Best of Malawi and Zambia

Best of Malawi and Zambia

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 15 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


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 Duration – 15 Days

Tour Rating

Fitness ●●●○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●○ | Culture ●●●○○ | History ●●○○○ | Wildlife ●●●●●

Tour Pace


Tour Highlights                                                                         

  • A well balanced small group tour, ideal for the first time visitor.
  • Game viewing - In search of big game in one of Africa’s most unspoilt and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
  • A tour with strong community involvement and interaction.
  • Optional hiking.
  • Lake Malawi - take an optional activity or relax on the shores of the last of the Great Rift Valley lakes.

Tour Essentials 

Accommodation: Mix of lodge, chalets and tented camps
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum of 12 (you may be joined by travellers from companies other than Undiscovered Destinations)
Start Point: Lilongwe – please arrive before 15:00 on Day 1
End Point: Lilongwe – you can depart any time from 13:00 on Day 15
Transport: Minibus and safari vehicles
Countries: Malawi and Zambia

Tour itinerary notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.


Day 1 – Join the tour in Lilongwe, Malawi

Arrive in Lilongwe. Transfer from the airport to the lodge. Your guide will meet everyone at the lodge for introductions, and a tour briefing at 18:00, after which dinner will be served. Overnight Mafumu Lodge, Lilongwe. (D)

Day 2 – Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Depart Lilongwe and travel on to Mchinji, where we complete immigration formalities and continue into Zambia. From the border it is another 2.5hrs to Luangwa Valley - Mfuwe sector. A picnic lunch is enjoyed en route and we expect to reach our lodge in the mid-afternoon. We use one of 3 lodges in Luangwa, namely, 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 ensuring you have the best nights rest possible, whilst being safely tucked inside your large walk in mosquito net.  The restaurants serve good wholesome meals, whilst tea and coffee is available throughout the day. The bar serves a selection of drinks. And you can enjoy the swimming pool. Game drives are undertaken in specially modified 4X4 open safari vehicles led by a qualified guide with an intimate knowledge of the park and its fauna and flora. (270km, 6hrs journey time). Overnight Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

Day 3 - Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Morning and afternoon game drives. All lodges have open game drive vehicles, en suite accommodation, good food and a pool to relax by during the midday break. Optional game walks can be arranged locally. Overnight Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

Day 4 - Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Morning and afternoon game drives. All lodges have open game drive vehicles, en suite accommodation, good food and a pool to relax by during the midday break. Optional game walks can be arranged locally. Overnight Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

Day 5 – Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Morning and afternoon game drives. All lodges have open game drive vehicles, en suite accommodation, good food and a pool to relax by during the midday break. Optional game walks can be arranged locally. Overnight Marula Lodge, Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

Day 6 – Dzalanyama Forest, Malawi

After breakfast, depart for Dzalanyama Forest. We turn off and head South East before Lilongwe and drive towards Mozambique.  Arrival is early afternoon. After checking into our chalets a walk into the surrounding forest and up Mtsongololo Mountain is offered. The track takes us through the endemic forests where there is a profusion of miombo birdlife. Return back to the lodge as it gets dark. Please note that the number of en-suite rooms is limited and you may be allocated a room with shared bathroom facilities. (230km, 5 hrs journey time). Overnight Forest House, Dzalanyama Forest. (BLD)

Day 7 - Dzalanyama Forest, Malawi

Today is a community visit day. We visit the community that live just outside the reserve - you have the opportunity to walk through the village, meet the locals, learn how to pound maize, we will eat some local food, drink some local brews and get a glimpse of what life as a rural Malawian is like.  The Malawian people are known for their friendliness and this will certainly reaffirm this view - this visit is non-staged and as authentic as living in the country is.  Return to the house in the evening for sundowners followed by dinner.  Overnight Forest House, Dzalanyama Forest. (BLD)

Day 8 - Dedza, Malawi

From Dzalanyama head southwards to Dedza.  Arrive in the area mid-morning and our first stop is the rock paintings. It’s a walk up to the site (allow up to 2hrs) - picnic lunch on return from the paintings, and then we drive to Dedza Pottery. A tour of the pottery workshop is offered. Mid-afternoon we arrive at our overnight lodge.  For those that wish, an afternoon sunset excursion up Dedza Mountain is available.  Mapiri Lodge has eight rooms. All rooms are en-suite, have mosquito nets, TV and phone.  There is a large comfortable lounge and bar serving drinks. Overnight Mapiri Lodge, Dedza. (BLD)

