Unique Places in Malawi

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by MalawiKate
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by MalawiKate
  • En route to Liwonde.
    En route to Liwonde.
    by afrette

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Malawi

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    Get to know the people and the animals........

    by afrette Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I find it a very good idea to try to meet as many ordinary people as you can in another country. This is a trite statement, of course, and I always advise the traveller to exercise great caution when abroad - you are NOT in a theme park and some of the most congenial seeming of folk can turn out to be the biggest villains! I was lucky in having dear servants working for me who were both my helpers and my friends. Frank, our steward, was delighted to take us to his home village some miles outside of Blantyre. From the photo, you may not guess it, but it was a truly idyllic spot and its inhabitants were happy, smiling and contented with their lot. Their huts were consructed in a grove of trees - the shade and the way it caught the breeze making it a haven of cool in the intense afternoon heat. The people did not have much but they had all they needed and with this they were content.
    Like many people in this part of Africa, our gardener, Deverson - an educated young man up to a point - was descended from the famous Zulu tribe. You can see him here pictured proudly in his Grandfather's traditional dress. He could sing and dance like many of the ancient Zulu warriors - this gave me a foretaste of many an experience I would enjoy later when I lived in the Republic of South Africa.
    Getting out and about with local inhabitants - as well as following Livingstone's routes- made me aware, as I said before and cannot emphasise too much - Africa is NOT a theme park. Even within Game Reserves, caution must be observed at all times. Outside of them it is extremely thrilling to encounter wild animals but here even more caution is required as these animals are not at all accustomed to people and their vehicles. They are therefore much more likely to attack - so keep a well wary distance!
    In the photograph (please excuse the oil-paint finger marks - a hazard of all artists' photos!) you can see more than one hippopotamus - the most dangerous animals in Africa - and they are NOT in a Reserve!This river also sported a plethora of crocodiles and the highly belligerent Cape Buffalo also came here regularly to drink.NOT a place for taking foolhardy liberties!
    However, bear these warnings in mind but do not let them deter you from "going for it."Your intrepidity will be more than amply rewarded for the sights you will see and savour forever in deepest Malawi.

    Footnote - I would likt to remind VT members that I lived in Malawi in the early 1980's. Conditions for the people there then were considerably more favourable than I understand they are now. Please do not let my experience discourage anyone from cotributing to the humanitarian aid apparently now much needed in Malawi.

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    Earn a PHD

    by johanl Written Feb 26, 2005

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    Once you leave the main roads, the only way to get to off the beaten path locations, is by dirt road. In the rainy season a lot of these roads are closed. Even by 4x4 you cant get to the remote areas.
    Being there during the rainy season, we were lucky. Only a few showers in a weeks time. So most of the roads were open.

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    LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK

    by johanl Written Feb 26, 2005

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    In about two hours time from Blantyre, the Liwonde national park can be reached.
    It is the most famous park of Malawi.
    It has lots of game and astonishing fauna and flora.
    We could only get into a part of the park because of the rainy season. Even with a 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser, we couldn't make it all the way.

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    Nyika Plateau- a long way but worth it!

    by MalawiKate Written Aug 21, 2012

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    Nyika National Park is well worth the visit- it is a very long way North and hard to get to but make the effort! We would suggest hiring a 4 x 4 and leaving plenty of time- maybe stop off somewhere like Makuzi Beach Lodge/Campsite on route. From Rumphi it is still about 4 hours into Nyika. Once there the montane landscape and cool air makes for ideal safaris, both walking and game drives. There is an option of staying in the self catering chalets or the high end lodge. Or if you have your own camping gear then there is a small campsite. Camping out with the noise of the hyenas in the distance- bliss! Nyika is so different from anywhere else in Malawi i would really suggest it!

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    Do you like elephants........

