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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

All you need to know about Malawi this month...
26 April 2007

It’s good to see that a number or Malawi’s tourist attractions have been highly ranked in the press when measured on a global scale. The Daily Telegraph asked a panel of experts to come up with the world’s top beaches and Likoma Island in Lake Malawi was chosen by the panel as one of the twenty-five outstanding locations. Home to the famous Kaya Mawa Lodge, Likoma Island certainly deserves this accolade.

The Independent went even further in their trawl of the world’s leading diving destinations. Lake Malawi came out as the top for freshwater diving. The lake has the largest number of freshwater fish species on the planet and a growing number of lodges offering diving as an activity, often with top-class instruction.

Tourism Update, the leading South Africa magazine, recently rated Liwonde National Park among the top fourteen ‘eco-treasures’ among the multitude of parks and game reserves across the whole of southern Africa. Mvuu Lodge and Camp is the place to stay to enjoy a safari by boat, on foot or by a night drive.

Finally, The Sunday Times surveyed the world’s ten top Pop Festivals if you fail to get into Glastonbury! Not surprisingly, the Lake of Stars Festival at Chintheche, on Lake Malawi was one of the ten. Taking place at the beginning of October, the festival is like none other; its mix of African and western music attracts thousands and takes place in one of Lake Malawi’s most beautiful settings.


Two of Malawi’s lesser known Wildlife Reserves, Majete and Mwabvi are undergoing a transformation. Majete, near the head of the Lower Shire Valley, is being systematically re-stocked. The programme for this is well advanced and plans to up-grade and extend tourist facilities are underway. Majete is close to Blantyre and, together with the well-established Lengwe National Park (Nyala Lodge), will attract those visitors who wish to explore the more southerly reaches of the country.

Still further south is Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve, for a long time neglected and inaccessible. No longer: Mwabvi, under the guidance of Project Africa Wilderness (PAW) can now accommodate visitors at Chipambere Camp and treat them to an experience like none other. Here the tourist can not only enjoy the wildlife but also make a real contribution to the conservation work being carried out.

Barefoot Safaris are the driving force behind the project and they’re able to offer their guests learning experiences in tracking, identification and conservation. This form of educational safari is a first for Malawi and comes with the knowledge that it really contributes to the environment. For more information visit Barefoot-safaris.com.


Visitors to Nkwichi Lodge on the eastern side of Lake Malawi can now choose to explore the Manda Wilderness Community Reserve – a truly wild and unspoilt part of the lake’s littoral.

This experience can be either by walking safari, with one or two nights in a mobile ‘fly camp’, or by sailing by dhow and setting up camp on one of the many deserted white-sand beaches. Either will be one those unforgettable experiences you can dine out on for years. For more information, visit Mandawilderness.org


This festival (also mentioned above) goes from strength to strength. From its beginnings in 2004, this fantastic celebration of African and western music now has a worldwide reputation and attracts visitors from as far away as Australasia, Europe and North America. The brainchild of Liverpudlian music impresario Will Jameson, now based in London, the Lake of Stars Festival will be at the beginning of October.

For this year’s event he has attracted a host of internationally famous DJs and groups for this three day African Glastonbury. This is the only event of its kind anywhere and features the best of Malawian modern and traditional music and its followers across Africa as well as from overseas.


Sharing experiences is what a good holiday is about and it was pleasing to get this message from Danforth Yachting recently: “Last weekend we went out on a sunset cruise on the luxury yacht Mufasa with a group from the UK and Denmark. As we set off we had a shower of rain, yet the sun was still shining. The raindrops looked like huge glistening diamonds on the water.

“The next thing we saw was a rainbow in the sky, with the arc completely filling Cape Maclear. It was absolutely breathtaking and we all sat out on the deck getting wet but just glorying in the magnificent scene nature had set for us. Superb! Moments like that are quite unbeatable.”

For more information, visit Danforthyachting.com


• Luwawa Forest Lodge, on the beautiful Viphya plateau, is never slow to innovate. They report that their new sauna is up and running – just the thing after a day trekking on one of the wilderness trails. Horse riding is also to be introduced when an equestrian expert has been appointed.

• Recent high profile visitor to Malawi was pop star Madonna who took her children on holiday while she attended to the Raising Malawi charity which she sponsors.

• Malawi’s only ‘extreme sport’, the Mount Mulanje Porters’ Race will be on 14 July this year. Last year’s race attracted an international field of 438. There’s still time to register for the 2007 event. See the Nyasa Times report for more information

• Well-known, Lilongwe based, Kiboko Safaris are expanding into the top end of the market with some 5- and 7-day luxury tours while maintaining their programmes of value-for-money safaris.

• The Spectrum Guide to Malawi – the best of all Malawi guide books – is available direct from the Information Office in the UK together with Malawi’s No.1 touring map – both at discount prices.

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