Malawi is the warm heart of Africa and one of the most beautiful and compact countries in Africa. Malawian National Parks are a great example of this density and beauty. Though Malawi is a small country – only 118 844 square kilometres, including 1 / 5th covered by Lake Malawi – it encloses 5 national parks, each of them offering a new experience, landscapes, and wildlife.
You’ve got the time to visit them all? Lucky you! You’ll discover the wonders of Malawi, from forest to mountains, plateau to the lake! Time not on your side? Discover Malawi’s National Parks and pick the ones you dream of exploring most.
Kasungu National Park
Kasungu National park is situated in the central region, bordering Zambia, 175km away from Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city. It was established as a National Park in 1970 and is well known for its archaeological sites and rock paintings.
It’s 2500km2, 1000meters above sea level, offers vast areas of miombo woodland and bush with a grassy river channel. The Park is currently being rehabilitated by the Department of National Parks after suffering from poaching, but elephants and antelopes can easily be seen. Large numbers of hippos can also be spotted in Lifupe Lake. It is also possible to see small herds of zebras and buffalos as well as some predators such as leopards, hyenas, servals or jackals.
Lake Malawi National Park
The Lake Malawi National Park was the very first freshwater national park declared as a Unesco World Heritage site in 1984. This status protects the diversity of endemic fish as well as the aquatic habitat. Although the Lake covers one-third of the country, the National Park is only 94km2 including a land area around the cape, some islands, and, of course, the lake up to 100 meters offshore. Lake Malawi National Park is located in the South of the lake, with stunning scenery of rocky mountains plunging into the lake.
The transparent waters of the lake are home to cichlids, colourful fish, which live all around the lake: a real tropical aquarium!
Lengwe National Park
You will find Lengwe National Park in the South of Malawi, in the Shire River. It was created in 1970 and is the home of nyalas, which some sources say are indigenous. You’ll also find buffalos, striped back nyalas, kudus and more than 300 bird species!
This park is unique in Malawi. As it doesn’t have any source of perennial water it only receives enough water during the rainy season which results in exceptional dryness. The combination of a very flat and arid landscape makes the observation of wildlife very easy as animals congregate around the few waterholes of the park.
Liwonde National Park
The Liwonde National Park, founded in 1973, is one of the most beautiful parks of the country, it is situated on the left bank of the Shire River, Southern Lake Malawi.
This park is far less travelled than most of the parks in Africa and offers the densest concentration of wildlife in Africa, with 900 elephants, 2000 hippos, 300 bird species and hundreds of big crocs as well as antelopes, zebras and buffalos. You may also have the luck to see some lions, which are said to have recently come back to visit from Mozambique, or hear the call of the spotted hyenas! The park also hosts a sanctuary of black rhinos.
The beautiful scenery varies all around the park…
Nyika National Park
Nyika National Park occupies all the Nyika Plateau and is Malawi’s oldest and largest National Park, at 3200 km2.
Its top is frequently in clouds, both during the rainy and the dry season. Nyika Plateau is a succession of breathtaking hills, valleys of miombo woodland and evergreen forests. In the park, abundant rivers and impressive waterfalls define the name of the Plateau: Nyika means “Where the water comes from”
Thanks to these sources the plant life is abundant with more than 3000 plant species and 200 different types of orchids! Nyika is also home to the highest population of leopard in Central Africa and on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list for its cultural and natural beauty.