Central Malawi

Central Malawi

Kasungu National Park
Kasungu National Park is in the west of centralMalawi bordering Zambia. It's an 800 sq mile / 2,000 sq km area of natural woodland and bush with occasional stretches of more open grass. Kasungu used to be Malawi's premier game park but poaching has reduced animal numbers. However, there is still wildlife to be seen and the park is relatively easy to drive to from Lilongwe.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is a vast 700 sq miles / 1,800 sq km of rugged terrain crossed by a number of rivers which tumble down the edge of the escarpment as they make their ways to the Lake. Most of the reserve is miombo woodland with occasional grasses and rainforest. This is a wonderful example of true wilderness. There is a wide range of mammals, including elephants and lions. While access and viewing has been difficult in the past thereare exciting developments taking place in the Reserve which means that 2010 should see the opening of accommodation for visitors. This is destined to be a populare safari destination with the added attractions of a prolific birdlife and angling on some of the rivers.

Ntchisi Forest Reserve
Ntchisi Forest Reserve is one of only Two remaining montane forests in Malawi and is famous for its birdlife. The beautiful dense tree cover is criss-crossed by small streams with scatterings of moss-covered rocky outcrops. The floor of the forest is a profusion of wild flowers in the hot season.

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Central Malawi

Lilongwe was made Malawi's Capital in 1975 by the country's first President, Dr Banda, who was born just north of the town. The Old Town is distinct from the new Capital City and the two parts are separated  by a wildlife sanctuary. While the former retains some of the apperance of a traditional African settlement, the City has much in common with other twentieth Century urban developments around the world. Its glearing modern buildings, in their spacious garden-like settings, contrast with the hustle and bustle of Old Town. Itis in Old Town that some of the most recent developments have taken place, with new shops, malls and cafés adding to the amenities. The craft market in Old Town is especially popular with visitors. Most of the main safari- and tour companies have offices in Lilongwe and there's no shortage of good accommodation choices. Lilongwe is the usual stepping-off point for trips across the border to Zambia´s Luangwa National Parks. 

Dzalanyama Forest Reserve
Dzalanyama Forest Reserve is an extensive area of highlands cut by rivers and cloaked by woodland. Most is Brachystegia but there are significant areas of evergreen forest. There are animals to be seen though mammal populations are much reduced from days gone by. The forest does, though, provide some of the best birdwatching in the country - a veritable ornithologist's delight just an hour from the capital.

Dedza is a wonderful forest town, overlooked by Dedza mountain and surrounds by the hills south-east of Lilongwe. As well as the scenic beauty, the town is home to the Dedza Pottery where craftsmen can be viewed in the workshops and factory, producinga variety of items, from mugs and dinner services to table lamps and tiles. many are decorated with brightly coloureddesigns or local scenes and all are sold at the factory shop. Dedza Pottery products are found all around Malawi, as well as being sold for export. With a charming tea shop selling delicious cakes, the pottery is a popular stop between Lilongwe and Blantyre.

The Chongoni Rock Art Area
The Chongoni Rock Art Area is in the forested granite hills surrounding Dedza . Numerous natural shelters house ancient rock paintings which constitute the densest cluster of rock art found in Central Africa. They reflect the comparatively scarce tradition of farmer rock art as well as paintings by BaTwa hunter - gatherers who inhabited the area fromthe late Stone Age. The symbols in the rock art, which are strongly associated  with women, still have cultural relevance amongst the Chewa, and the site are actively associated with cermonies. The area has been declaired a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mua Mission
Mua Mission was established by the white Fathers over 100 years ago. It is presently home to a thriving community, including an arts and craft centre whose students create Malawi's finest wood carvings and who go on to make a living from their own handiwork throughout Malawi. Mua also works to preserve the local cultures and has the country's best cultural museum.

The Central Lakeshore
The Central Lakeshore does not have quite the variety of the Northern Lakeshore, nor the number of lodges found to the south, but there are still a number of places of scenic and historical interest.
Senga Bay is the point on the Lakeshore closest to Lilongwe and is reached via Salima, a busy town at the junction of the M1 and M5 roads. Senga Bay has a range of hotels from truly luxurious to small lodges and campsites, each overlooking a lovely beach. It is also home to a breeding facility for Lake Malawi's colourful cichild fish, and is backed by forest reserve.
Nkhotakota is some 70 miles / 112 km north of Salima, along the Lakeshore. It is often described as the largest traditional village in Africa. Nkhotakota is rich in history. Visited by Dr Livingstone  in 1863, it was then a centre for the slave trade. In 1960 Dr Banda chose Nkhotakota for his first political rally on his release from prison prior to malawi gaining independance. South of Nkhotakota is an interestin Pottery, the twin of that at Dedza.
Dwangwa is split in two by the M5 road. This is very much a company town, influenced and determined by its giant sugar estate.
The Mozambique Shore across the Lake has areas of true wilderness, undeveloped and offering a rare chance to experience a completely natural environment.