Malawi has been nominated as an awards finalist in the Best African Tourism Board in Africa category in the 2012 Safari Awards. One of Africa’s most picturesque and compact countries, Malawi is in good company with other finalists in the group including safari industry giants of South Africa, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia.
This is a second time nomination for Malawi, which is becoming an increasingly popular choice for independent travellers, honeymooners and families. Renowned for its lake, wildlife experiences, beaches, water-sports, landscapes and culture, Malawi is also attributed with a relaxed ‘bare foot’ luxury appeal.
Over the last twelve months Malawi’s tourism industry has been boosted by significant investment from a number of sources. The country’s natural attributes, and quality tourism products has led to increasing support from high profile operators and accommodation providers such as Robin Pope Safaris and Saga.
In Malawi’s lower Shire Valley, the Majete Wildlife Reserve has been the focus of much industry and media attention, the 70,000 hectare reserve has been an on-going conservation success story with over 2550 head of wildlife, including elephant, buffalo, sable and black rhino.
This year the conservation project has culminated with the re-introduction of predators, including the successful release of four leopards. In August the reserve will become the proud recipients of four lions from South Africa, completing the return of the Big Five, a significant milestone in the rehabilitation of the reserve.
In the east of the country, around $850,000 is being invested by The World Bank into the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to conserve and protect wildlife, develop strategies to drive sustainable tourism, and train staff in guiding and natural resource management.
The vast and breathtakingly beautiful 700sq miles of Nkhotakota’s is the third largest protected area in Malawi and one of the least known. The investment is expected to boost visitor numbers and interest in the region.
In addition to investment in wildlife, Malawi is benefiting from improvement to its infrastructure with better airlinks being established. In June, Ethiopian Airlines introduced an improved summer schedule from London Heathrow to Lilongwe, three flights a week from LHR will operate via Addis Ababa and another three operating via Addis and Lubumbashi.
Kelly White, Managing Director of the Malawi Travel Marketing Consortium commented:
“We are thrilled with this industry recognition, and indeed with the growing interest that Malawi is now rightly receiving as a destination, this is a credit to all our partners that we have worked so hard over the years. We are also delighted to see Kaya Mawa, on Likoma Island nominated in the ‘Best Beach Safari’ category and wish them the best of luck.”