Wildlife Group Tour

Malawi Group Tour - Conservation Safari with African Parks

10 days

from £5,695pp
  • Explore Malawi and learn about the work of African Parks
  • Meet the park managers at three parks, gaining insights into their work
  • Cruise on the Shire River in Liwonde and spot the Big Five in Majete
  • Track radio-collared cheetahs in Liwonde National Park

Explore Malawi and learn about the work of African Parks. Begin in Majete, Malawi’s most established park, then continue to the beautiful riverine landscape of Liwonde. Finish in the forested hills of Nkhotakota, the site of the largest wildlife translocation of modern times.

 Begin in Blantyre, a short distance from Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi's most established park. Bordered by the Shire and Mkulumadzi rivers, this Big-Five park has been under African Park's management since 2003. Here, stay at the beautiful Mkulumadzi with its views of the Shire River and explore on foot and by 4x4. Meet Craig Hay, park manager, and learn about the history of the park. Also meet the highly effective anti-poaching team and discover the challenges they face.

Afterwards, drive a few hours north to arguably Malawi's most beautiful national park, Liwonde. Here, wildlife is drawn to the hippo-packed Shire River, with large herds of elephants often spotted roaming its banks. Away from the river, drive across through thicket and over savannah, dotted with termite mounds and fever trees. Spot various antelopes, including roan and sable. Meet the park's manager, Craig Reid, to learn more about this beautiful ecosystem and its history. Accompanied, by Craig, track the recently introduced cheetahs, which are radio-collared. 

Finish by flying north to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, acquired by African Parks in 2015 and once a park devoid of wildlife. Thanks to one of the largest animal translocations of modern time, it is a park reborn with a bright future. Meet Sam Kamoto, the inspiring park manager in charge of Nkhotakota. Learn about all that has happened, as well as African Parks' vision for the future. Also have the chance to visit one of the community projects bordering the park. 

Afterwards, head home or have the chance to relax on a beautiful island on Lake Malawi.

Departing on:
  • 7th August 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
7th Aug 2019 16th Aug 2019 £ 5,695 £ 700 £ 675 Derek Macpherson Available

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Arrive in Blantyre. Meet Derek and the rest of the group.

Drive from Blantyre to Majete Wildlife Reserve (Road Journey)

Under the management of African Parks, Majete is a rags-to-riches success story that acts as proof of what can be done in Africa, when local communities and sound wildlife management principles collaborate.

Situated in the Lower Shire Valley, in the south west of Malawi, Majete is approximately one and a half hours from Blantyre and three hours from Lake Malawi. The Shire River forms the park's eastern boundary, with the Mkulumadzi River cutting through the north-east corner.

Low thicket covers the park, interspersed with small gullies, sandy openings and the occasional larger tree, including palms. By the river, the landscape is more open - a mixture of rocks and sand, bordering short grasses. This verdant environment is a haven for herbivores; it is packed with waterbucks, impalas, nyalas and greater kudus.

The park is also home to the Big Five, thanks to reintroduction of lions and rhinos by African Parks. Whilst sightings are never guaranteed and populations are still small, Majete can lay claim to being the only Big Five park in Malawi.

You will be staying at Mkulumadzi Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 2

African Parks in Majete
Majete has not always been a prolific safe haven to wildlife. In the late nineties, the reserve once renowned for its vast animal numbers reached a nadir from which many conservationists thought it could not be saved. Elephants were completely eradicated and the few species of animals that did remain were reduced to critical numbers. Illegal encroachment, agriculture and hardwood logging were all taking their toll on Majete’s precious resources and drastic measures were required if Majete was to be restored.

Enter African Parks, who in partnership with the Malawian government and local communities, took responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of the reserve. With an overhaul of Majete’s infrastructure and law enforcement, Majete was given a secure platform from which to begin a sustained program of wildlife restocking.

In the first 10 years of African Parks’ management, nearly 3,000 animals were reintroduced to Majete. These can be seen flourishing today, with the park going from strength to strength - even now being used to restock neighbouring reserves.

You will be staying at Mkulumadzi Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 3

Full Day of Wildlife Activities
Explore Majete National Park on guided walks, game drives, night drives and river trips.

You will be staying at Mkulumadzi Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 4

Drive from Majete Wildlife Reserve to Liwonde National Park (Road Journey)

Liwonde is stretched along the Shire River, south of Lake Malawi. The riverine landscape of the Shire dominates the western side of the park, with hippos seen in huge numbers. Birds flock to this permanent water source and cormorants roost in the trees, staining them a strange white colour with their droppings.

