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Malawi & South Luangwa

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Malawi & South Luangwa

1-Join tour Lilongwe; afternoon guided walk in Lilongwe Sanctuary
Arrive in Lilongwe, Malawi’s bustling capital, where we check-in at our lodge. This city started out as a small village along the banks of the Lilongwe River and was a small British colonial administrative centre when Malawi was known as Nyasaland. It was only when Dr Hastings Banda became president that Lilongwe became the capital of Malawi. Some say he ordered the move away from Zomba because he was born in the village along the banks of the river. Today Lilongwe is divided into two distinct parts of the Old Town and New Town with the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary in the middle! The Old Town has the appearance of a traditional African settlement, while the New Town has much in common with other modern African urban developments. Its gleaming modern buildings with their garden-like settings contrast vividly with the colourful and vibrant hustle and bustle of Old Town. The Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary is a large stretch of land that aims to provide a location to help rehabilitate animals; a centre to educate the surrounding communities in the importance of conservation and offer a recreational facility for the citizens of Lilongwe. We spend the afternoon here walking through the Sanctuary.
Overnight: Standard Lodge
Single Room option available

2-Drive to Zomba via Dedza Pottery; visit local markets
This morning we head toward the Zomba Plateau via Dedza. The Dedza-Kirk Highlands is the name given to the mountain range that forms part of the Great Rift Valley mountains that separate Malawi from Mozambique. As we journey toward Zomba, there should be some opportunities to take photos of this stunning landscape. The southern part of Malawi is littered with inselbergs, or island mountains. These are small granite mountains that stick from the landscape like islands and add a stunning addition to an already beautiful landscape. We stop en route at Malawi’s famous Dedza Pottery. The pottery was started by Chris and Charity Stevens and has been tested and passed by the British Ceramic Research Association meeting all international safety standards. It is here that we will have the opportunity to have a brief tour of the famous pottery workshop. This was started in 1987 and has grown significantly, today it is one of the biggest exporters of ceramics in Southern Africa. Anything bought here is always a welcome memento of time spent in Malawi. When we reach Zomba, we will spend a little time in the town’s market before heading up toward through the forests to our night stop on the edge of Zomba’s Plateau.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

3-On Zomba Plateau: guided walks
Zomba is the smallest of the three main plateaux in the country and is divided in two by the Domasi Valley. The entire plateau is a forest reserve with the northern area designated a wilderness section. It has a unique high tropical micro-climate and a huge biodiversity of birds and animals. This morning we take advantage of the cooler climate to take in the splendour of the plateau. We shall head towards Chingwe’s Hole which local legend says is bottomless and once used as a burial chamber! We take in the dramatic scenery from the edge of the plateau from both Emperor’s and Queen’s View. The views were named after Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia who visited the area in 1964 and after Queen Elizabeth who visited Zomba in 1957, respectively. The plateau rises to nearly 7000ft (2100m) and from these viewpoints one can see the plains of Africa stretching far out to the horizon. The town of Zomba is at the base of the plateau with the Shire (pronounced “sheer-re”) River meandering lazily toward the Zambezi River far in the south and even further is Mt Mulange. The sheer edges of the escarpment are also covered in indigenous forest where, if you listen and look carefully, you may just hear or see blue monkeys jumping from tree to tree through branches draped in old man’s beard. Walking through the forests of the plateau, with its cool climate, one realizes what a unique experience being here really is!
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

4-Drive to Lake Malawi
As we drive down to the plains, we will see many bicycles laden with firewood for consumption in the town below. This morning we head north to spend time on the shores of Lake Malawi. David Livingstone was the first European to reach the lake, arriving at its shores in 1859 and naming it “Lake Nyasa.” Because much of the surrounding area was claimed by the United Kingdom, it formed the basis of the new colony’s name of Nyasaland. The Lake has a colourful history. It was here that a British warship sunk the first German vessel of WW1 on hearing that war had broken out! The Malawian government refers to the lake as Lake Malawi rather than Lake Nyasa because of deep-rooted geopolitical disputes between all the neighbours bordering the lake. There are also contested fishing rights as a result of long colonial administration boundaries and Malawi even has islands located deep in Mozambique waters! Be that as it may, Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa, the ninth biggest in the world and the last of the Great Rift Valley lakes. It is rich with fish and this is the Malawians natural source of protein. The cichlids of the lake are often found in aquariums around the world and are particularly well known for having evolved rapidly into a large number of closely related but morphologically diverse species, important in the study of speciation in evolution.
Overnight: Standard Lodge
Single Room option available

