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After flying into Blantyre, you’ll be met and transferred to the outstanding Majete Wildlife Reserve which encompasses some 70,000 hectares and makes up part of the iconic Great Rift Valley. This undiscovered reserve is regarded as a model of sustainable development and is also the only place in the country where all of the Big Five are present.
You’ll be staying on a private concession within the reserve, at a lodge beautifully situated at the confluence of two rivers. From this charming base, you’ll head out alongside experienced guides to explore the region’s lush riverine forest, valleys and miombo woodlands that together shelter species like leopard, lion, buffalo, eland, sable, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, zebra and the endangered black rhino. Enjoy a combination of river cruises, walking safaris and game drives.
Stay: Three nights at Mkulumadzi Lodge – full board
Today you’ll make another road transfer, this time to Thyolo and your colonial-style hotel on the family-owned Satemwa Tea Estate – one of Malawi’s most respected tea and coffee producers dating back to 1923. Surrounded by manicured gardens and rolling tea fields, you’ll have time to fully unwind and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the estate. Days are at your disposal, with the option to do as much or as little as you like. Tea tasting, walking trails, coffee tours, mountain biking and excursions to Mount Mulanje are all on the menu.
Stay: Two nights at Huntingdon House – bed & breakfast
On the seventh day of your holiday you’ll travel by road to the incredible Liwonde National Park, an internationally-renowned wilderness area. The enormous Shire River runs along the western boundary of the park and serves as a gathering point for the region’s wildlife, whilst the rest of the landscape is dominated by floodplains, palm savannah and baobabs. Though relatively small, Liwonde is home to a prolific number of wildlife including crocodiles, baboons, vervet monkeys, bushbuck, lion, leopard, elephants and various antelope. Night drives will reveal nocturnal creatures such as serval, mongoose, civet and genets.
You’ll also have the chance to set out on an on-foot rhino tracking excursion, an unmissable opportunity to learn more about these endangered creatures whilst contributing to conservation projects. Village visits can also be arranged for those looking to get an insight into the local culture. Alternatively, you can simply relax in the comfort of your tent and observe as hippos, elephant, antelope and waterbuck meander down to drink from the lagoon.
Stay: Two nights at Mvuu Lodge – full board
Days 9 – 11. Lake Malawi
Today you’ll be transferred by road to your modern beach lodge overlooking the crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi – a place dubbed by David Livingstone as ‘The Lake of Stars’. With panoramic views and direct access to the beach and water, you can be sure of a truly relaxing stay.
The lodge offers its guests an array of activities on the lake including sailing, water-skiing, kayaking, swimming and wakeboarding, in addition to laidback fishing expeditions, you can take walks or bike rides to local villages and community centres – a great way to interact with the local people.
Stay: Three nights at Pumulani Lodge – full board
Your final stop in Malawi is the capital city, Lilongwe, which you’ll reach via road transfer. You’ll spend one night in the city before boarding your flight back home the following day.
Stay: One night at Latitude 13 – bed & breakfast
Today you’ll fly to Johannesburg where you’ll connect with a British Airways flight back to London Heathrow, arriving in the early morning.
What was particularly impressive was the way in which Catherine listened to what we like to do and combined all of this in a destination we would not have considered - a truly terrific effort.- OL, Caribbean