While some of the more popular countries instantly come to mind when speaking of safari holidays in Africa, maybe it’s time to travel to a different, lesser known but equally beautiful, destination for your vacation fun. While many head for South Africa and Kenya, let’s try something new this year.
Inland Africa offers Malawi, a country land-bound and without a seashore. It is not dubbed the “warm heart of Africa” for nothing, as the country’s people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. While you can’t bask on a beach overlooking the ocean, as such, Malawi does have a magnificent lake, with beaches, rocky outcrops, lush green trees and beautiful tropical fish to enjoy. Lake Malawi is the third largest body of fresh water in Africa, at 365 miles long and, in some places up to 53 miles wide.
There are boat trips and fishing trips available to visitors as well as great hotels right on the beach, in fact everything you could ask for in a vacation destination. Eat delicious, fresh-caught fish from the lake or a papaya from a nearby tree while taking in those scenic views across the water.
The lake is an ideal base for heading out on a safari adventure, as close by, but in more mountainous realms, can be found the country’s most prominent national parks of Liwonde and Lengwe, along with the Majete Game Reserve.
Here you will find most of Malawi’s elephant population and if you are lucky, will be able to spot the secretive nyala, a spiral-horned antelope, native to the area but very shy. As you travel to this different destination in Africa, the fun and excitement of seeing a rare animal in the bush is a unique experience indeed.
Travel down to the southern end of the lake where there is more on offer, as the Shire River offers a home to nearly 1,000 hippos, along with quite a large population of crocodiles.
Not too far away from Malawi is Zambia, another great but relatively unknown safari destination. Located on a high plateau, and sharing the spectacular Victoria Falls with its neighbor Zimbabwe, the country has a lot to offer the tourist.
Where the Luangwa and Kafue rivers flow into the Zambezi, the most important conservation areas of Zambia have been developed. This includes the lower Zambezi National Park. The Luangwa National Parks offer a great game viewing experience, with its savannah plains, riverine woodlands and pools.
This area boasts the largest number of leopards on the African continent, and the Cookson’s wildebeest and Thornicroft’s giraffe, which are unique to this area and can be seen nowhere else in the world.
For an under-visited and peaceful destination, the 4.5 million acre unspoiled Kafue National Park is a must-see destination for a safari adventure.
Birding fans will be thrilled by the around 500 species available for viewing in Zambia, including herons, pelicans, storks and wattled crane.
All in all, Malawi and Zambia are both excellent safari and vacation locations, with a little something for everyone. This definitely offers an incentive to travel to a different destination in Africa and enjoy some safari fun.
Included below is a safari trip in Liwonde National Park, Malawi produced David Hoffman of the Davidsbeenhere channel.
By Anne Sewell