5-Optional activities Lake Malawi
Our time is spent enjoying and soaking up the unique environment of the lake complete with white sandy beaches! You might even indulge yourself with a leisurely visit to a nearby island, participating in the various watersports available or how about a little boat trip? If this sounds far too much like hard work, you may wish to just take it easy and lie on the beach!
Overnight: Standard Lodge
Single Room option available

6-Drive to Mua Mission
After a leisurely start this morning, we head up the lake’s coast where we stop off at Mua Mission. The mission is famous for the quality of wood carvings and was established in 1976 by a Canadian missionary Fr. Claude Boucher Chisale who dedicated his life to researching, recording and preserving Malawian culture. It is here that one gains a very deep and profound understanding and insight into the history and culture of Malawi through the Chamare Museum, the Carving Centre and the new Research Centre/Library. The museum describes the Chewa, Ngoni and Yao cultures, their rites of passage, their interaction with one another and their encounter with Islam and Christianity.
Overnight: Simple Rondavels

7-Drive to South Luangwa National Park
This morning sees us up early for the drive across the Zambian border to South Luangwa National Park. Our camp at South Luangwa provides comfortable accommodation in chalets with private bathrooms and verandas even a small swimming pool.
Overnight: Comfortable Lodge

8-Game viewing in South Luangwa
South Luangwa is Zambia’s premier park and is widely noted for its large concentrations of game, with counts indicating 59 animal and over 400 bird species. The exact itinerary will depend on local conditions, but during our time at South Luangwa we include 4 half-day activities, be they game drives or walking safaris, and there is plenty of time for you to choose your own optional game viewing activities. Nestled within the Great Rift Valley, South Luangwa National Park covers a vast area of 9,050 sq. km and is bordered on its east side by the meandering Luangwa River. The park encompasses a wealth of habitats, including shaded mopane woodland, riverine forest, thickets, lagoons and grassland providing plenty of variety during morning or afternoon game drives. Walking safaris are a very popular activity in this remote wilderness area and are said to have originated in this park. Accompanied by an experienced park ranger or’scout’ and a guide, they permit us the rare privilege of walking among wild animals in their natural environment, whilst also learning about smaller aspects of the bush. This is a fantastic opportunity to discover and learn about the plant life and animal spoor. Night drives in search of nocturnal wildlife, such as leopard, genets, civets and honey badgers are also a popular activity in Luangwa and offer a different perspective of life in the bush.
Overnight: Comfortable Lodge

9-In South Luangwa NP
Today we continue with our game drives or walking safaris. Alternatively, while we are here, there is an opportunity to take an optional visit to a nearby village and glimpse what life living like this might be like.
Overnight: Comfortable Lodge
10In South Luangwa NP
South Luangwa is one of the finest parks in southern Africa and so we spend another day in search of wildlife as we continue with our game drives or walking safaris.
Overnight: Comfortable Lodge

11-Drive Lilongwe
Today we re-trace our steps back to Lilongwe out of the bush out of Zambia and back to Malawi as we driv eto Lilongwe. Your afternoon is free for personal exploration and sightseeing
Overnight: Standard Lodge
Single Room option available

12-In Lilongwe where tour ends
Your African adventure comes to an end today, with the tour ending after breakfast.

Tour includes:

11 Breakfast
10 Lunch
9 Dinner
4WD, Minibus
4 nights Standard Lodge
2 nights Standard Hotel
1 night Simple Rondavels
4 nights Comfortable Lodge
Tour Staff:
Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Ranger(s), Safari Guide(s)
Group Size:
Generally 8 – 14

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explore holidaysExplore have been running small group adventure holidays throughout the world since 1981 and have a vast array of experience, knowledge and well established close personal contacts in all the countries in which they operate, which makes them stand out as one of the most trusted adventure tour operators in the UK.

They are passionate about what they do, and above all, simply love nothing more than to travel. The founder directors ran overland trips through Asia, Africa and the Americas in the 1960s and 70s prior to setting up the company, and were determined that the spirit of adventure that was such an important part of those early pioneering days, should continue to play key role as part of the driving ethos of Explore.

Our Opinion
It is little wonder that over 60% of all Explore customers who travel each year have travelled with them previously, Explore are clearly committed to the “travel experience” and their itineraries are always offer that slight “Explore Twist” which makes them even more appealing.

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