Malawi was recognised as a Lonely Planet Top 10 Best in Travel Country for 2022 for its continued efforts in developing sustainable tourism even through the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many in Malawi’s tourist industry have since introduced new initiatives and pushed on with a variety of developments through 2022 & continuing in to 2023 – mostly geared towards ensuring that they and their guests have a positive impact on the country. In the first article in a series of 3 we looked at Malawi’s local operators, in the second one we focused on some of the lodges and hotels and in this final piece the emphasis is on Wildlife & Conservation.
The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust has an international reputation as a conservation organisation that achieves great things in Africa. Despite the constraints of COVID they have pushed ahead on a variety of fronts. New research expeditions were launched in 2022 to great success in Nyika National Park, supporting the Trust’s vulture conservation programme and teaching participants telemetry and GPS techniques to track herds of zebra and roan antelope. These will continue in 2023 with dates to be announced soon. New volunteer accommodation was opened at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, hosting 18 people across 6 bedrooms, plus lounge, kitchen, dining spaces, bathroom, laundry, a fire pit and garden! A brand new veterinary centre was also opened at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, featuring new enclosures, equipment and support for rescued animals. And in 2023, new visitor attractions will be developed at the Centre including an elevated boardwalk, a nature discovery trail, a series of wildlife sculptures made from recycled plastic & scrap metal, and new educational signage across the forest trails. Meanwhile, the Trust’s wide range of placements continue to be offered, including wildlife monitoring in Liwonde National Park – an immersive experience which allows participants to learn first-hand conservation techniques and initiatives.
Kumbali Country Lodge, on a working farm on the outskirts of Lilongwe, has long been the top Lilongwe accommodation choice for ‘those in the know’, with superb food, excellent service and a wonderful setting. But in 2023 they have hugely ambitious plans to expand their offerings even further by opening a game area on their farmland! A license has already been obtained from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, with plans to introduce ‘family-friendly’ animals such as antelope, zebra and giraffe. Not only a great addition for guests at Kumbali, but a great asset to boost Lilongwe as a destination.
The work of African Parks in Malawi has transformed the country’s biodiversity and the safari experiences as a result. Majete and Liwonde have had translocations in recent years of the likes of lion, wild dog, giraffe, rhino and cheetah; and with continued careful management, both parks are progressing well along their paths of development (eg. third generation cheetah have appeared recently in Liwonde). So, this year we are reporting on Nkhotakota as it starts to ‘catch up’ with its sister reserves.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is one of the only remaining true wilderness destinations in the country, thickly covered under tall Miombo Woodlands. The first six years of the African Parks management focussed on the development of the Reserve’s infrastructure. In this phase, an approximate total of 278km of electrified fence was constructed in order to contain wildlife within the reserve area, and also to address potential human-wildlife conflict. During and following the completion of the electrified fence, African Parks embarked on the largest ever translocation of 500 elephants into the reserve, together with many other game species. The total number translocated in 2016/2017 was 1,855. This year, in 2022, an additional 818 animals were brought into the reserve, including zebra, kudu and eland. These translocations have significantly improved game sightings, boosting the recovery of Nkhotakota as a tourism destination, which will be aided by a tourism plan developed with support from its partners, the USFS and Nu-Leaf.
A 4-family self-catering chalet facility has been built at Livezi, plus a 32-bed Youth Hostel for camping school groups, families and any other individuals on a budget. Both these facilities are solar-powered and serviced with running pipe water, powered by solar powered pumps. African Parks has also embarked on grading the tourist roads and building new ones, all to help provide a smooth tourism experience for visitors.
For a number of years, Zomba Forest Lodge have run ‘TREEZ’ – a conservation project that aims to preserve, re-wild and protect the south western slopes of Zomba Plateau. A great boost will come as they are about to sign a concession for a 250 hectare conservation area – of which TREEZ and the community groups they work with, will be guardians. TREEZ already works in this area and there are easy walks within it for Lodge guests to enjoy. TREEZ will also continue to benefit from the money raised from the annual Run4Reforestation organised by the lodge which is set to become a mainstay of the Malawi tourism calendar.
Read our first two articles article covering Malawi Tour Operators and Lodges & Hotels using the buttons below.
Ethiopian Airlines, the Largest Aviation Group in Africa and SKYTRAX Certified Four Star Global Airline, is pleased to announce that it will start passenger flights from Copenhagen to Malawi, as of Wednesday 24th May 2023.
The new year started great for 1 2 Travel Africa. Not only did their Dream Holidays and Workations in Malawi get published in two magazines in the Netherlands, they now also joined the Better Places family as their official Malawi travel expert.
A newly emerging operation, Climb Malawi, is now drawing attention to Malawi’s climbing riches, and giving residents and visitors increasing opportunities to access them.
The Makokola Retreat, resting on the southern lakeshore's sandy white beaches, welcomes guests in 2023 with two excellent offers running in January and February.
‘Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show' in London, is one of the UK’s top travel exhibitions, dedicated to giving visitors the chance to discover brilliant new parts of the world. Best of all, Malawi will be back at the 2023 show in February!
Central African Wilderness Safaris, one of Malawi's long standing tour operators who also run the iconic Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde National Park and four other properties in Malawi, have released their latest newsletter.