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Bush and Beach in Malawi

8 days from £2260pp plus international flights.

Safari and beach with a difference! See the Big 5 in little-known Majete, then rest up by the shores of a lake, rather than the sea. Game drives, boat safaris and guided walks are followed by snorkelling, diving, kayaking and mountain biking, in a week any nature lover will treasure.

Your holiday begins in Majete Wildlife Reserve, a recent conservation success story, whose wildlife was once plundered by poachers, but is now protected and thriving with several species having been re-introduced since the early 21st century. It's now a Big 5 reserve, the only one in Malawi, and offers excellent game viewing and bird watching against the backdrop of scenic hills, woods, forests and valleys.

Your second destination is Lake Malawi, the 9th largest in the world, named 'the lake of stars' by David Livingstone after the bobbing lanterns of fishing boats at night, a scene you'll witness each night of your stay. By day you can swim, snorkel, dive and kayak in and on the lake, go for walks, bike rides and village visits on land, as well as resting by the pool and enjoying the views.

Both luxury lodges are owned and run by the well-respected Robin Pope Safaris, and provide home comforts and friendly, professional service. As well as the range of activities available, each lodge has a lounge, terrace and swimming pool where you can relax, and both welcome children of all ages, making this a holiday all the family can enjoy.

Photographs courtesy Robin Pope Safaris

Arriving at Mkulumadzi Lodge


You're met at Blantyre airport by a representative from Robin Pope Safaris who will drive you to Mkulumadzi Lodge. This takes about 2.5 hours and passes through some lovely scenery, your introduction to Malawi. The final part of the journey is a walk across the suspension bridge over the river - quite an impressive way to arrive! You'll be shown to your chalet. Depending on your arrival time you'll be served lunch or afternoon tea, later setting out on an initial game drive in Majete Wildlife Reserve. This evening dinner is served on the terrace, giving you the chance for some star gazing as you eat. Lunch, dinner
Game drive in Majete Wildlife Reserve


There's a choice of activities to give you a comprehensive safari experience. Game drives set out in the morning and late afternoon, though all-day drives with a picnic lunch are offered, too. You can also take a boat ride on the Shire River to spot hippo, crocodile, elephant, buffalo and many species of birds, while a guided walk is a great way to get a feel for the environment. Between activities you can rest at the lodge, swimming in the pool, reading and socialising. Full board 
Meet the locals


Safari activities can be supplemented with a visit to neighbouring village to meet members of the community and find out about their culture and daily lives. If you're feeling energetic you can join a guide for the hike up Chimwala Hill, where your efforts are rewarded with superb views over the Great Rift Valley. After lunch spend some time in the viewing hide where you should get great photo opportunities, before setting off on the late afternoon game drive and the chance to see the Big 5. Full board
The beach at Pumulani


After breakfast you'll be driven north to the Nankumba Peninsula on Lake Malawi. You'll be able to watch animals and birds and observe rural life during the 5 hour drive. Pumulani, your destination, is a 10-villa lodge on the hillside above the lake. This is a tranquil location ideal for relaxation, so Pumulani, which translates as 'rest well' in the local language, is well-named! A refreshing swim is just the ticket after your journey and you'll have a choice of lake or pool, later drying off in the sun. This evening you'll enjoy dinner overlooking the water. Full board  
Kayaking on Lake Malawi


The blend of activity and relaxation is the essence of Pumulani and it's completely up to you how you spend each day. Lake Malawi offers great opportunities for snorkelling, kayaking, sailing and fishing, all included in your stay, plus motorised watersports and diving which are available at extra cost. The beach and pool deck are designed for relaxation, where you can sunbathe, doze and catch up with some reading, and your own private deck provides privacy. Full board  
Relax by the pool at Pumulani


Today you might like to use one of the lodge's mountain bikes (free) to explore the local area. This is a great way to meet local people and reach viewpoints for some excellent photographs, as well as getting some beneficial exercise. Alternatively you can join a guide for a tour of a local village where you'll receive a warm welcome. After this why not spend a lazy afternoon by the pool and treat yourself to a chilled drink of fresh fruit juice or maybe something stronger! Full board     
Bee-eater near Pumulani


Another day by Lake Malawi. While here you should make time to go snorkelling or diving to view shoals of tropical fish in the gloriously clear lake waters. It's an experience that will live long in the memory. Back on dry land, follow a guide into the hills behind Pumulani for bird watching and fabulous views. If you wish you can return by a different route and conclude the tour with a gentle kayak trip on the lake back to the lodge. This evening treat yourself to a romantic sunset cruise on the lodge's private, hand-built dhow, returning just in time for dinner. Full board 
Deck and view at Pumulani


The week has passed! Enjoy breakfast on the terrace before the drive to Lilongwe airport where the holiday ends. Breakfast 
Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £2260 (ex. international flights)

Price notes: 

2020 guide price pp based on 2 sharing:

01 Mar - 21 May & 01 Nov-31 Dec 2020 from £2260
22 May to 30 Jun 2020 from £2350
01 Jul - 31 Oct 2020 from £2730

Supplements may apply for festive periods


7 nights accommodation based on twin share; road transfers from Blantyre to Mkulumadzi Lodge, from Mkulumadzi Lodge to Monkey Bay (Pumulani), and from Monkey Bay to Lilongwe; all meals and local drinks at both lodges; game drives, boat safaris, bush walks, birding trips in the Shire River and to Elephant Marsh, game viewing from a hide, cultural tours and hiking up at Chimwale Hill at Mkulumadzi; snorkelling, fishing, sailing, kayaking, sunset dhow cruises, nature walks, mountain biking and village tours at Pumulani - motorised watersports and diving available at extra cost; mkulumadzi park fees and tourism levy; Pumulani park fees and tourism levy; laundry service at both camps


International flights and taxes; visas; travel insurance; premium drinks; motorised watersports and diving at Pumulani (pay locally); tips; items of a personal nature

Getting there: 

The holiday starts in Blantyre and ends in Lilongwe. Return flights from the UK cost from £800 per person, depending on season and availability. We will be happy to check flights for you.

Departure dates: This is a private tailor made holiday which operates from 28th March till the end of December. It can begin on the day of your choice, subject to availability.

places you will see

places you will see

Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi
Part of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Malawi is flanked by hills inland towards the Nyika Plateau and has some attractive sandy beaches as well as interesting villages to explore.
Majete Wildlife Reserve
Majete Wildlife Reserve
Majete is an up and coming park in the Lower Shire Valley of Southern Malawi, a beautiful wilderness area and excellent conservation project. Fantastic birding and good walking in the region.

customer rating

5/5 from 11 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT +2 hours

Flight time: International flights to Malawi are either with Kenya Airways (via Nairobi) or South African Airways (via Johannesburg) then to Lilongwe or Blantyre.

Language: English is the official language but not widely used in rural areas. Chichewa is commonly used.

Visas: Not needed for most nationalities but check with your embassy. You need a Mozambique visa for Nkwichi Lodge.

Health: No vaccinations are compulsory but some are recommended. Yellow Fever certificate required for Nkwichi Lodge (Mozambique). See your GP for advice.



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