Malawi. The warm heart of Africa. Somewhere where Helen had been many years ago but where Sally had never been before. This was our first trip with our dmc partner, Crafted Africa, and we were both excited to experience what Malawi can offer first hand.

Crafted Africa have an experienced and growing team whom we spent some time with on arrival. What a great a bunch of enthusiastic and passionate guys. Mike has really invested in the team this year and they have all spent time visiting the key regions and product where CA operate: Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. By staying at the camps, lodges and enjoying the experiences firsthand, they are the go-to team for extensive and up to date knowledge. One of their key strengths is their ability to put together quotes matching the brief and budget and using any special offers to their best advantage.



What had immediate impact was how friendly Malawians are. They are gentle, polite and always smiling and this really struck a chord with us. We had a wonderful driver, Eddie, who was always on time, friendly, knowledgeable and with excellent English, drove us between our destinations in a clean, spacious and comfortable minibus.



We covered quite a distance during the time we were away. Each area was so different, so beautiful and so unspoilt that it showed us Malawi really is a land of stunning scenery, fascinating street life, crystal clear lake waters and wildlife conservation success.




We started at the Lake staying on two islands at Blue Zebra Lodge and Mumbo and then at the Lake shore at Pumulani. All offered different experiences with Blue Zebra offering all the watersports and Mumbo having more of a desert island feel, then Pumulani with the most enormous rooms and excellent in room facilities. Each would suit different clientele and were very relaxing and a stay at the Lake would work well at the end of a safari. We also visited Club Mak which is a small resort but is a good alternative to an Island stay.


Moving on to the much-anticipated Liwonde National Park. Arrival was rather special as we approached Mvuu Lodge by boat. Exciting to see such a riverine landscape and palm trees, incredible birds and game and then hippo in the water as we approached camp. Liwonde was such a beautiful park which took us by surprise. Plenty of game along the flood plains and beyond that, wooded safari drives where it was easy to see, large herds of waterbuck and buffalo. We had some incredible lion sightings with a pride of eight lion and plenty of ele action around camp which made it hard to get to and from the rooms at one point. The bird life was spectacular too. On our second night, we stayed in Liwonde slightly further north in Kuthengo camp and that made a big difference spending more time in the park. When guests stay longer, they can drive into the northeastern part of the park where it is quite possible to see rhino.

Keeping south, we found a wonderful little gem called Kefi hotel and café near the Zomba Plateau, which was really a home away from home. Real attention to detail to the rooms and a lovely family cottage. The gardens are beautiful and as we understand it, there was virgin forest from the edge of the garden, heading up the Zomba Plateau. Unfortunately for us, the weather was pretty terrible so we did not get a good look at the dam or the mountains but even just driving round, we could see that the whole area was pretty spectacular. Many people spend time walking and hiking in this area.

On to the Satemwe Tea Estates, again completely different, we stayed in a colonial style house called Huntington House. Sadly, the weather was against us, but we persevered and went to look at what would be a beautiful sunset spot ordinarily and we also experienced their extensive tea tasting which was fun.

The final part of our trip took us to Majete Wildlife Reserve where we stayed for two nights, the first one was in Mkulumadzi which has stunning views over the river, accessed via a suspension bridge and then another short hop in a vehicle. On the last night, we stayed at Thawale which was quite simple, but one of the African Parks lodges. It was inspiring to hear about what AP have achieved in this area, it really brought the whole camp and Park to life. There have been several game re-introduction programs and Majete sightings can include wild dog, cheetah, leopard, lion, hyena and plenty of other animals. We were fortunate enough to see the AP operation office and to watch some of their anti-poaching team do a training exercise with one of the specially train dogs. It was quite a sight!

Malawi really is a diverse, beautiful, exciting and surprising destination. For those guests who are looking for an off the beaten track experience combining safari with other experiences, Malawi has it all. It is excellent value for money and there is a good choice of different camps and lodges all offering something a bit different for different tastes and budgets.

We think that Malawi’s USP is the fact that it is off the beaten track. All the other guests we met along the way were visiting Malawi as they really wanted to escape the crowds and with just 2 camps in each of the key Southern Parks, this is easy to achieve, offering some fantastic wild and birdlife. The Lake provides another element to the whole trip and an under the sea safari as well as spending time with the wonderful Malawian people and staying in some hidden gems along the way.

We had an incredible journey and learnt such a lot. Our huge thanks to the Crafted Africa team for pulling this off and making such an impression on us and the operators who joined this trip.

Thank you.