Malawi and Zambia
Best of Malawi and Zambia Tour

Malawi and Zambia – Best of Malawi and Zambia Tour – a 15 day Small Group Tour.

Some countries are just made for each other. Malawi and Zambia are good examples. Offering superlative game viewing, exceptional guides and great lodges, Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park is a headline destination.

The subtler appeal of Malawi includes dramatic mountains, one of Africa’s greatest lakes, resurgent wildlife, and some of the world’s most genuinely hospitable people. A first visit to Malawi is never a last visit.

This tour succeeds in creating a rich cocktail of experiences, mixing people, culture, wildlife and relaxation in just the right proportions.

This tour combines many of Malawi’s unique and attractive areas and the strong community involvement and interaction is a key aspect to the tour.

Game viewing in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, one of Africa’s best National Parks is an added attraction. There are opportunities for walking and hiking for more active travellers, and this a well balanced tour, suitable for families and individuals alike.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


Arrive in Lilongwe and transfer to lodge accommodation. An introduction and tour briefing will be held before dinner. Overnight at Mafumu Lodge. (D)

(Approximate driving time: six hours)

Today we depart Lilongwe and travel to the Mchinji border crossing where, having completed formalities, we continue into Zambia. It’s two-and-a-half-hours from the border to the Luangwa Valley – Mfuwe sector. En route we stop for a picnic lunch and expect to reach our lodge by mid-afternoon. We use one of three lodges in Luangwa, Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. All lodges are of a similar standard and offer a good 2-star experience. Each chalet is en-suite with comfortable beds, mattresses and bedding, and large walk-in mosquito nets.  In each case there’s a restaurant, bar and a swimming pool. Game drives into South Luangwa National Park utilise open 4WD safari vehicles and are led by qualified guides with an intimate knowledge of the park and its fauna and flora. Overnight at Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (B, Picnic Lunch, D)

The best times to view wildlife are early morning and late afternoon – game drives coincide with these periods.  After breakfast there’s time to relax in camp. However, further guided game walks may be arranged locally. Overnight at Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

As well as today’s game drives, there’s an opportunity to visit a community project showcasing textiles produced by local tribes people. Overnight at Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

By now you’ll be in tune with the bush. Today’s morning and afternoon game drives will explore areas not previously visited, perhaps attempting to see species not already encountered. Further guided game walks may be arranged locally. Overnight at Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

After breakfast we depart for Malawi’s Dzalanyama Forest Reserve. Our route crosses the border, heading south east towards Mozambique. We arrive early afternoon and explore surrounding forest or take an optional hike into the Dzalanyama Hills. The track passes through miombo woodland, home to a profusion of colourful birdlife. Please note that the number of en-suite rooms is limited and guests may be allocated a room with shared bathroom facilities. Overnight at Forest House, Dzalanyama Forest. (B, Picnic Lunch, D)

Today we visit a community that live just outside the reserve. Here, there’s the opportunity explore the village and meet the inhabitants. We’ll eat local food, sample some village brews and glimpse life as a rural Malawian. The visit is a genuine opportunity for cultural exchange and not in any way contrived. Malawian people are justifiably known for their friendliness and generosity, a view reaffirmed by this visit.  We return in time for evening sundowners followed by dinner.  Overnight at Forest House, Dzalanyama Forest. (BLD)

A leisurely start to the day allows time to explore one of the numerous surrounding forest trails. Walks can be as strenuous or as easy as you like. Alternatively, relax by the stream or on your veranda. Overnight at Forest House, Dzalanyama Forest. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: six hours)

After breakfast we leave for Malawi’s Shire Highlands, taking a scenic route parallel to the Mozambique border, passing through the commercial capital, Blantyre. There are several interesting stops en-route, including rock paintings, viewpoints and roadside market stalls.  Accommodation for tonight is at a lodge within a private game park, bordering indigenous forests and grasslands of the Shire Highlands. Wildlife includes kudu, roan, eland, sable, giraffe, zebra, and prolific birdlife.  As the sun sets, enjoy a drink in the Victorian-style bar, followed by dinner. Overnight at Game Haven Lodge, Malawi. (BLD)

