Exploring The Beauty Of Malawi And Madagascar

20Located in south-east Africa, bordering Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia, Malawi is one of Africa’s most scenic destinations offering a range of attractions such as Lake Malawi, unspoilt wildlife sanctuaries and unending grasslands.

Lake Malawi is easily the most popular attraction for the majority of people going on a Malawi safari. Positioned on the Great Rift Valley, the 365 miles-long and 52miles-wide lake dominates the landscape of the small landlocked country.

A large section of the lake is protected within the Lake Malawi National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site and the world’s first freshwater lake, which supports a thriving population of wild animals including the big five; lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard. Lake Malawi is home to over 400 species of freshwater fish, most of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

Other popular destinations for Malawi safari include Majete Wildlife (the country’s only official Big 5 Park), Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Liwonde National Park, Nyika National Park (the oldest national park in Malawi), Likoma Island, Lilongwe and Blantyre among others.

Black rhino, lion and leopard can be spotted in Majete and Liwonde. Other animals that can be seen in Malawi include baboon, hyena, warthog, zebra, buffalo, roan, eland, water-buck and bush duiker among others. Malawi’s national parks have only a few lodges operating in each of them – which gives them an exclusive ambiance that cannot be felt in most African game reserves.

More than 650 species of birds have been recorded in Malawi – making the country a haven for birdwatchers. These include red-winged francolin, pelican, kingfisher, livingstone flycatcher, black-breasted snake eagle among others.

The best time to visit Malawi is during the drier winter months – between May and October. This is also the best time to take a game drive in Malawi because during the dry season much of the foliage has thinned out making it easy for visitors to view animals in their habitat.

Like Malawi, Madagascar – located off the eastern coast of Africa, about 500km from Mozambique – is a fascinating travel destination. The archipelago is made up of several large islands that form the world’s fourth largest island.

Madagascar is endowed with 45 national parks, nature conservancies and game parks of which six were in 2007 enlisted as Unesco World Heritage Sites. The six are Zahamena, Masoala, Andohahela, Marojejy, Ranomafana and the Andringitra National Park.

The island is home to five percent of the world’s animal and plant species of which 80 per cent are not found anywhere else on earth.

Madagascar safaris, which are best taken during the cool dry season between March and September, offer visitors some rare opportunities to watch endemic animal species in their natural habitats.