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Tour Packages Details

Price Per Person

USD 4,005
Country: Malawi
City: Liwonde National Park
Duration: 10 Day(s) - 9 Night(s)
Tour Category: Adventure Tours
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99

Package Itinerary


This trip, with constant contrast and variety, covers about 800km and three of southern Malawi's most fascinating destinations. We head south along the western spine of the great African Rift to Zomba Mountain, described in the 1880s by Sir Harry Johnstone, the first governor general of the Nyasaland Protectorate, as "the 'most perfect place on God's earth", exploring picturesque villages and markets en route. The next day we walk, cycle, and explore the mountain wilderness of Zomba Plateau followed by three magical days in Liwonde National Park, game viewing on foot, by boat and vehicle. The trip ends with three days of relaxation (with ample activities for the more energetic) on the beautiful Mumbo Island. 

The drives between the destinations are a revelation with ample opportunities to meet the friendliest locals in Africa as well as birdwatch, walk, and visit colourful markets that abound on this route. Your Explorations guide will accompany you throughout this trip, except at Mumbo Island where you will be in the hands of local island guides.


Brief Itinerary 

  • Day 1: Fly to Lilongwe International Airport and transfer to Kumbali Lodge
  • Days 2 & 3: Ku Chawe Inn, Zomba Plateau
  • Days 4, 5 & 6: Mvuu Lodge, Liwonde National Park
  • Days 7, 8 & 9: Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi National Park. 
  • Day 10: Journey's end


Day 1: Kumbali Country Lodge, Lilongwe 

On arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to Kumbali Lodge, 30 minutes from the airport.

Area and Location: Kumbali Country Lodge, only 15 minutes from the city centre, is a private lodge, situated on a quiet 650 ha forest reserve and working dairy farm. Stylish, relaxed and informal, KumbaIi is a perfect beginning to this Exploration.

Activities: Spectacular birdlife, stunning indigenous forest walks, a traditional cultural village and permaculture centre offer additional interest.

Accommodation: The 16 individual thatched suites offer comfortable, spacious and airy accommodation. All rooms have their own entrances, en-suite bathroom and private veranda. Fine food and refreshments, including organic home-grown fruit and vegetables and dairy products are served from the elegant lodge dining area. 

Days 2 & 3: Ku Chawe Inn, Zomba Plateau 

After breakfast, you will embark on a 4- to 5-hour transfer to Zomba. 

The drive: We head south along the western crest of the Great African Rift, skirting the border with Mozambique before gradually descending to the Rift Valley floor and then climbing again along the last few spectacular kilometres up Zomba Mountain.

Area and Location: The Zomba Plateau is unique: an imposing mountain rising to 1 800 metres (6 000 feet), with vast tracts of cedar, pine and cypress, but interspersed with indigenous forest. The Plateau is criss-crossed with streams, cascading waterfalls and lakes. There are driveable tracks right round the top, offering views of such splendour they were described in colonial times as "the best in the British Empire". Ku Chawe is a landmark hotel positioned to enjoy the commanding views across to Mount Mulanje in the south and down to the old colonial capital of Zomba town below. 

Activities: Places of interest around Zomba include the Zomba markets, the well-tended botanical gardens, the Commonwealth War Graves Memorial, and the old Parliament, as well as taking in the sights of the many distinctive colonial buildings. Several forest walking trails explore the natural treasures of the area.

Accommodation: The hotel perches spectacularly on the edge of Zomba Mountain and has spacious en-suite rooms with fireplaces for the colder evenings on the Plateau.

Days 4, 5 & 6: Mvuu Lodge, Liwonde National Park 

After breakfast, you will be transferred (around two hours) to Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde National Park. Mvuu means "hippo" in the local Chichewa language and the name epitomises the large numbers of hippo that inhabit the nearby Shire River. 

The Drive: We descend Zomba Mountain again, en route visiting the markets and monuments in Zomba Town before travelling through rural Malawi on to Liwonde National Park. 

