12 PLACES TO GO FOR THE BEST SAFARI IN AFRICA
How do you choose the African safari destination that's right for you? Read our in-depth guide to discover where you should go for the best safari.
Amongst the hilly topography of southern Malawi lies the warm city of Blantyre. Often described as Malawi’s unofficial capital of the country, Blantyre was named by Scottish missionaries after the Scottish town and David Livingstone’s birthplace.
It’s not only steeped in cultural heritage sites, wildlife reservations and some of Malawi’s best bars and restaurants, but it’s also the perfect base to venture out to Majete, Michiru, Zomba and Mulanje nature reserves, all within a 1.5-hour drive.
Majete, with its bountiful wildlife population including the ‘Big Five’, is just a 1.5-hour drive from Blantyre and is a must for your Malawian safari. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life in Blantyre and enjoy a private vehicle and guide for a day trip to Majete for a bush lunch and game drive or boat safari.
Just over an hour’s drive from Blantyre and nestled in the base of Michiru Mountain, you’ll find one of the oldest tea estates in Malawi: Satemwa. A day or two will take you back in time with its colonial feel and diverse scenery. Enjoy tea tasting over a slice of freshly baked cake, with magnificent views of Mount Mulanje and the Lower Shire valley to the west.
For the coffee lovers, you can take a guided walk through the wild coffee fields and sip on a fresh roast as an afternoon pick-me-up. For adventurous travelers, mountain bikes are available to hire for you to explore the 105 miles of dirt roads and paths through the Thyolo Mountain forests.
You’ll find the privately owned Chimwenya Game Park under an hour’s drive away on the outskirts of Blantyre. As one of the last remaining indigenous forests and grasslands of the Shire Highlands of Southern Malawi, Chimwenya is home to giraffe, zebra, the ‘Big Six’ antelopes, as well as prolific birdlife. For the anglers, Lake Bvumbwe is well stocked for fishing.
Visit the sky high oasis of Zomba Plateau from Blantyre, just 1.5 hours away. Enjoy a day trip with a private guide to search for the viewpoints that offer vistas over southern Malawi that are so spectacular they were described in colonial times as “the best in the British Empire”.
Explore Zomba with your local guide by 4x4 vehicle, bicycle, horseback or by foot along the mountain trails, searching for giant butterflies, raptors, rare orchids and the elusive leopard.
The best time to visit Blantyre is from May to September, as temperatures are moderate and dry, allowing for good game viewing and comfortable temperatures. However, local temperature varies with altitude and the Shire Highlands and Mount Mulanje can experience low temperatures at this time, so warm clothes are advised. October to April brings the rain which makes outdoor activities challenging and flood risk.