South Malawi

South Malawi

The southern Lakeshore has Malawi´s greatest concentration of lodges and hotels, as well as being home to the Lake Malawi National Park.

Monkey Bay
Monkey Bay is a Lake port with a sheltered harbour which is the starting point for the iiaia lake ferry. Round the headland is Cape Maclear and the world's first freshwater national park.

Lake Malawi National Park
Lake Malawi National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes a land area as well as the Lake waters and islands. Here is a veritable aquarium of tropical fish providing a colourful kaleidoscopic display. The countless thousands of freshwater fish, the mbuna, are more abundant and varied here than anywhere else in the world. Boats are available for hire and the fish will feed directly from the hand. Kayaking, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving are just some of the activities on offer, as well as relaxing on a beach.

The Mangochi Lakeshore
The Mangochi Lakeshore, at the southernmost end of the Lake, has the greatest concentration of hotels and lodges. Along this stretch are a number of low rise hotels, some with adjacent camping sites. They vary from sophisticated properties with golf courses to more simple resorts. The splendid sandy beaches are uncrowded and a bewildering range of lake activities is available.

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South Malawi

Liwonde National Park
Liwonde National Park, although only 210 sq miles / 310 sq km, is the most popular of all Malawi's game parks. It is about 100 miles / 160 km from blantyre and about half that distance from the Lakeshore. Game viewing is enhanced because the river Shire flows along its western border. This allows boat safaris as well as the usual ones by 4 x 4 and on foot. 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 black rhiono, which have been re-introduced. Birdlife is exceptionally varied.

Zomba, former capital and seat of government of Malawi is just 40 miles / 65 km north-east of Blantyre. In a beautiful setting below the plateau of the same name, this was the first settlement of the colonial administration. As well as being home to the University of Malawi, Zomba has some interesting buildings such as the old Gymkhana Club, the barracks of what were King's African Rifles ( Now the Malawi Rifles ) the old parliament, and one of the country´s State Houses.

Zomba Plateau
Zomba Plateau overlooks Zomba town and dominates the skyline for miles around. A great slab of a mountain rising to 6,000 ft / a,800 m, it has vast tracts of ceder, pine and cypress but elsewhere the vegetation is wild and mixed. The plateau top is criss-crossed by streams  and there are tumbling waterfalls and still lakes. There are driveable tracks right round the top from which are views that were described in colonial times as " the best in the British Empire ". As well as forest walks , mountain biking, fishing and horse riding can be arranged. 

Blantyre and Limbe are now a contiguous conurbation - the country's commercial capital and largest urban area. Blantyre has its origins with the Scottish missionaries and was named after David Livingstone's birthplace. The centre of Blantyre is compact with most services and shops around a triangular core. Attractions include a major museum, a church with livingstone connections, some interesting old colonial buildings and the shops and markets. There is an international airport just out of town. Many of the country's safari touroperator have offices in Blantyre.

Thyolo, east of Blantyre has vast areas of Tea Estates. Tea has been grown here since 1908 and the primly trimmed bushes give the area the appearance of a neatly kept but vast garden. Looking up to Mulanje  on one side and down into the Lower Shire Valley on the other, these estates have really stunning scenery. It is possible to stay at some of these plantations and see something of their daily work. The Thuolo Mountain Forest Reserve  offers a haven for walkers and birdwathers.

Mount Mulanje
Mount Mulanje, east of Thyolo, is Central Africa's highest peak. This magnificent mountain is a large massif of basins and peaks, valleys anf forests, streams and waterfalls, sheer faces and slopes of all gradients. It towers to almost 10,000 ft / 3,000 m , dwarfing all that surrounds it. Everything from gentle walking to serious climbing is possible. Once on the mountain the vegetation changes with altitude and there are various small mammals and, of course, a variety of birds to be seen.

The Lower Shire Valley, south-west of blantyre, is deep broad and flat. Much is cultivated , including sugar estates, and the scenery greatly contrast with that in any other part of malawi.
Majete Wildlife Reserve is easy to reach and an on-going re-stocking programme is making this an excellent game viewing destination. Just inside the main gate are the Kapichira Falls  where Livingstone's voyage up the River Shire foundered.
Lengwe National Park has the attraction of easily driven and signposted tracks near the main gate and a number of hides from which to see game at waterholes. In the dry season, game viewing is good and there is an especially interesting variety of antelope including the beautiful nyala.
Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve is now being developed as a community based conservation project which is already providing simple accommodation and programmes for tourists. Nearby, Elephant Marsh, once the home of thousands of elephants, is now best known for its birdlife.