Area and Location: Liwonde National Park covers an area of 548km² and is Malawi's premier wildlife destination. Named after Chief Liwonde, who had championed its protection, the park harbours very diverse landscapes including deciduous mopane and miombo woodland, open grassland, as well as palm savannah, and numerous stately baobabs. The central feature of the Park is the mighty Shire River, Lake Malawi's southern outlet.

Wildlife: The Park has a healthy population of elephant, hippo and crocodiles. Waterbuck wade in lagoons and marshes, while the open savannah and hills of the interior attract antelope such the elegant sable, impala and bushbuck. Rare sightings include black rhino (found in the Rhino Sanctuary), leopard, serval and the occasional lion. Nearly 400 bird species occur in the Park, with specials such as Böhm's Bee-eater, Livingstone's Flycatcher, Pel's Fishing-Owl and the only population of Lilian's Lovebird in Malawi. The Park is one of the most exciting birding destinations in Africa.

Activities: Day and night game drives, boat safaris on the Shire River, guided walks, game drives in the Rhino Sanctuary (extra $5 per person paid locally), local tours to Nanthomba School and bike rides to Njobvu Village. 

Accommodation: Mvuu Lodge is one of Malawi's finest safari camps. Set in lush vegetation on the banks of a quiet lagoon, the lodge has eight well designed tents, each with a private viewing platform, luxurious furnishings and beautifully appointed bathrooms (including a unique outdoor shower). 

Days 7, 8 & 9: Mumbo Island Camp, Lake Malawi National Park 

After breakfast, you will be transferred (3-4 hours) to the Kayak Africa base camp in Cape Maclear. 
The Drive: We pass the fishing villages of Lake Malombe and then the historic town of Mangochi. The last 20km are on a wonderful dirt road that snakes through the steep mountain passes of the Cape Maclear Peninsula before arriving at the base camp in Chembe Village. From here you can choose to either kayak to Mumbo Island or take a 45-minute boat transfer.

Area and Location: Mumbo Island is a pristine, deserted island 10km off the Cape Maclear Peninsula. This exclusive island is in the Lake Malawi National Park, and offers barefoot comfort and tranquillity. Lake Malawi National Park was the first freshwater park in the world, set aside for the preservation of freshwater fish, in this case the over 500 species of brightly coloured cichlids. 

Activities: A blend of exploration and leisure-based activities are offered at Mumbo Island Camp. Kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving (extra cost), boat rides, scenic walks and birding are all available.

Accommodation: The camp is tucked away on the rocks and beaches of a serene bay of the island and surrounded by crystal-clear waters. Mumbo Island Camp features tastefully furnished tents and a family unit with shaded decks, hammocks, en-suite hot bucket showers and 'eco-loos'. The camp's construction adheres to the strictest principles of eco-architecture and its operations make an almost zero ecological impact on the island. This is one of the most magical places in Africa and the only truly wilderness destination on the Lake.

Day 10 Drive to Lilongwe International airport 

A 3 to 4 hour drive back to Lilongwe for onward arrangements or flight out.


Rift Valley Explorer includes:
Accommodation on a per person sharing basis, all meals from dinner on Day 1 to the end of the scheduled safari, road and boat transfers as specified,
National Park fees, safari activities at Mvuu Lodge, kayaking and snorkelling at Mumbo Island.
Rift Valley Explorer excludes:
drinks throughout, extra meals, laundry, scuba diving at Mumbo Island, activities at Zomba, all personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls, etc.) and gratuities.
1. Please note that various policies apply to each safari in terms of age limits, number of guests required / accommodated, arrival / departure times, luggage allowance, additional overnights required etc. Please ensure that you are aware of these when booking onto a safari or contact your Journey Specialist for further details.
2. If a single guest is willing to share and we can match with another guest of the same gender, the single supplement will not be charged. However, if there is no suitable match, the single supplement surcharge will apply.


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