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Nyika NP & Liwonde NP, Malawi

Magical Malawi

£9,095 pp sharing

At a Glance

Dates: September 29th - October 10th, 2024
             July 1st - July 12th, 2025

Extension: We do not offer any extensions to this itinerary.

Prices: £9,095 pp sharing (with a £350 single supplement)​, excluding flights.

In a sentence: The epitome of a conservation success story; lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant and cheetah are all possible in these breathtakingly beautiful Malawian wilderness areas.


Malawi is sometimes referred to as the "Scotland of Africa", and in some areas it is easy to see why. The lush and rolling highlands of the Nyika Plateau are a marvel in themselves, but when juxtaposed with the sandy shores of Lake Malawi and the sprawling miombo woodland of Majete and Liwonde, it is clear that Malawi has a wealth of natural beauty to offer any traveller. In recent decades, it is this remarkable beauty that has attracted visitors. Now, though, wildlife is returning to this beautiful country and Malawi is once again attracting the attention of safari enthusiasts the world over.

Malawi hosts a number of national parks, several of which Pictus Safaris includes on its tours. The Nyika Plateau is a stunning national park in the north of Malawi, with arguably the healthiest Leopard population in the country. In the west, Kasungu NP is a protected area within striking distance of Lilongwe that once played host to a huge variety of game. Sadly, much of this wildlife has been lost to poaching and mismanagement, but Kasungu still has a reasonable population of Bush Elephant and is the best bet in Malawi for African Wild Dog. Not far from the ever-impressive Lake Malawi is the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Densely forested and occasionally rugged, this reserve was once home to the largest populations of Lion and Bush Elephant in all of Malawi. Whilst this game has again mostly been lost, a re-wilding effort led by African Parks is beginning to breathe life back into this beautiful corner of Africa.

The highlights of any visit to Malawi must be the sights and sounds of Liwonde National Park, under the expert management of African Parks. Liwonde NP has seen a succession of reintroductions and it is now possible to encounter all of the "Big Five" here. The Lion population is very obliging in Liwonde, Leopards are encountered with increasing regularity and the Bush Elephant population along the Shire River is impressive. 


Day One


On arrival into Lilongwe you will be met by your Pictus Safaris representative. On arrival, you will transfer directly to your comfortable local hotel for some rest after a long inbound flight. Dinner will be served in the hotel following a pre-tour briefing this evening.

Day Two

Nyika NP

This morning we return to Lilongwe Airport for our two-hour charter flight north to Malawi's most scenic national park - Nyika. This plateau national park is unlike anything else in Malawi, coated in dense grassland and forest, with a cool climate and unusual wildlife. Our lodge here is truly special, offering excellent views over a nearby dam, and is in the heart of the best game-viewing in the park. Big game is not prolific here, but our afternoon drive is likely to reveal roan, common reedbuck and much more. Nyika is at its best though, after dark. After dinner, we will head out into the park to search for leopard and spotted hyena - Nyika is the best destination in Malawi for both of these species.

Days Three to Five

Nyika NP

Our two full days in Nyika are split into morning and evening game drives. During daylight hours, we seek out birdlife, smaller mammals and generic game in the stunning surrounds of the park. As the light fades, we focus on leopard and other predators - keep your eyes peeled as even the iconic lion sometimes appears here! When not on drive, our excellent lodge is an excellent spot to admire the scenery and relax in comfort.

Day Six



This morning, after a final drive in Nyika, we are collected from the local airstrip and returned to Lilongwe by early afternoon. This evening is at leisure with a lengthy road transfer to Liwonde to come tomorrow.

Day Seven

Liwonde NP

We leave our comfortable local hotel after breakfast this morning for the lengthy drive south-eastwards to the jewel in Malawi's wildlife crown - Liwonde. The roads leading out from Lilongwe are in reasonable condition, and with luck we will be approaching our destination by early afternoon. At the fringe of the park, we take a small, rudimentary barge across the Shire River, before taking the onward track to our beautiful accommodation at Mvuu Lodge. 

After a chance to settle in after a long day in the road, if time permits we will head out in a vehicle set aside expressly for our group for our first game-drive proper in the park. We will waste no time in seeking out black rhino, cheetah, leopard and lion along the Shire River. Liwonde has benefitted hugely from the conservation work done by the South African-based NGO African Parks, and in recent years they have transformed Liwonde with an ambitious re-wilding programme - their most recent additions, African wild dog, have sadly fallen victim to poisoning, but there remains a huge amount of big game to see here. We are likely to extend our drive into the hours of darkness to increase our chances of spotting predators including leopard and lion, before returning to camp for a freshly-prepared evening meal.

Days Eight to Ten

Liwonde NP

Our three full days here allow us to set out on game drives targeting Liwonde's most elusive residents, including the reintroduced Black Rhino, as well as cheetah, lion and leopard.. The reserve is also home to a number of species rarely encountered elsewhere in Africa, including Selous Mongoose and Marsh Mongoose, and we will be sure to dedicate time to searching good areas for these species.

Our afternoon activity options include a boat safari along the famous Shire River. The river is home to healthy populations of Common Hippo and huge Nile Crocodiles, but our key aim will be to intercept the impressive herds of Bush Elephant and Savanna Buffalo that descend to the river in the evening. Sundowners will be provided as we soak in the beautiful surrounds of Liwonde.

Day Eleven


Today we reluctantly say goodbye to Liwonde as we transfer by road to Blantyre, where we overnight.

Day Twelve

Tour End

This morning, guests are transferred to the airport to meet their homeward flights.

Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.

Dates and Prices

This tour will run in October 2024 and July 2025, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources. The tour will run from September 29th to October 10th, 2024, and July 1st to July 12th, 2025.

The cost of this trip is £9,095 per person excl. flights.. This includes all meals outside Lilongwe, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Premium drinks are excluded. There is a £350 single supplement for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £2,750 must be paid, plus any single supplement.

Flights and Visas

Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as or to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Lilongwe at the end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.

British nationals do require a visa to enter Malawi. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for Malawi will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Malawi entry visa for UK citizens is $50 - this should be obtained online using the dedicated e-visa portal To acquire a tourist visa for Malawi you will require a valid passport, a recent photograph and an invitation letter which Pictus Safaris will provide.

Weather and What to Bring

The weather in Malawi in the dry season is hot and sunny, with maximum temperatures of around 29 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 18 degrees Celsius.

A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat. 

Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.

Safety and Security

This itinerary does not visit any areas where there are currently security concerns. We are in constant communication with our partners in Malawi to ensure this remains the case, and will alert you as soon as this situation changes. All Pictus Safaris clients must take out travel insurance before travelling with us.

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