Real Malawi Safari (15 days)

Big Game Viewing in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley and Active Exploring in Southern Malawi

Designed to get under the skin of the country to reveal the real Malawi, this trip focuses on the diversity of experiences available in southern Malawi. After spending time assisting with project work at Dzalanyama Forest Reserve a few days are then spent big game viewing in one of Zambia’s premier parks – South Luangwa. Returning to Malawi we head south passing tea plantations to walk on Mount Mulanje. Next we drive to Lake Malawi National Park to relax, kayak, boat or snorkel and spend a night on an island. This is an active safari staying in a variety of local-style accommodation with some camping.


Duration 15 days / 14 nights Tour Starts Lilongwe airport
Exclusivity Group (or private tour) Tour Ends Lilongwe airport
Accommodation Camping & clean 2 star Prices From  £1,865 pp (see below)
Operating Season March to December Departures  Monthly or on request


Day 1 – Tour starts in Lilongwe

Arrive Lilongwe and transfer from airport to lodge. Your guide will meet everyone at the lodge for introductions and a tour briefing at 1800 PM. Dinner will be served after the briefing (own expense). Land and Lake will arrange airport transfers on this day as and when needed. Overnight Korean Garden Lodge in executive rooms including breakfast.

Day 2 – Lilongwe to Dzalanyama Forest Reserve

After last minute arrangements and shopping depart for Dzalanyama Forest. We drive south east from Lilongwe to Dzalanyama mountain range (approx. 2 hour drive) to arrive at the forest lodge in time for lunch. After lunch we take a walk up Mtsongololo Mountain. The track takes us through the endemic forests where there is a profusion of miombo birdlife. We return back to the lodge as it gets dark. Overnight Dzalanyama Forest Lodge with all meals.

Day 3 – Project Day at Dzalanyama School

After breakfast we visit the local school where our project will take place. This is geared towards what the school requires. Dzalanyama School has been the recipient of charitable donations since the owner of Dzalanyama Forest Lodge won the concession to operate the lodge in the area. Included in your tour price is a financial donation to the school to pay for this project work and to assist them with whatever they need – be it painting work, repairs, replacement of school materials etc.  Your guide will indicate what needs to be done and achieved in the day. Return to the lodge after project work. Overnight Dzalanyama Forest Lodge with all meals.

Day 4 – Dzalanyama to Luangwa Valley (Zambia)

Depart from the lodge at 0900 AM and continue to Mchinji (1.5 hour drive) where we complete immigration formalities and continue into Zambia. From the border it is a short drive to Chipata, Zambia’s capital of the Eastern Province, then on a dirt road to Luangwa Valley and into the Mfuwe sector. A picnic lunch is enjoyed en route and we plan to arrive at the camp mid-afternoon. Here we stay at the Thornicroft tented campsite – a simple campsite with shared ablution facilities. On arrival and after check in there is time to relax around the bar, have a swim or enjoy tea and coffee overlooking the lagoon. Dinner is included tonight. 4 nights Thornicroft Tented Campsite on full board basis.

Days 5 to 7 – Game viewing in South Luangwa National Park

After an early morning wake up call we have a light breakfast of tea, coffee, cereal/porridge and toast then depart for game drives. Our aim is to be on our first game drive by 0615 AM. Game drives are conducted in the open-sided safari vehicles of the camp. Drinks and snacks are taken along for your enjoyment whilst in the park. Depending on game sightings we return to the lodge at 1100 AM for a scrumptious “brunch”. After an afternoon rest we again head out for an afternoon drive at around 1600 PM, returning to the lodge at 2000 PM. In the evening we enjoy dinner and a night drive (South Luangwa is renowned for night drives and this activity is included in your safari). A powerful spotlight is used to spot nocturnal creatures.

Day 8 – South Luangwa to Dedza (Malawi)

After a more leisurely start to the morning and a good breakfast we pack up and depart back to Malawi. Departure time is around 0900 AM. We travel via Lilongwe again and continue southwards to Dedza. A picnic lunch is eaten en route and arrival time at Dedza Pottery Lodge is mid-afternoon. Depending on the time of arrival the remainder of the day can be spent in the pottery factory perhaps trying your hand at creating your own pot or we can visit the nearby local ancient bushman painting site. Overnight Dedza Pottery chalets with dinner and breakfast.

Day 9 – Dedza to Mulanje

This morning there is time for a tour of the pottery workshop before we depart for Mulanje via Blantyre. Our journey from Blantyre takes us past the scenic Thyolo Tea plantations then onto the plains. We arrive at our chalets late afternoon. 2 nights at Likhubula CCAP Chalets with all meals included.

