Tailored from £4,500 per person excl. flights
13 days Blantyre, Mulanje, Zomba, Liwonde, Cape Maclear
13 days Blantyre, Mulanje, Zomba, Liwonde, Cape Maclear
Boasting some of Africa’s most awe-inspiring scenery, Malawi is a hidden gem for hikers and rock-climbers and this itinerary features Malawi’s finest off-grid spots for an unforgettable adventure.
Start by immersing yourself in Malawian culture at Fisherman’s Rest, just 20-minutes out of Blantyre, where you’ll get involved with community initiatives set up by this reputable not-for-profit organisation for two days. After, you’ll ascend to Mount Mulanje for a night to rest at Likhubula Forest Lodge before a three-day hike through rocky peaks, verdant valleys and thunderous waterfalls, finishing on a sunrise summit at Sapwita.
Following your descent, rest your legs as you drive up the ‘oasis in the sky’ to Zomba Plateau for a horseback safari in search of rare butterflies, orchids and raptors. Enjoy a candle lit cosy evening next to a crackling fire and a good night’s rest before venturing into the bush the next day, arriving into Mvuu Camp by boat. You’ll stay in a safari tent for the next two nights on the banks of the Shire river, with wildlife coming and going as it pleases.
Finish your trip off channelling your inner islander and escape to Mumbo Island to adopt a no-news-no-shoes way of life for two nights. Perfect for a pair of intrepid explorers, this itinerary is crafted to satiate the lionhearts amongst us.
On arrival into Malawi you will meet your guide and enjoy a private transfer south-west of Blantyre to Fisherman’s Rest, taking around an hour.
Set on a private nature reserve within a beguiling 500-acre forest with spectacular vistas towering the Great Rift Valley, Fisherman’s rest is a reputable family-run community programme that’s been operating since 1997. The lodge itself is comfortable and there is a pool overlooking views of Great Rift Valley to cool off in.
Their vision is to see the districts surrounding Fisherman’s Rest grow to raise living standards, education and economic vitality. Whether it’s tree planting, repairing water pumps or building classrooms, there are plenty of fun and life-changing projects to get stuck into at Fisherman’s Rest. It’s the perfect way to commence your Malawian adventure as it there is no better way to experience Malawi than to live alongside local people at a grassroots level.
You’ll stay here for the next two nights and your project work will be assigned upon arrival as it is situationally dependent.
After a leisurely morning and breakfast, you will be picked up for your private transfer to Mulanje, taking approximately 2-hours.
Likhubula Lodge is an old colonial house perched on the slopes of Mulanje with cosy character and warm hospitality. It’s the perfect spot to rest for one night before embarking on your three day hike up Mount Mulanje.
The next morning you will commence your three-day, 46km hike, summiting Sapitwa. You’ll climb through tunnels, walk under waterfalls, swim in ice-cold mountain water, under curving trees and witness the most awe-inspiring views across southern Malawi.
You will stay overnight in mountain huts with no electricity or solar power, so it’s back to nature with meals cooked over a fire, evenings alight with candles and bucket showers. Enjoy a simple but tasty dinner by the campfire, and you may even get a glass of wine to drink with your guide. Wake up to a cup of warm coffee, hot oats and eggs on toast before a day of hiking.
On your final day, you will wake very early for your ascent to Sapitwa for sunrise. Pack warm because it is very cold at the top, but so worth it for the unrivalled views all the way to Mozambique where you’ll be higher than anybody else in Central Africa.
Enjoy your last breakfast on Mulanje Mountain before descending back to Likhubula for your private transfer to Zomba Plateau of around two hours, arriving in time for a late lunch. You will stay at the cosy Zomba Forest Lodge for one night where you will have the chance to rest after your three-day hike.
Surrounded by pine trees, winding streams and diverse wildlife including baboons, giant butterflies and raptors, as well as amazing rare orchids and stag horn lilies, it’s the perfect place to rest your legs and saddle up for a horseback safari with your private local guide.