Day 9 – Game Haven Lodge, Malawi

Breakfast then it’s a scenic drive through Malawi, along the Mozambique border and through the commercial capital of Malawi; Blantyre, until we reach our accommodation. There are a number of interesting stops en-route, including rock paintings, viewpoints and roadside market stalls. Game Haven is a serene, beautiful game park and lodge set in the indigenous forests and grasslands of the Shire Highlands of Southern Malawi. Experience exceptional wildlife viewing that includes kudu, roan, eland, sable, giraffe, zebra, and a prolific birdlife.  As the sun sets, enjoy a drink in the Victorian styled bar followed by dinner. Overnight Game Haven Lodge, Malawi. (BLD)

Day 10 – Game Haven Lodge, Malawi

After breakfast we explore the area. A highlight will be a walking tour of the world recognized Satemwa Tea estate, followed by a tea tasting workshop. They produce a variety of white, black, gold and flavoured teas. After the tasting, return to the luxurious Huntingdon House where we will have a superb lunch. After lunch it’s a short drive and walk into the estate and to Thyolo Mountain - a wonderful picnic site with an excellent view of the lower Shire Valley. For keen birders the forest surrounding this picnic site is home to the rare and endemic Thyolo Alethe.  Mid-afternoon, return to Game Haven to relax around the pool, walking, mountain biking or even a round of golf. Overnight Game Haven Lodge, Malawi. (BLD)

Day 11 – Cape Maclear, Malawi

Drive to Lake Malawi - Cape Maclear. En-route we pass Zomba and visits to the vibrant Zomba Market is offered, then cross the Shire River, through the historical Mangochi town and follow the lakeshore northwards. Arrival at Cape Maclear is mid-afternoon with time to enjoy a sundowner whilst relaxing on the beach. Here we again stay in a choice of 3 similar lodges - Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Mac Lodge or Annie's Lodge - depending on availability. Each lodge offers en-suite chalet accommodation, nicely situated on the beach and in an area to enable easy exploration of the surrounding village. (280km – 5hrs journey time). Overnight Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Mac Lodge or Annie's Lodge. (BLD)

Day 12 - Cape Maclear, Malawi

Day at leisure to enjoy the beach, including use of non-motorised watersports. Or explore the local village, walk into the surrounding mountains, or visit historical graves. Overnight Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Mac Lodge or Annie's Lodge. (BLD)

Day 13 – Kayaking Safari, Domwe Island, Lake Malawi

This morning we prepare for our Kayaking experience. Transfer to Kayak Africa Base camp and here we are familiarised with the kayaks and equipment and then set off for the island. The protected waters of the National Park bring sea kayaking within reach of anyone, irrespective of fitness or experience. The two-person kayak is stable and allows easy paddling. For those not wishing to paddle, it is possible to go by powerboat to the island. Arrival at Domwe Island camp is before lunch with the remainder of the afternoon free to explore the island and surrounds by kayak, walking, swimming and snorkelling. Overnight Island Tented Camp. On the island there are only a limited number of en-suite chalets and some clients will be staying in non en-suite dome tents. En-suite chalet preference will be given to those clients that did not have en suite facilities at Dzalanyama (Days 6 and 7).  Overnight tented camp, Domwe Island. (BLD)

Day 14 – Kuti Wildlife Reserve, Malawi

Paddle back to the mainland (or return by boat) then drive about 2.5hrs 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 also 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.  Kuti is a stunning 2,000 hectare reserve located just outside the town of Salima. The habitat ranges from Brachystegia and Miombo woodland through to grasslands, wetlands and marshes, making it a haven for wildlife, including mammals like Sable, Zebra and Impala.  Afternoon game drive, walk or cycle ride.  Overnight Kuti Wildlife Reserve. (BLD)

Day 15 – Tour ends in Lilongwe, Malawi

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

Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation
Private road transport
Services of an English speaking guide
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees listed as part of the itinerary

International flights
National Park Fees ($75 payable locally in USD)
Items of a personal nature
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance
Tips (discretionary)