The highlands of southern Malawi are known for tea production, and after breakfast we visit Satemwa Tea estate, and participate in a tea tasting workshop. Satemwa is one of the only independent estates in Malawi, producing a variety of white, black, gold and flavoured teas. After the tasting we have lunch at Huntingdon House, the former home of the owners. After lunch it’s a short drive and walk up into the estate to Thyolo Mountain – a wonderful site with excellent views of the Lower Shire Valley. For keen birders the surrounding forest is home to the endangered and endemic Thyolo Alethe.  In the mid-afternoon we return to Game Haven to relax around the pool, go walking, mountain biking or even to enjoy a round of golf. Overnight at Game Haven Lodge, Malawi. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: six hours)

It’s impossible to visit Malawi without including Lake Malawi – the Lake of Stars. The drive from the Thyolo passes the dramatic mountains of Zomba Plateu, and in the town of Zomba we call in at the market before crossing the Shire River at Mangochi. Following the lakeshore northwards, we arrive at Cape Maclear (Chembe), named by 19th century explorer David Livingstone, in mid-afternoon. There’s time to enjoy a sundowner while relaxing on the beach. Here, we again stay in one of three lodges – Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Mac Lodge or Annie’s Lodge. Each lodge offers en-suite chalet accommodation situated on the beach and in an area enabling easy exploration of the surrounding village. Overnight at Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Mac Lodge or Annie’s Lodge. (BLD)

Today is free to relax on the beach, perhaps taking advantage of a variety of non-motorised watersports. Alternatively, explore the local village, walk into the surrounding mountains, or visit nearby historic missionary graves. Overnight at Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Mac Lodge or Annie’s Lodge. (BD)

This morning embark on a full day on the lake. We will board a catamaran and sail around the islands for a full day stopping off at one of the islands with snorkelling and kayaking opportunities, and a picnic lunch.  Return to the mainland in time for a sundowner followed by dinner. Overnight at Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Mac Lodge or Annie’s Lodge. (B, Picnic Lunch, D).

(Approximate driving time: four hours)

Depart for the drive to Mua Mission; Mua is the site of the KuNgoni Centre of Culture and Art.  It provides insights into the history and culture of Malawi through the Chamare Museum, the Carving Centre and the new Research Centre/Library. The museum describes the Chewa, Ngoni and Yao cultures, their rites of passage, their interaction with one another and their encounters with Islam and Christianity. It also holds a unique display of Gule Wamkulu masks, texts and images and dances can be arranged. It is home to a thriving community, including an arts and crafts centre whose students create Malawi’s finest wood carvings and who go on to make a living from their own handiwork throughout Malawi. After this, it’s a one- hour drive to our overnight stop. Overnight at Blue Waters. (B, Picnic Lunch, D)

(Approximate driving time: one-and-a-half hours)

Today we co-ordinate our departure to arrive in Lilongwe in time for your return flight or onward journey. (B)

Mapped itinerary.

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Malawi and Zambia - Best of Malawi and Zambia Tour Map

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well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

Please note that tour dates for 2023 are still provisional and may change by a day or so.

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 2 travellers. You may be joined by travellers from companies other than Undiscovered Destinations.

Single Supplement from £415 – £445.

Return flights from London to Lilongwe start from around £530. Please contact us for a quotation.

Airport transfers are included in the tour price if you are arriving on the first and departing on the last day of the tour, or if you stay before or after the tour at the same hotel being used by the group.

Please contact us for prices for pre and post tour accommodation.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements.

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All accommodation
  • Transport in private vehicles
  • Services of an English speaking guide
  • National park fees
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas (Double entry for Malawi – $150 and single entry for Zambia – $50)
  • Drinks
  • Tips (discretionary)

We had a fantastic time. The lodges were all as good as we had expected and the guides superb. The wildlife was above and beyond what we had hoped for. Thank you for a great holiday.


Laura Hermitage, UK