David Livingstone famously named Lake Malawi “The Lake Of Stars” and for good reason, during the day the light dances across the deep blue water and once the sun has set the stars twinkle brightly both in the sky but also on the lake as the fishermen light up their hurricane lamps for their night on the lake.
Malawi may be one of Africa’s smallest countries but when it comes to exploration and adventure, it has tremendous amounts to offer; from grasslands and forests, mountaintops, unspoilt wildlife parks to Africa’s third largest and most beautiful Lake!
Situated on the Great Rift Valley, Malawi is dominated by Lake Malawi, a magnificent body of water, 365 miles long and 52 miles wide (hence sometimes referred to as the calendar lake!). It’s teaming with life including over 400 species of cichlid fish, a lot of which are endemic to it. Most of Lake Malawi’s astounding underwater diversity is protected within the Lake Malawi National Park which is a World Heritage site and also one of the first in the world set aside for the protection of freshwater fish.
The wildlife parks in Malawi are picturesque as well as diverse in game. Also unlike other African parks these have a very exclusive feel to them with only a few lodges operating in each. Reserves such as Majete Wildlife Reserve, are virtually undiscovered by tourists thus visiting it feels more like an expedition; making for unique and exciting safaris. Majete is also the only official Big 5 Park in Malawi. Malawi is not a wealthy country, but there are great riches in the people. Malawians are never short on smiles and hospitality; making you feel welcome in the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ right from the start of your unforgettable journey.
Last year, Katrina re-visited Malawi with Robin Pope Safaris and went on safari at Mkulumadzi, a private concession in the Majete Wildlife Reserve. This reserve demonstrates outstanding success in terms of African conservation. Having has some rough years in developing the park, now Majete Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s only Big Five Park.
Located in the south of Malawi with an area of 70.000 hectares it is also part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. The reserve is made up of mature miombo woodlands and granite topped hills that contrast with picturesque river valleys and lush riverine forest. The private concession and lodge itself are located at the confluence of two rivers and shaded by giant leadwood trees. It is a stunning luxury lodge with amazing views, splendid isolation and first-class facilities. The game viewing was varied and excellent although unfortunately the sable were difficult to see during Katrina’s stay! A particular joyous way to arrive at the lodge is via the long swing bridge from one side to the other. Lots of fun was had at Mkulumadzi!
No safari is complete without a rest afterwards so this is where Lake Malawi and the heavenly Pumulani come into play. Situated on the west side of the Nankumba Peninsula on the Southern end of Lake Malawi the lodge is nestled in the lush hills amongst the trees and craggy outcrops. Katrina spent her time relaxing on the white sandy beach and took a speedboat trip to see the top snorkelling spots. The views of the lake are incredible from every vantage point; the rooms, the restaurant/bar and of course from the stylish infinity pool. Dinner was served on the beach one night which was great and a visit to the nearby village (where most of the lodge staff live) was rewarding and definitely worthwhile. Malawi as a whole has left Katrina with lasting memories of the beautiful people and landscapes and dreaming of returning again soon.
Images on this page are courtesy of Robin Pope Safaris - Malawi Image Gallery