Away from the river, the landscape changes. Low thicket intersperses mopane forest, which then opens up on to fertile grasslands that are dotted with huge termite mounds. On the horizon to the west, the Rift Escarpment rises upwards and the sun sets on this every evening. The plains and thicket are filled with antelopes, including sable and roan, whilst large elephant herds roam the park.

A number of species have been reintroduced to Liwonde, with rhinos returning first in the 1990s. These were more recently followed by cheetahs, then lions. Although spotting these animals is still tricky, their return is significant for Liwonde’s future.

You will be staying at Mvuu Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 5

African Parks in Liwonde
African Parks took over management of Liwonde in 2015. Given the park’s sizeable elephant population and its proximity to local communities, the initial priority was fencing the park, reducing the risk of human-wildlife conflict. This was rapidly achieved and the security and stability that this has brought have allowed African Parks to focus on returning predators to the park.

The initial reintroduction of cheetahs in 2017 was followed by reintroducing lions in 2018. With elephants and rhinos already present, the park is now home a significant number of iconic and endangered species. Furthermore, its healthy and growing populations of elephants and antelopes have also been used to restock Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, during a huge translocation exercise in 2016 and 2017.

You will be staying at Mvuu Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 6

Days in Liwonde
Explore Liwonde National Park. Set out on game drives, night safaris, game walks and boating safaris. Also, visit the rhino sanctuary.

You will be staying at Mvuu Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 7

Travel from Liwonde National Park to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve (Air Transfer Journey)

The Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve sits on the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment. Hilly and covered in dense miombo woodland, this beautiful park is bisected by two permanent rivers that flow into Lake Malawi. The tree-covered hills are dotted with occasional grassy openings and seasonal river gullies, whilst the south-west of the park is dominated by Chipata Mountain - a peak home to Afromontane forest and blue monkeys.

In spite of this beautiful landscape, for many years, the park was left almost unprotected and vulnerable to poachers. Once home to large populations of lions and elephants, Nkhotakota was almost devoid of large mammals by the turn of the millennium. Recently, however, things have begun to change, with the reintroduction of key species.

You will be staying at Tongole Wilderness Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 8

African Parks in Nkhotakota
African Parks took over management of the reserve in 2015, ending decades of non-existent law enforcement and rampant poaching. Quickly, they restored the park's infrastructure and started to protect its boundaries, paving the way for the recovery of its wildlife. In 2016, one of the greatest animal translocations of modern times began.

During 2016 and 2017, more than 500 elephants and 1,200 other large herbivores, including various antelope species, were translocated to the park. This huge project marked a key milestone in Nkhotakota's road to recovery, increasing the elephant population tenfold in just over a year and transforming the ecosystem.

Despite this incredible success, Nkhotakota still faces huge long-term challenges. New road networks need to be created, fencing needs to be completed and the animals need to adjust to the environment.

You will be staying at Tongole Wilderness Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 9

You will be staying at Tongole Wilderness Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 10

Drive from Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to Lilongwe (Road Journey)

Depart Malawi or chose to extend with some time on the beach.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Mvuu Lodge

Mvuu Lodge

Stretched along a shallow lagoon that lies off the Shire River, Mvuu Lodge is positioned in the north of Liwonde National Park....

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Mkulumadzi Lodge

Mkulumadzi Lodge

Located in the Majete Wildlife Reserve, Mkulumadzi offers guests a chic and contemporary retreat set amidst rugged and untouched bush land....

View Accommodation

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Overlooking the Bua River in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Tongole Wilderness Lodge is true to its name....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Malawi

Bridget Cohen, Travel Expert

"Bridget had a great knowledge of the areas being looked at and given I have spent time in both countries, it required someone who completely understood the type of camps preferred."

"Bridget's service was very personal and friendly whilst maintaining a professional manner. All my questions were dealt with promptly and efficiently."

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Jackie Devereux, Travel Expert

"Every part of our trip was the highlight and it is not possible for us to point out just one thing, event or place."

"However, we received a magnificent surprise of a helicopter ride between camps in Botswana which meant a flight over the delta and an opportunity to see the delta and how it is formed. It was a wonderful surprise organised by Jackie and we were both absolutely overjoyed with the opportunity. I do not believe that there was more that could have been done as we had a magnificent trip."

"Jackie was excellent- she listened and was very knowledgeable."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Lecturer

Derek Macpherson

A qualified pilot, Derek Macpherson has long been involved in conservation in Malawi, prior to African Parks’ arrival in the country in 2003. Since then, he has worked closely with African Parks, helping to conduct aerial surveys and taking part in darting operations across the country. Extremely knowledgeable on Malawi and its parks, he is also a keen student of African history.
Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 4 / Max 6

Tour Expert:

Derek Macpherson

Departure Date (S):

  • 7th August 2019

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