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Return of the BIG 5 to Malawi

Malawi has successfully overcome decades of poaching and land misuse to become Africa’s newest BIG 5 wildlife destination. This is largely in part to an innovative series of conservation and restocking efforts that have resulted in some of Africa’s best managed and least crowded national parks. These programs have been so successful, the Telegraph recently named Malawi “Africa’s Next Big Safari Destination”. 
Malawi’s 12 protected areas include five national parks, four wildlife reserves and three sanctuaries (all in an area the size of Pennsylvania!). Animal numbers are on the increase. More rangers are being hired every day, alongside the opening of many new eco-friendly camps and lodges. And the best part? Malawi’s parks are astonishingly good value. If your clients are hungry for Africa, blow them away with a destination they may know little about, but will never forget.

Nyika National Park

At over 1,200 square miles in size, Malawi’s largest national park is home to high densities of leopard, zebra, elephant, buffalo, roan, eland, hyena, and reedbuck, as well as 200 species of orchid and over 400 bird species! Nyika contains one of Africa’s finest examples of montane plateau landscape, offering drastically different climates depending on the topography.

Majete Wildlife Reserve

In the late 1980s and 1990s, poaching was rife and, by 1992, not a single elephant remained in Majete. Today, it’s home to 260, and wildlife is thriving again. Over 3,000 animals have been reintroduced into this 270 square mile park making it one of the best wildlife destinations in Malawi. Leopards returned to Majete in 2012 for the first time in nearly two decades. Black rhino are once again breeding here and lions have been translocated from South Africa, making Majete a BIG 5 destination once more.

Liwonde National Park

Many consider this 224 square mile national park to be the jewel in the crown of Malawi’s game viewing offering. Elephant, rhino, buffalo, hippo, sable antelope, impala, reedbuck, oribi and leopard all call this park home and it’s no wonder why. The park’s impressive landscapes and the stunning Shire River winding through its western border make this one of the most beautiful spots in Africa.

Lengwe National Park

Located right on the border with Mozambique, Lengwe has previously suffered greatly from poaching but today is the most northerly habitat of the nyala, along with various other antelope species that call the park home. Birdlife is abundant with the highlights being the black-and-white flycatcher, barred cuckoo and bush-shrike.

Sundowners on Lake Malawi

The highlight for most guests is experiencing an awe-inspiring Lake Malawi sunset by boat.  Out on the water, sun downer in hand, you will witness an unforgettable event as the sun gently dips below the low lying Nkhotakota hills in the distance. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day on a private island in Lake Malawi National Park.

This article was written by the Malawi Department of Tourism.

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Kirsty Perring

Africa Experts Product Manager – Although British born and now Toronto based, Kirsty grew up in South Africa and is completely passionate about all things Africa. She finds it hard to choose a favourite destination, but lists Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana as some of the most special places she has visited, and feels it’s not just about where you go and what you see, but who you get to experience it with. Kirsty is always up for an adventure and will try anything once. As such, she has para-glided in South Africa, zip lined in Mauritius, dived the Red Sea, hot air ballooned in Egypt, and even swam in the Okavango Delta. Next on Kirsty’s bucket list is to climb Kilimanjaro!

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