Malawi‘s breathtaking scenery, friendly people and incredible wildlife and birding makes it one of the top African destinations for any wildlife enthusiast.
Malawi (formerly known as Nyasaland) is a landlocked country in southeast Africa. Lake Malawi is the ninth largest lake in the world and takes up around a third of Malawi’s area.
Birding in Malawi is mostly centered around protected areas as there are little natural vegetation outside the national parks and protected pockets of forests. Malawi boasts a bird list of around 650 species. On this short trip the main focus will be the two big National Parks of Malawi (Liwonde and Nyika) as well as the Miombo Woodlands at Dzalanyama, and the Zomba Plateau. This birding safari starts in Blantyre and ends in Lilongwe.
DAY 1: Thyolo Area
After meeting you at Blantyre International Airport, we will make our way to Huntingdon House situated within the Thyolo Area.
A bird watcher’s paradise, the varied vegetation on the estate provides ideal habitats for a variety of Malawi’s bird species including the Thyolo Alethe (Alethe choloensis). Found in the estate’s protected patches of indigenous forests and listed as an endangered species.
DAY 2: Zomba Plateau
After breakfast and some more birding we will make our way to the Zomba Plateau. On the way to our lodge we could spot, Grey-olive Greenbul, Southern Citril and Olive-headed Greenbul.
Birding around the lodge is usually very productive and we can spot Red-throated Twinspot, Forest Double-collared Sunbirds as well as Samango monkeys. Exploring the Zomba Plateau further, we could encounter Red-rumped Swallow, Augur Buzzard, Evergreen Forest Warbler, the endemic Yellow-throated Apalis, Malawi Batis, Little Greenbul, Placid Greenbul, Black-headed Apalis and the beautiful White-winged Apalis.
DAY 3&4: Liwonde National Park
After breakfast and a walk around the lodge we will make our way to Liwonde National Park. This low-lying park stretches along the Shire River and offers excellent riverine and woodland birding.
During our two night stay in Liwonde, you could be treated to wonderful sightings of the localised Brown-breasted Barbet, Bohm’s Bee-eater, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Lilian’s Lovebird, White-backed Night-Heron, Speckle-throated Woodpecker, Pel’s Fishing Owl Racket tailed Roller, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Collared Palm-Thrush and Arnot’s Chat. Some of the bird species than can be spotted during the river cruise are Spur-winged Lapwing, Pied Kingfisher, Black-crowned Night Heron, Eurasian Hobby, Great White Pelican, Goliath Heron and Saddle-billed Stork. An early morning stop at Lake Malombe could produce several waders as well as flocks of Gull-billed Terns.
DAY 5&6: Dzalanyama Forest Reserve
This morning after breakfast and our last birding activity we will make our way to Dzalanyama Forest Reserve where we will stay for two nights. Dzalanyama is one of the prime miombo birding areas in Malawi. Birds we can spot are Stierling’s Woodpecker, Reichard’s Seedeater, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, and Anchieta’s Sunbird.
Birding around the lodge and the miombo woodland could produce sightings of Yellow-bellied and Southern Hyliotas, Rufous-bellied Tit, Red-capped Crombec, Boulder Chat, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Spotted Creeper, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, African Golden Oriole, Bohm’s Flycather, Souza’s Shrike and Schalow’s Turaco.
DAY 7&8: Nyika National Park
This morning we make our way to Lillongwe Airport where you will board a charter plane to Nyika National Park where you will stay for two nights. Nyika National Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the southern half of Africa. The park extends into Zambia and offers grassland and forest birding of note, most of it at an altitude of more than 2000m above sea level. The stunning rolling hills are dotted with herds of Eland, Roan Antelope, Reedbuck and Crawshay’s Zebra. Here you can have incredible views of Ludwig’s Double-collared Sunbird, Yellow-crowned Canary, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Brown Parisoma, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Churring Cisticola, Yellow-browed Seedeater and the very entertaining Black-lored Cisticola.
Other highlights include: Dusky Turtle Dove, Montane Widowbird, Pallid Harrier, Waller’s Starling, Angola Swallow, Sharpe’s Greenbul, Bar-tailed Trogon, White-chested Alethe, Baglafecht Weaver, Moustached Tinkerbird, Slender billed Starling, Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, Fulleborn’s Boubou and Hildebrandt’s Francolin.
DAY 9: Departure
After breakfast and some last birding, you will take a charter flight back to Lilongwe for your onwards journey home.
Do you have a quick question about this birding tour? Speak to a specialist at