This evening, soak up the romantic candle lit atmosphere next to a crackling fire and tuck into an excellent, home-cooked three course dinner before retiring to bed.
After breakfast you will check out of Zomba Forest Lodge for your private transfer of around 2.5-hours to Liwonde National Park, where you will float into Mvuu Camp by boat.
Set on the banks of the Shire river, Mvuu Camp is an enchanting setting for those wishing to explore one of Malawi’s best safari destinations. Between boat and 4x4 safaris, you will see some incredible displays of wildlife, so keep your camera ready. Be on the lookout for the majestic sable antelope, greater kudu, elephant, and raptors like fish eagles and Pel’s fishing owl, all congregating around the Shire life source. Be sure to ask your guide about the successful conservation work happening in the park after decades of habitat destruction and poaching.
Return to your lodge for a sundowner, spotting exotic birds and wallowing hippos on the veranda before tucking into a three-course delicious dinner under the thatch.
You’ll stay here for the next two nights in an en suite safari chalet. In between safari activities you can enjoy lounging by the pool or take a cultural trip to nearby communities which can be organised with your guide or the lodge manager.
Wake early today to a cup of hot coffee before embarking on a morning safari walk through Liwonde National Park. You’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide and armed scout and you’ll learn all about tracking animals using tracks and dung with the advantage of going where vehicles cannot. Keep an eye out for warthogs, monkeys, interesting insects and larger mammals like zebra, elephants and rhino.
Return to your lodge for breakfast and relax in these unspoilt tranquil surroundings before heading out on your evening game drive. The guiding in Liwonde is some of the best in Malawi and completely tailored to you. This means you can decide whether you would like to do a 4x4, boat or walking safari and your local guide is happy to oblige.
This morning after your morning activity and breakfast, you will check out, be picked up and driven the approximately 2.5-hour drive to Cape Maclear. After arriving at the Kayak Africa House, you can relax and wait for your 15h00 scheduled dhow to Mumbo island across Lake Malawi. After navigating for around an hour, you will arrive to a white sandy beach with just six en suite reed ‘tents’, a restaurant, bar and lounge.
Mumbo Island is a barefoot luxury camp with a handful of ‘tents’ perched high on rocks built of reeds, timber, thatch and canvas. Enveloped by the ‘lake of stars’, Mumbo Island is completely isolated, with activities centred around the biodiverse marine reserve. It’s a simple life on Mumbo, you’ll wake to pastel sunrises streaming in through your windows, with fresh coffee and homemade biscuits at your tent. Spend your days eating delicious fresh food prepared on-site in between kayaking, snorkelling, Scuba diving and beachcombing. Whether you want to spend your days adventuring or sit idle on the beach with a good book, you’ll certainly leave Mumbo invigorated and with unforgettable memories.
After a leisurely morning and breakfast, you will check out and board the dhow back to the mainland at 09h30. Upon arrival, you will be met for your private transfer to Kamazu International Airport, taking around 3.5-hours.
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Throughout your Special Interest Malawi holiday, we have cherry picked the most ethical and eco-friendly accommodation possible. Your stay at Fisherman’s Rest directly raises living standards in local communities and environmental sustainability whilst giving you a culturally rich experience and a real taste of Malawi. It doesn’t get eco-friendlier than Mulanje Mountain Huts, Zomba Forest Lodge and Mumbo Island, which are truly off-grid and exemplify the perfect stay for those seeking an authentic back-to-basics experience with the least impact on the environment.
Malawi is an impoverished and densely populated country, and the people living around the national parks have limited choices for making a sustainable livelihood. Majete and Liwonde nature reserves are a significant driver of the local economy and a major employer in this area once rife with poaching and habitat destruction. As tourist numbers have increased in Malawi, there has been a surge in conservation initiatives resulting in blooming wildlife, as well as an increase in the quality of schooling and healthcare surrounding the reserves.