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A different sort of safari in Africa.

Malawi for a different luxury safari vacation.

For safari traveller’s looking for a different type of luxury safari holiday in Africa, other than the usual game viewing destinations, they might choose Malawi for a safari vacation. The northern lakeshore up to the escarpment at the most northern point of the lake offers a more cultural safari vacation with a varied array of accommodation and scenery. The lake has much history with David Livingstone and of course the slave trade because the lakeshore formed part of the route taken south to the coast. The southern circuit of the lake has more game viewing opportunities and therefore a different option altogether.

Travelling to Malawi for a safari vacation is straightforward on the daily flight from Nairobi that connects very well with the early international flight arrivals into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport which could have you in Lilongwe by lunch time.

As an example of just two contrasts - standing on The Nyika Plateau in the north you could be mistaken into thinking that you were on the moors in the north of England – windswept with a purple carpet of tough hardy flora where as Nkhata Bay with it’s laid back attitude has long been a favourite destination on the backpacker trail.

Good roads enable safari travel at a decent pace passing through some of Malawi’s many tobacco plantations. Processions of women with bundles of tobacco leaves piled high on their heads on their way to deliver their load to the many tobacco presses by the roadside. Once baled the tobacco into manageable packs the tobacco is loaded on to the many lorries for the next stage of the process.

Both sides of the main highway running north from Lilongwe are stretches of local shops boasting wonderful names such as the “Let them talk” grocery store and a whole section devoted solely to coffin shops. And always people ready to smile and wave.

On arriving at the lakeshore itself Lake Malawi – known as the Lake of a Thousand Stars – it feels like you are beside the ocean not a lake. Sometimes it looks as though the surface of the lake is “smoking” but this is simply millions of lake flies rising high into the air in a short lived swarm.

For luxury safari honeymooners or simply the seriously romantic a stay at the luxury safari lodge Kaya Mawa is a must. Likoma Island sits in the lake approximately on the halfway point north to south and is the gateway out of Malawi if travelling on to Mozambique which borders the lake on the opposite side. Surprisingly the small island has a cathedral in the main village and is worth a visit.

It is an hour’s flight from Lilongwe in a small light aircraft across the lake to land on the island’s dirt runway – also used by local cows! A ten minute road journey and you are at the luxury safari lodge which has been hewn out of the rock to provide very attractive, comfortable, individual rooms with good en-suite facilities and private decking on to the lake itself. Each evening guests rendezvous at the bar for directions as to which of the thirteen different locations they have been allocated to for their evening meal.

Certainly a visit to Malawi will require flexibility on the part of the traveller as the accommodation can range from luxury safari style to basic African holiday properties.

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