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Malawi Highlands and Islands

11 days from £4695pp plus international flights.

Enjoy the different faces of Malawi and experience the wilderness of Nkhotakota, the lush highlands of Nyika and then spend some time by the crystal clear waters of the Lake as you explore Likoma Island!

This trip is designed to give you a good insight into the variety on offer in this beautiful country. You will be able to experience the rugged wilderness and wildlife in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve by canoe, on foot and by 4x4. Next is Nyika National Park where montane vegetation attracts antelope in large numbers from eland to roan antelope. The park has one of the highest densities of leopard in central Africa and a night safari may increase your chances of spotting one of these elusive cats. Birders will not be disappointed as Nyika is home to over 400 species including the endemic red-winged francolin. It's possible to get up close and personal with nature and soak up the scenery on a nature walk, move at a slower pace, enjoying every moment.

The last part of the trip is a complete contrast to the first part and you will be able to while away the days swimming, snorkelling and enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the island paradise that is Likoma Island. The island is surrounded by the beautiful waters of Lake Malawi, teeming with all kinds of tropical fish. You can spend your days on the beach or up at the lodge, the award winning Kaya Mawa, where you will be well looked after.

At the end of the trip, when you bid goodbye to the island, you will have a host of memories of this stunning country to take back home.

Tongole Wilderness Retreat


Welcome to Malawi! Your flight arrives into Lilongwe where a representative will be waiting to meet you. Your adventure begins as you are driven from Lilongwe to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. The drive takes four to five hours and gives you an introduction to Malawi's scenery you head for the wilderness. Your accommodation at Tongole Wilderness Retreat is consists of a gorgeous river cottage with its own viewing deck. Relax and unwind after your journey and soak up your surroundings. Full board.

Walking safari from Tongole Wilderness Retreat


Nkhotakota is considered a true wilderness area, it is the oldest and least developed of Malawi's protected areas. It offers an authentic safari experience with fewer tourists and a rugged terrain. There is a range of activities available to you at Tongole, climb aboard a 4x4 safari vehicle and go in search of wildlife together with your knowledgeable guide, he'll be a mine of information for you to tap into. Walking safaris are another way to experience these natural surroundings. You can learn to read animal tracks and learn about the flora as you tread quietly through the reserve. Full board.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve


Now you've acquainted yourself with Nkhotakota today might be the day to take to the water and enjoy a canoe safari on the Bua River. Enjoy your pristine, natural surroundings as you glide silently along the water looking out for the phenomenal birdlife, insects and also crocodiles and elephants that frequent these waters. Enjoy a relaxing stop at the riverside for a spot of lunch and maybe a little fishing if you fancy, before heading back to the lodge to freshen up for dinner. Full board

Chelinda Lodge cabin


Time for a change of scene and the chance to discover another corner of Malawi. It's a long drive ahead, so you'll have an early breakfast and then, with your bags packed, depart for the magnificent highlands of Nyika. Your accommodation at Chelinda Lodge consists of a cosy log cabin. It comes equipped with a welcoming fireplace as the evenings can be quite cool at this elevation, but the scenery alone is worth it, with sweeping views over Nyika's rolling grasslands. This will be home for the next three nights. Full board.

Zebras in Nyika National Park


You have the next two days to explore this area and discover the wonders of Nyika National Park and there is plenty here to keep you occupied. Depending on the time of year numbers of game fluctuate but you can expect to see zebra and large numbers of antelope from the diminutive duiker to eland and roan. The elusive leopard is also represented in good numbers along with their prey, bushpig and warthog. Exploring on foot is popular in the park, with the option to take a 4x4 game drive to venture further afield. Full board.

Birding in Nyika National Park


Nyika is also a bird lovers paradise with over 400 species recorded. The rare Denham's bustard and the wattled crane are present, as is the red-winged francolin, endemic to Nyika. The landscape alone is worth seeing, with stunning waterfalls, a neolithic rock shelter, trout pools and even a 'magic lake'. Take the opportunity to go on a night drive and see some of the nocturnal inhabitants of the park, spotted hyaena, hunting serval, leopard and nocturnal bird species such as Ruwenzori nightjar. Full board.

Dining by the lake at Kaya Mawa


Today we bid farewell to Chelinda Lodge and board the light aircraft bound for Lake Malawi, the jewel in the crown. The journey to Likoma will take about an hour with plenty of stunning scenery to see from the aircraft as you fly. On arrival you will be met and driven to Kaya Mawa lodge, your luxury beach base for the rest of your stay in Malawi, so unpack, relax and enjoy the sunset. Full board

Snorkelling at Kaya Mawa


Spend your time at Kaya Mawa doing as much or as little as you please. You can fill your days swimming, snorkelling and relaxing on the beach. If you want to shake things up and get a little more active, then take to the mountain bikes and explore the trails. Take your time getting to know the island, and in between exploring there will always be the delicious meals and wines waiting for you at the lodge. Full board.

Likoma Island Cathedral


With two more days on this paradise island, take your time to enjoy the wonderful views of the lake stretching out before you. If you are feeling restless from all the relaxing there are plenty of optional activities on offer that the lodge can book for you, boat trips, kite surfing, quadbiking, water skiing and diving. It's perfectly safe to go for a wander on the island and explore under your own steam, you might like to visit the Katundu workshop, a half hour walk from the lodge, continue on to the cathedral and the local market, or you could venture out on a jeep tour of the island. Choices, choices. Full board

Aerial view of Kaya Mawa


Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and it is time to head home. You'll be transferred to the airstrip for your flight back to Lilongwe and your onward travel connections. Breakfast

Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £4695 (ex. international flights)

Price notes: 

2020 guide price pp based on 2 sharing:

26 Mar – 29 Jun 2020 & 02 Nov – 31 Dec 2020 from £4695 
01 Jul – 31 Oct 2020 from £5470

Supplements may apply for festive periods


Accommodation and meals, local drinks at Tongole and Chelinda, flight transfers as specified, park fees and safari activities at Tongole and Chelinda, non motorised watersports at Kaya Mawa.


International flights, airport taxes, visas, drinks at Kaya Mawa, premium drinks at Tongole and Chelinda, guided activities & motorised watersports at Kaya Mawa, tips and items of personal nature.

Getting there: 

This trip starts and ends in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe. Most flights to Lilongwe are via Johannesburg. These start from about £800 per person depending on season and availability. We usually book these for you.

Departure dates: This holiday can be taken at any time you like as it is a tailor made holiday. 

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.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is in central Malawi about 30kms west of Lake Malawi. 
Nyika Plateau
Nyika Plateau & Vwaza Marsh
Nyika Plateau and National Park are located in the north of Malawi and is a beautiful region of rolling hills and huge vistas, popular for hiking and birdwatching. Marsh is a beautiful reserve in which forms joins to the Luangwa eco-system in neighbouring Zambia at the foot of the Rift Valley.

customer rating

5/5 from 11 reviews

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Find the best time to visit Malawi

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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