    by afrette Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I have recently read on VT some controversy about the number of elephants in the Kasungo National Park in Malawi. All I can say is, speaking from my own experience - albeit from the early 1980's - I have never seen so many elephants in any 0ther part of Africa, as I saw here. Not only that, they were the most enormous of their species that I have ever come across. The dive from the park entrance to the Lodge itself was a considerable distance and we must have seen well more than 100 huge, feisty and restless elephants. What an experience - one which has stayed with me ever since and has inspired many of my subsequent paintings(see photo) .
    Elephants and Malawi are certainly synonymous in my mind. In another of Malawi's National Parks, Liwonde, the elephants were not only ubiquitous but also very aggressive. As the park was relatively newly opened at that time, they were unaccustomed to both humans and their vehicles. Many a hair-raising chase was reported although, as far as I know, no-one was ever killed or injured.
    On one visit to Liwonde, one late afternoon, we stopped at the lake by a particulary large and curious looking tree.It was actually an ancient fig tree which had hollowed out. Down its sides, it had various long and fairly wide fissures and, against its trunk, there leaned several bicycles. We were intrigued and our driver informed us that these belonged to the fishermen who worked the lake at this point; and that the fissures in the tree were in fact used as "entrances" to its interior in order to hide from the elephants who came to drink at the lake at dusk - just as the men finished work.It occurred to me that dusk was in fact almost upon us - indeed, we could see the fishermen returning from the waters - and that we should maybe not tarry! We returned to the car only to find that the driver had inadvertantly locked the ignition keys inside it! After several unsuccessful attempts to retrieve them - and with the elephants' arrival imminent - we concluded that our only option was to squeeze through the tree's fissures ourselves. We soon discovered, to our dismay and embarassment, that our "western" diets had rendered us too portly to gain access to the tree's hollow! This, of course, greatly amused the occupants but we were by now panic-stricken. In a wild moment, our driver successfully smashed one of the small front windows of our then brand new Subaru, snatched out the keys and within seconds, we were on our way, unconcerned that the efficiency of our car's air-conditioning system was now seriously compromised!
    On this occasion, I did not look back to see if I could spot elephants!!

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    LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK

    by johanl Written Feb 26, 2005

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    In about two hours time from Blantyre, the Liwonde national park can be reached.
    It is the most famous park of Malawi.
    It has lots of game and astonishing fauna and flora.
    We could only get into a part of the park because of the rainy season. Even with a 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser, we couldn't make it all the way.

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    Nyala park

    by johanl Written Mar 1, 2005

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    When drivng thru the park, the guards will give you directions, where which animal can be seen.
    That day the guards told us the girafs had to be found in the far most nothern point of the park. We haven't seen a single giraf that day.
    So ???!!!!!!!

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    MOUNT MULANJE

    by johanl Written Mar 1, 2005

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    At Mount Mulanje it is great to swim and relax. For the brave amongst us, they can make a hike to the top in 2 days.
    Local guides and porters are around and will help you climbing the mountain.
    Be careful as the weather can change suddenly. So be prepared and take lots of water and food.

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    NYALA GAME PARK

    by johanl Updated Jun 9, 2007

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    Nyale park is a small gamepark which is being runby the owners of a sugar estate.
    But it is great to drive around and see the animals real close.
    It is hard to find, but once you are in the sugar estate area, south of Blantyre, the Malawians will show you the way.

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    LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK

    by johanl Written Feb 26, 2005

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    As the roads were too muddy in the park, we decided on going on a boattrip on the Shire river. Since this river boards the national park we had lots of opportunities to see the wildlife from the boat.

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    MOUNT MULANJE

    by johanl Written Mar 1, 2005

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    On the way to Mulanje mountain you will see a lot of tea and coffee estates.
    Many people earn their living on these estates.
    They stretch out for miles and miles.
    Most of the tea and coffee is still hand picked, processed and shipped overseas.

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    LIKHUBULA POOLS

    by johanl Written Mar 1, 2005

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    Before you start the climb of the mountain Mulanje, relax and refresh at the Likhubula natural pools.
    The pools are fed by the water of the many falls coming down from the mountain.
    It is a great experience to swim in there.
    No Bilharzia , cause it is streaming water.

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    LENGWE PARK

    by johanl Written Mar 1, 2005

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    Lengwe park is at the other side of the road of Nayla park.
    It is a big park and great things to see.
    Game watching from the diiferent loops is great.
    Do not forget to ask for a roadplan, before going in. You can get lost easely.

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    Visit a rural village and see how locals live

    by Christel21 Written Jul 13, 2004

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    We had a very unique experience since we had the opportunity to actually visit a very rural (no electricity or hot water) in a village about 10km outside Lilongwe every day for a week. We learnt about their lifestyle and a bit of Chichewa (their language) and their culture. We realize how friendly and kind most Malawians are. We learn not to take anything for granted.

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    Lunch with the locals of the very rural village

    by Christel21 Written Jul 13, 2004

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    Local chicken, peas, "zima" (maize) and green spinach-like veggies. We had the opportunity to have lunch with the locals of a rural village (Chimboa) where there's no electricity nor hot water. They made such an effort for us, showing superb hospitality. The chicken are free-range, and don't have much meat on them. Salt is also quite a delicacy. We learnt that Malawians take their time when having lunch. They sit at the table for about 45 minutes, eating very slowly. No rush, no stress. They have all the time in the world. African time ;-)

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Malawi Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Malawi off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Malawi sightseeing.
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