Day 10 – Optional hiking on Mount Mulanje

For the hikers, it’s a 7 hour climb up Mount Mulanje to a mountain hut. The scenery is stunning, following a stream up the mountain. Hiking is within the capabilities of a reasonably fit walker with the chance to spend the night in a mountain hut. For non-hikers it’s a day of exploration. Visit the lower slopes or take a short hike into one of the fascinating valleys at the foothills.

Day 11 – Mulanje to Lake Malawi Marine National Park

This morning the hikers walk down the mountain in the early morning to arrive back at the lodge for breakfast. After this we depart and drive to Cape Maclear on Lake Malawi. En route we pass the historical Mangochi town and follow the lakeshore northwards. Cape Maclear peninsula hosts, on one end, the Lake Malawi Marine National Park. This was the first fresh water Marine park created in the world. Here we stay in chalets that are right on the beach. Overnight Chembe Eagles Nest with dinner and breakfast.

Day 12 – Optional kayaking or boat to Domwe Island on Lake Malawi

After breakfast we transfer to Kayak Africa Base camp and here we are familiarised with the kayaks and equipment. The protected waters of the National Park bring sea kayaking within reach of anyone, irrespective of fitness or experience. The two-person kayaks are large and stable and the guides are local residents with an intimate knowledge of the area. Guests with a sense of adventure have the option of kayaking out to Domwe Island from reception on the beach accompanied by a Kayak guide. Those not wanting to kayak out to the island will be transferred by boat. The remainder of the day is your own to explore the island on foot, by kayak or snorkel to explore the underwater wonders (snorkelling equipment can be hired locally). Or simply relax on the beach whilst enjoying refreshing drinks served ice cold from the bar. Overnight at Domwe Island Camp in tents with shared ablutions. All meals provided.

Day 13 – Return to Cape Maclear from Domwe

After a very leisurely start to the day with breakfast and a swim we paddle or transfer by boat back to the mainland. Arrival on the mainland is before lunch. We then transfer back to the lodge. The remainder of day is spent exploring Cape Maclear village, enjoying a sunset sundowner sail or relaxing on the beach. Overnight Chembe Eagles Nest with dinner and breakfast included.

Day 14 – Cape Maclear to Mua Mission

We say farewell to Cape Maclear and travel 3 hours by road to Mua Mission Cultural Centre. On arrival we visit the cultural museum and craft workshop. Mua Mission is the Ngoni cultural epicentre in Malawi and the mission station has encouraged a unique and fascinating art style. Local artists practice on site and a visit here gives visitors valuable insight to the culture of the people. There is a possibility to watch a cultural dance in the evening however this depends on numbers of guests wishing to participate. Overnight Kungoni Cultural Centre in chalets with dinner and breakfast.

Day 15 – Transfer to Lilongwe airport

After breakfast it is an easy 3 hour drive to Lilongwe airport in time for your onward flight connection. Departure is timed to coincide with your onward journey time.

Prices, Departures & Essential Booking Information

Prices £1,865 pp (two sharing a room). Fixed dates. Minimum group size is 4. Maximum 16
  Please enquire for a private/exclusive departure on any date. Minimum group size is 2.
Single Supplement £t.b.a
Included This is a guided small group safari and includes all transport from and back to Lilongwe, accommodation and meals as indicated in itinerary, game drives, hiking guide on Mount Mulanje, entrance fees to Mua Mission Museum and Lake Malawi Park plus services of a safari guide.
Excluded Flights, drinks, meals not included in itinerary, visa (Zambia US$50 pp) and vaccination fees (if applicable), game park fees (Luangwa US$75 pp), travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Booking Deposit 20%
Balance of Payment 70 days before start date
Price Validity to 31 Dec 2016
Group Departures Operating season is from March to December.  Monthly departures, dates on request.
International Flights Specialist Africa is licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and holds ATOL No. T10190.  If you would like a quotation for international or domestic flights to connect with this trip please get in touch.
Financial Protection As Specialist Africa is a fully bonded member of the Travel Trust Association (TTA) all prices include TTA supplier failure insurance cover and safe seat plan insurance to ensure your monies are 100% secure when booking through us.
Travel Insurance Travel and cancellation insurance is mandatory for all clients. Specialist Africa’s travel insurance partner is Campbell Irvine, experts in providing insurance specifically tailored to travel in Africa. See our insurance page for rates and further details.

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