Luangwa & Malawi Adventurer
You will be met by our representative on arrival before your adventure truly begins and you depart on your journey to Zambias' South Luangwa National Park.
South Luangwa is one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, the concentration of animals around the Luangwa River, and its oxbow lagoons, is among the most intense in Africa.
The Luangwa River is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life-blood of this park. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. The ‘walking safari’ originated in this park and is still one of the finest ways to experience Africa’s pristine wilderness first-hand. The changing seasons add to the Park’s richness, ranging from; dry, bare bushveld in the winter, to a lush, green wonderland in the summer months.
There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species in South Luangwa National Park. The only notable exception is the rhino, sadly poached to extinction. With about 400 of Zambia’s 732 species of birds appearing in the Park, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migrant species, there is plenty for the birdwatcher to spot, whatever the season. Some magnificent trees and plants grow in the Luangwa Valley, including many exotic wild flowers which are sure to keep the botanist happy!
16 Days - Lilongwe - South Luangwa - Lilongwe - Mount Mulanje - Zomba Plateau - Liwonde National Park - Lake Malawi - Lilongwe
Day 1 - Lilongwe - South Luangwa National Park
Croc Valley Camp
Days 2 and 3 – South Luangwa National Park
Set on the banks of the picturesque South Luangwa River and the riverine forest the camp is deliberately inconspicuous so as to retain the natural beauty of the surroundings and encourage wildlife to roam freely.
Croc Valley Camp is completely environmentally friendly and built from local natural products. It sits on stilts providing a fantastic viewpoint from which to see the wildlife that wanders through the camp while still encapsulating that rustic luxury. An abundance of wildlife such as elephants, monkeys, hippos and a wide variety of antelope often pass through the camp and can be seen most days from the safety of the shaded rondavels, the bar, restaurant, chalets and tents.
You have two full days to further explore South Luangwa.
The following two days will start with breakfast at the camp followed by an early morning game drive.
You will return to camp for lunch and then have the afternoon at leisure. You can relax in the swimming pool or have a siesta, before getting ready to head back into the park for an afternoon / night game drive.
You will return to camp each evening in time for dinner.
Day 4 – South Luangwa – Lilongwe
Day 5 – Lilongwe – Mulanje Mountain
Croc Valley Camp (as Day 1)
Today, you leave the wilderness behind and make your way back towards Lilongwe. You will leave after breakfast and should expect to arrive in Lilongwe in the late afternoon.
En-route, there will be an opportunity to visit Tribal Textiles, a business that was started in 1991 and today employs over 100 people. The unique hand-painted textiles make great souvenirs of your time in Africa and the knowledge that you are also benefiting the local community by supporting their activities just adds to the experience.
Kumbali Country Lodge
Your accommodation for the night will be at the tranquil Kumbali Country Lodge. Kumbali Country Lodge is a private lodge, situated on a 650 hectare forest reserve and dairy farm land. Only 10 minutes from the capital city, Lilongwe, along a quiet traffic-free road, the lodge is relaxed, informal and incredibly peaceful.
It’s an early start this morning, after breakfast, you will get straight on the road for the journey to the fantastic Mulanje Mountain.
The scale of this truly magnificent mountain has to be seen to be appreciated. Its bare rock flanks tower to almost 10,000ft, dwarfing all that surrounds it. Whilst some may want to drive around the foot of the mountain, the best way to explore is on foot, which is what you will be doing tomorrow! For those that do not want to take on the hike, you can stay at the lodge and enjoy some of the gentler walks on offer.
After settling in to your accommodation there is time for a short walk or drive to the Blue Lagoon pools, before returning to your lodge for a well-deserved dinner.
Day 6 – Mount Mulanje
Located on the southwestern foot of Mount Mulanje, Lujeri Lodge is a converted old style management house on one of the colonial tea plantations that were synonymous with this area. The lodge has a classic charm, incredibly friendly staff and is set in stunningly beautiful gardens with the mountain as its backdrop.
After breakfast you will start out on your 2 day trek of the stunning Mulanje Mountain.
Day one will be a slow walk, but quite a challenging one; it will take in the region of five hours. The route is stunning and there are some wonderful vistas to take in. There are also several waterfalls and rock pools along the way – perfect places to stop for a swim!
Some of the walk is very hard work, so there will be regular rest stops and a lunch break to help break up the hike.
Day 7 – Mount Mulanje
Madzeka is situated in the south-east of the Mulanje plateau and dates from 1966. It is built above a very attractive stream with waterfalls and pools for swimming. There are two rooms, one with a fire, and sleeps up to 12 people. Accommodation here is very basic as you would expect from a mountain hut! While at the camp you are free to explore the area, swim in the rock pools nearby or just relax and appreciate the surroundings.
Today’s hike is slighter shorter and should take in the region of four hours. It is a flatter route than yesterdays, but again, it is not an easy hike and there will be regular stops and swimming opportunities on the route!
Minunu is the smallest of the Mulanje huts, but has recently been extended to include a second room to provide a good amount more sleeping space. Perched in grassy surroundings above an attractive stream with splendid bathing pools, it has views of Ruo Gorge to the south and good access to Nakodzwe Peak to the north-west.
