(permits are required). There are no open plains but elephant, buffalo, lion,
leopard and hyaena can all be found in this area.
especially rewarding with more than 300 species being recorded, including Pel's
Fishing Owl and Palmnut Vulture.
There is a basic campsite at
LAKE MALAWI MARINE PARK - click to view recommended Tours and Safaris
Lake Malawi National Park was only designated a National Park in 1980 was
established at the southern end of the Lake to protect the unique diversity of
tropical fish living there, some not found anywhere else on earth. The National
Park is the most important freshwater fish sanctuary in Africa and it was the
first park in the world to give protection to the marine life of a tropical
deep water, Rift Valley Lake.
The Nankhumba Peninsula, forms the
centrepiece of a miniature archipelago of twelve islands, and encompasses Cape
Maclear, where scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities. The
underwater game viewing experience matches anything that the land has to offer.
The natural habitats has resulted in an extraordinary concentration of
different species of plants, animals and birds, quite asides from the hundreds
of species of fish that can be found in the region, the most famous of which is
the Mbuna Chichlids.
The is a variety of lakeshore
accommodation in this area.
LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK - click to view recommended Tours and Safaris
Liwonde National Park lies on the banks of the Upper Shire River, south of
Lake Malawi, bordering Lake Malombe to the north and encompassing a large area
east of the river. It is situated 120km north of Blantyre, and about 60km north
of Zomba and is 236 kms away from Lilongwe.
The vegetation is diverse
ranging from the swamps, lagoons and reed-beds along the river edge, grassland
in the better drained areas where palm, sausage and baobab trees grow, whilst
elsewhere there is Mopane woodland, and some dense woodland.
boasts having one of Malawi's largest elephant population, which can often be
seen bathing on the rivers edge along with the Hippos. Large concentrations of
sable antelope, as well as kudu, duiker and oribi can be found in the Mopane
bush. The plains are home to waterbuck, reedbuck, other antelope as well as
lion. Birds are abundant, including the more common species such as fish eagle,
jacana, white bellied cormorant and the rarer Lilian's lovebird.
best time to visit this park is in the dry season, during the rains the park is
often closed and if it is open you will need a 4x4 and even then many roads
could be impassable. The park can be reached by boat from Liwonde barrage
throughout the year.
Mvuu Lodge &
The main camp in this riverine park, and is ideally situation on
the bank of the Shire River in the northern park of the park. Various forms of
semi-luxury accommodation are on offer, ranging from chalets, walk-in tents,
small dome tents, or you can camp in your own tent. There are facilities for
self catering and a camp restaurant where breakfast, lunch and dinner are
Near the park entrance is Chiunguni Cottage run by the
National Park and there are several other places around Liwonde offering basic
MAJETE WILDLIFE RESERVE Map
The Majete Wildlife Reserve lies in the South Western area of the country, to
the west of the Shire River. It spans an area of approximately 700km²,
with low hills mainly covered with brachystegia woodland, with denser patches
of forest along the river.
After years of heavy poaching
African Parks Network took over management in 2003. Since
than a lot has changed. The Reserve is completely fenced, has over 250 km of
good roads, has a very professional Law Enforcement team and is restocked with
over 4,000 animals including, elephant, rhino, buffalo, zebra, eland,
hartebeest, kudu, nyala, waterbuck, impala, warthog, hippo et cetera. The big
cats have been reintroduced; cheetah and leopard with Lion due to be
reintroduced end August 2012.
This now makes the Majete Wildlife
Reserve the only park in Malawi to home the BIG 5.
The park is also
appreciated for the Shire River, especially the Kapichira Falls, which are
situated close to the park entrance.
It is a wilderness area where bird
watching is very favourable and, provided you are escorted by a game scout, you
are allowed to walk around.
Thawale Camp is situated inside the park, with a view on a waterhole. The camp
has luxury tented chalets with own bathroom and can accommodate 12 persons. The
overnight stay includes dinner and breakfast. Camping is possible at the
Community Campsite. Facilities include communal area with bar, but only
Day Southern Malawi Highlights Tour
This tour will take you to the
southern Malawi's highlights, visiting Mulanje Mountain, safari in Majete
Wildlife Reserve and relaxing on beach at Cape McClear
LENGWE NATIONAL PARK Map
Lengwe National Park lies within the lower Shire Valley about 50kms south of
Blantyre and bordering to the west with Mozambique. The natural vegetation of
the area is mixed woodland and grassy dambo although much of the
surrounding area has been turned into a sugarcane plantation.
probably most famed for the nyala antelope, not found in the other northern
parks of Malawi. Other antelope, such as bushbuck, impala, duiker and kudu are
found here as well as warthogs, monkeys and baboons. Unfortunately, poaching
has taken it's toll in this park and along with the dense vegetation sightings
of animals is harder than in some other parks.
The only place to stay in the
park is the main camp situated about 1km from the entrance gate, where you can
either stay in a chalet or pitch your own tent. Self catering facilities and
cooks, if required, are provided. Although there is a small grocery store,
supplies can often be low so it's advisable to bring supplies with you.
MWABVI GAME RESERVE
Mwabvi Game Reserve covers
an area of only 350km² and is Malawi's smallest park. It is located on
Malawi's southernmost tip and borders with Mozambique. It is the country's
least visited game reserve and is rugged, isolated with a terrain of low hills
supporting a mixture of brachystegia, mopane and acacia woodland.
This is another park to have suffered greatly at the hands of poachers, large
game is rarely seen, but various kinds of antelope, and lion, baboon, monkey,
and a variety of birdlife can be found. There are no elephant found here but to
make up for it the scenery is spectacular with views over the Shire and Zambezi
Access can be restricted due to poor road conditions and a
4x4 is advisable particularly in the raining season.
Mwabvi Camp lies about 10kms
from the entrance gate on the north bank of the Mwabi River . It has a couple
of basic rondavels but you needs bring your own bedding as well as full food
supplies. Camping is allowed at the camp and water and firewood are
Project African Wilderness
PAW was set up by two
dedicated individuals, one in Malawi and one in the UK, to save the Mwabvi
Wldlife Reserve in southern Malawi.
If you want to know more about
Malawi's National Parks contact:
Tourism, Parks and Wildlife Private Bag 326, Murray Road,
Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Tel: +(265) 781073 Fax: +(265)
780650 E-mail: email@example.com