Best of Malawi and Zambia

Best of Malawi and Zambia

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 15 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers


Day 1 – Join the tour in Lilongwe

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 – Drive to Dzalanyama Forest

After breakfast depart for Dzalanyama Forest. We drive South East from Lilongwe to the Dzalanyama mountain range; about a 2 hour drive. Arrive at the Forest Lodge in time for lunch. After lunch take a walk up Mtsongololo Mountain. The track takes us through endemic forests where there is a profusion of miombo birdlife. Return to the lodge as darkness falls. Overnight Forest House, Dzalanyama Forest. (BLD)

Day 3 - Dzalanyama Forest – School Project

Today is a project day for those who wish to participate although this is not compulsory.  The project is geared towards the school’s requirements at the time. Dzalanyama School has been the recipient of our local partner’s charitable interests since they won the concession to operate the lodge in the area some 13 years ago. Included in the cost of your tour is a financial donation to the school to pay for this project work or materials to assist with whatever they need, be it building work, painting, repairs, replacement of school materials etc. Our partner will co-ordinate this aspect and your guide will indicate what needs to be done and achieved in the day. Return to the Lodge after project work. For those not wishing to participate, your guide will suggest drives or walks in the area that offers excellent photo opportunities and the possibility to spot some elusive wild animals. Lunch is served, and everyone meets again at the lodge in the evening for sundowners, followed by dinner. Overnight Forest House, Dzalanyama Forest. (BLD)

Day 4 - South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Depart Dzalanyama and travel via Lilongwe then on to Mchinji, 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 onto a dirt road to Luangwa Valley - Mfuwe sector. A picnic lunch is enjoyed en route and we expect to arrive at our accommodation mid-afternoon.

The Wildlife Camp - operating since 1992 the camp has built up its well-earned reputation as one of the best camps of South Luangwa National Park. Accommodation is in rustic, but comfortable chalets with views over a lagoon or the Luangwa River. Facilities at the camp include a restaurant which overlooks a drinking-hole where wildlife can often be seen. The camp also has a bar and swimming pool. Wi-fi is also available.

Thornicroft Lodge - named after the endemic giraffe species, has 9 comfortable en-suite stone, wood & canvass chalets all set overlooking the Luangwa River. Each chalet is designed to give you unrestricted views of the area. Luxurious beds, mattresses & bedding ensuring you have the best nights rest possible, whilst being safely tucked inside your large walk in mosquito net. The restaurant serves good wholesome meals, whilst tea and coffee is available throughout the day. The bar serves a selection of drinks for all occasions and the lounge and swimming pool remains a popular “chill out” area especially during the hot summer months.

Game drives at both The Wildlife Camp and Thornicroft Lodge 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. You will you enjoy your safari in comfort and style, whilst ensuring your game viewing experience, is memorable and rewarding. Overnight The Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

Day 5 - South Luangwa National Park

After an early morning wake up call, we have a light breakfast of tea / coffee, cereal and toast with preserves; then depart for the game drive. Our aim is to be on our first game drive by 6.15am. Game drives are done in the camp’s open safari vehicles, to optimise your pleasure and experience. Drinks and snacks are taken along for your enjoyment whilst in the park. Depending on game sightings, we return to the Camp at 11am for brunch. An afternoon rest then we again head out for our afternoon drive at around 16:00 - returning to the camp at 20:00 for dinner. Later we leave on a night drive. Luangwa is renowned for the night drives and this is included in your safari. - a powerful spotlight is used to spot nocturnal creatures that frequent park. Overnight The Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

Day 6 - South Luangwa National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives. Overnight The Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

Day 7 - South Luangwa National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives. Overnight The Wildlife Camp or Thornicroft Lodge. (BLD)

Day 8 – Dedza, Malawi

Our route back to Malawi, with a stop at the Luangwa Project and Tribal textiles and a picnic lunch en route to Dedza.  Arrive early afternoon with time to look around the bushman paintings, before reaching our overnight lodge. Mapiri Lodge has eight rooms and two self-catering suites. All rooms are en-suite, with a shower or bath, are attractively furnished, have mosquito nets, TV and phone. There is a large comfortable lounge and bar. Overnight Mapiri Lodge, Dedza. (BLD)

Day 9 – Mulanje

Morning tour of the pottery workshop, then depart for Mulanje via Blantyre. Our journey from Blantyre takes us past the scenic Thyolo Tea plantations and onto the plains. Likhubula CCAP cottages are perfectly situated to explore the mountain.  Each cottage has 2 rooms with a bathroom, kitchenette and lounge. Meals will be prepared onsite by your guide and staff.  Overnight Likhubula CCAP cottages, Mulanje. (BLD)

Day 10 - Mulanje

After breakfast we explore the mountain. Your guide will discuss the various hikes available; these vary from 1.5 to 6 hours, returning to the cottages for your overnight stay. Non hikers will have the option to visit Mulanje town and perhaps a tea estate. Overnight Likhubula CCAP cottages, Mulanje. (BLD)

Day 11 – Domwe Island, Lake Malawi

Drive to Lake Malawi - Cape Maclear. En route we pass Zomba and the historical Mangochi town following the lakeshore northwards. We will reach Cape Maclear and the Kayak Africa Base Camp just after lunch. Here we familiarise ourselves with the kayaks and equipment and then set off for Domwe Island. The protected waters of the National Park bring 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, with a boat leaving at 15:00. Spend the remainder of the day exploring the island and surroundings by kayak and swimming / snorkelling. Overnight Domwe Island Camp. (BLD)

Day 12 - Cape Maclear

After a very lazy start to the day with breakfast and a swim we paddle or transfer by boat back to the mainland arriving before lunch. Transfer just down the beach to the lodge on the lakeshore. The remainder of day is spent either exploring Cape Maclear village, or relaxing on the beach. Overnight Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Maclear. (BLD)

Day 13 – Cape Maclear

Day on the beach at leisure - non motorised water sports are included.  Overnight Chembe Eagles Nest, Cape Maclear. (BD)

Day 14 – Kuti Wildlife Reserve

This morning we take a 2 hour drive to Mua Mission. Mua is the site of the KuNgoni Centre of Culture and Art, established in 1976 by a Canadian missionary Fr. Claude Boucher Chisale. Fr. Boucher has dedicated his life to researching, recording and preserving Malawian culture. The Centre has grown from an art co-operative to a vibrant cultural centre. 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. Mua works to preserve the local cultures and has the country’s best cultural museum. It is presently 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 visiting Mua it is a one hour drive to our overnight accommodation in Kuti, 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 large mammals like Sable, Giraffe, Zebra and Impala, and a host of other animals. The reserve is run by the Kuti Trust, which is a non-profit organisation working to protect wildlife and conserve the environment by working together with the local communities.  All income generated from tourism is put back into the project and also helps to fund community micro-projects such as borehole maintenance and afforestation. Overnight Kuti Wildlife Reserve. (BLD)

Day 15 – Tour ends in Lilongwe

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