Day 8 – Mount Mulanje – Zomba Plateau
Day 9 – Zomba Plateau
Day 11 – Liwonde National Park
Malawian Style Cottage
Day 10 – Zomba Plateau – Liwonde National Park
After breakfast you will start heading to Zomba Plateau.
Zomba Plateau is a magnificent table-top mountain covered with forests, streams and waterfalls. The mountain rises to around 6,000ft and has vast tracts of cedar, pine and cypress. The plateau top is criss-crossed by streams and there are tumbling waterfalls and still lakes. There are driveable tracks right round the top from which are views of such splendour that they were described in colonial times as "the best in the British Empire". The flora and fauna of Zomba is breath-taking, giant butterflies, baboons, mongeese, civets, long-crested eagles and buzzards are just a few examples of what you might see here.
The journey will only take a couple of hours, so you will arrive at your cottage in time for lunch.
It’s up to you how you spend your time here, Zomba is a fantastic location to go cycling, horse riding and hiking, or alternatively, just relax with a gentle stroll in the refreshing mountain air.
A full day to enjoy the cool air of the Zomba Plateau.
Malawian Style Cottage (as Day 8)
After breakfast you will make your way to Liwonde National Park.
Liwonde is Malawi’s premier game-viewing destination so it’s time to keep your eyes peeled. The park is dominated by the vast Shire River, which acts as a magnet for wildlife and provides haven for hippo pods and crocodiles.
There are a whole variety of animals to be found here, including Malawis largest population of elephant, sable antelope, impala, waterbuck, reedbuck, warthog, kudu, yellow baboon, pangolin, monitor lizards, leopard, and vervet monkeys. Lions are reported to have taken up lodgings in the park in the last few years, but sightings are rare.
The centre of the park contains a sanctuary that is being used to protect species that are trying to be reintroduced into the park – these include rhino, buffalo, roan and eland.
Liwonde is a bird lover’s paradise and reportedly has the best year-round bird watching in Central and Southern Africa. This is not only due to the sheer number of species found at the park, but also because ‘specials’ such as Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Spur-winged Lapwing, Lillian’s Lovebird and the rare Brown-breasted Barbet can easily be spotted.
There are a whole host of ways to explore the flora and fauna of Liwonde, either on a morning, afternoon or evening game drive, on foot with a guide, on a bicycle or, our favourite, from a boat on the Shire River.
Mvuu Camp is situated close to the lagoon in the north of the park, and blends easily into the dense surrounding vegetation.
The camp accommodates guests in a mixture of stone and thatched en-suite chalets, or tented rooms that share toilet facilities. It also has a thatched dining and lounge area that has a great view of the river and therefore the multitude of animals that come down to drink, bathe or lounge on the warm riverbanks.
Day 12 – Liwonde – Lake Malawi
Day 13 – Lake Malawi
A full day to enjoy the delights of Liwonde.
Mvuu Camp (as Day 10)
After breakfast you will leave Lilongwe and head to Malawi’s most famous destination – Lake Malawi. The rest of your trip is all about relaxing and enjoying the marine world!
Your journey this morning will take you to Cape Maclear. Cape Maclear is a small fishing village on the edge of Lake Malawi, and is the perfect spot form which to get your first glimpse of the main attraction. You can either kayak out to the stunning Mumbo Island or take the boat for a 45 min trip – we thoroughly recommend the kayak! Mumbo Island is a pristine and deserted tropical island floating on the expansive waters of the Lake Malawi National Park. With a maze of massive underwater boulders, innumerable species of colorful cichlid fish and calm, clear water, the National Park offers what many consider the best freshwater snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the world.
Mumbo Island Camp accommodates a maximum of fourteen guests, features tastefully furnished tents with shaded decks, hammocks, hot bucket showers and eco-toilets, complemented by a dining area with a bar and a watersport gazebo. The whole camp is built of timber, thatch and canvas, and is perched on high rocks overlooking the water, sitting seamlessly amongst the lush foliage creating an atmosphere of rustic charm. All of the furnishings in the lodge have been sourced locally or are made in the surrounding villages ensuring that the camp retains a traditional ‘Malawi’ feel. The island is located within an exclusive concession area which guarantees its privacy.
Another day to take things easy and relax, or to explore the underwater world of Lake Malawi.
Mumbo Island (as Day 13)
Day 14 – Lake Malawi
After breakfast you will head back toward the charming village of Cape Maclear and your accommodation that is located right at its centre!
You can continue to make the most of the Lake and its water based activities including snorkelling, kayaking and water-skiing, or spend some time on land exploring the village and picking up some souvenirs.
Malawian Style Cottage
Set in the heart of the village, the Malawian Style Cottage is the perfect base from which to indulge in the highlights of Lake Malawi, whist also enjoying the attractions of Cape Maclear itself.
Day 15 – Lake Malawi
Day 16: Lake Malawi - Lilongwe
Another day to enjoy Lake Malawi and Cape Maclear.
Malawian Style Cottage (as Day 14)
After breakfast you will start to make your way back to Lilongwe International airport for your onwards journey.
© ecoTravel Africa 2011