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Places of Interest in Malawi

Southern Sky Adventures: Places of Interest in Malawi

Capitol is Lilongwe

Cape Maclear

Cape Maclear is a town situated on the Nankumba Peninsula on the southern shore of Lake Malawi and is the busiest resort on Lake Malawi. In 1859, the missionary and explorer David Livingstone found the Cape, and named it “Cape Maclear” after his friend, the astronomer Thomas Maclear, who was the Astronomer Royal at the Cape of Good Hope. Today Cape Maclear is one of the most beautiful and popular locations in Malawi – a stunning beach on the turquoise shores of the lake, encircled by granite boulders and woodland that hums with the heat of the sun. Many activities are available: visitors can kayak out to one of the nearby islands, dive with otters, or just laze around on the beach.

Cape Maclear is a “a leading tourist destination” and is the busiest resort on Lake Malawi. The area is popular with backpackers. There are bars, restaurants, lodges and guesthouses in the town. Activities available in Cape Maclear include snorkeling, hiking, boat cruises, kayaking, and diving. In October 2001, the Malawian government invited investors to fund a $6,000,000 construction of a new 150-room, four-star hotel at Cape Maclear. In June 2003, plans were announced to build an ecolodge on Maleri Island, near Cape Maclear. And in February 2005, the Malawian government announced plans to increase ecotourism at Cape Maclear with new accommodation and facilities.

Kasungu National Park

In the west of Malawi, and bordering Zambia, is Kasungu National Park(KNP) , an 800 square mile area of natural woodland and bush with occasional stretches of more open grass. Poaching has reduced the number of some species of animals but there is still of wildlife to be seen. Elephants and antelopes are common, as are small herds of buffalo and zebra. Predators include leopards, hyenas, servals and jackals. There is a significant number of hippos in the lake at Lifupa and, as elsewhere in Malawi, the birdwatcher is well catered for.

Lake Malawi National Park

Lake Malawi National Park (LMP) was founded in the early 1980’s, to provide some safe breeding grounds for the unique Cichlid fishes of Lake Malawi. The park includes a land area around a bay, some forests on the midland, Lake Malawi itself and its islands.

Lake Malawi itself, the third largest in Africa and the eighth largest lake in the world, is located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. This lake is also the second deepest lake in Africa, but its placid nature at its northern shore gives no hint of its depth. This great lake’s tropical waters reportedly are the habitat of more species of fish than any other lake on the Earth.

LMNP is the most important freshwater fish sanctuary in Africa and it was the first park in the world to give protection to the marine life of a tropical deep water, Rift Valley Lake.

Here there is the opportunity for diving and snorkeling that provides a very different kind of African safari, since the lake contains a veritable aquarium of tropical and almost tame fish providing a colorful and vibrant display.

The fish will eat directly from the hand and some fish here are found no-where else on earth. Diving and snorkeling here is a unique experience – most divers promising they will return to repeat the experience!

Lengwe National Park

Lengwe National Park (LNP) is 350 sq miles. The vegetation is thicket, with some deciduous woodland and more dense tree growth along the stream courses. The eastern area is quite flat, allowing for a good and well marked network of drivable tracks. To the west the level rises and low hills, outcrops of sandstone, break the skyline.

LNP is quite arid outside the rainy season and many of the water courses become dry sandy channels. This aids game viewing because it forces the animals to use the few pools that are permanent supplies of water. There are hides and man-made pools in the eastern area of the park just a short distance from the main gate. The advantage of the hides is that one may see a mix of wildlife together at the water-hole. Though there are predators in the park in the form of leopards and hyena, it is antelope which will be more often seen.

Likoma Island

One of the most isolated and beautiful destinations in Malawi is Likoma Island, in the northern region of Lake Malawi. With breathtaking views of the mountains and wilderness of Mozambique, Likoma remains almost untouched since its discovery by Scottish missionaries at the end of the nineteenth century. Beyond the Baobab Plains, at the southern tip of the island, lies a crescent shaped beach of fine golden sand surrounded by mango trees.

Lake Malawi is the premier freshwater diving experience in the world, boasting 80% of the world’s tropical freshwater fish, and Likoma and Chizumulu Islands are widely regarded as having the best dive sites in the lake, serviced by our fully operational PADI dive school.

Liwonde National Park

Although only 220 square miles, Liwonde National Park (LNP) is perhaps the most popular of all the game parks. It is only 60 miles from the hotels on the southern lakeshore. Additionally, game viewing is enhanced because the River Shire flows along its western border.

Wildlife includes quite large numbers of elephants and the river attracts countless hippos and crocodiles. Antelope include kudu, sable and bushbuck. There are lions and leopards and, more recently, the black rhino has been re-introduced. Birdlife is exceptionally varied. The river attracts fish eagles and weaver birds build their nests in the thin woodland. Pel’s fishing owl is often seen at dusk along the river’s edge.

Majete Wildlife Reserve

The Majete Wildlife Reserve (MWR) can be found in the Lower Shire Valley. Majete has been under new management since 2003 and in a few years the park has changed a great deal. Many animal translocations have taken place with 7 black rhinoceroses, 228 elephants, over 450 buffalo and many waterbuck, sable antelope, nyala, zebra, Liechtenstein’s hartebeests, kudu, and many more species. Currently over 4,000 animals are roaming the 175,000 acre reserve, making MWR a unique well-balanced eco museum.

Since 2008 the whole reserve has been surrounded by an electrified perimeter fence. Big cats will be introduced in 2011, starting with cheetahs and then lions and leopards will be back in MWR.

The Kapichira Falls offer one of the most astounding views in Malawi, with water crashing over rock formations formed thousands of years ago. Beautiful sedimentary and metamorphic patterns can be found in the architecture of the rock.

Nyika National Park

Nyika National Park (NNP) is Malawi’s largest park with an area of no less than 1,250 sq miles. It extends across the great plateau which is essentially a granitic dome and its environment is like none other in the whole of Africa. The name, Nyika, means “where the water comes from” and it is, indeed, one of Malawi’s most important catchment areas. The rolling scenery is at its best in the rainy season when over 200 types of orchid are in flower. The grasslands of Nyika are rich in wildflowers in other seasons.

Nyika is wonderful for trekking, mountain biking and horse riding safaris, as well as more conventional 4×4 excursions. The montane vegetation attracts large numbers of antelope from the diminutive duiker to eland and roan. Zebra are common. The park has one of the highest densities of leopard in central Africa and there are a number of species of smaller mammals such as warthog and bushpig. Elephants and buffalo usually keep to the lower ground on the northern edge of the park but lions and elephants have recently been seen on the high plateau.

Vwasa Wildlife Reserve

Vwasa Wildlife Reserve (VWR), an area of marsh and plain, with a few rocky outcrops, is all of 400 square miles and lies along the Zambian border.

The reserve has a wonderful mix of vegetation: forest and grassland, thin woodland and marsh. It is this rich habitat which attracts a splendid range of birdlife. Nearly 300 species of birds have been recorded including stork, heron and the white-faced tree duck. Herds of thirty or forty elephants are regularly to be seen and there are large numbers of hippos. Lake Kazuni, near the main entrance to the reserve is famous for its hippos.

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