Wild, full of wonder and naturally beautiful, Zambia is the very definition of Africa. The legendary Victoria Falls, abundant wildlife, remote wilderness and verdant wetlands entrance even the most seasoned travellers. Meanwhile, the astonishing landscapes, untamed beauty and easy-going vibes are what lure visitors to Malawi. Together, the two nations offer incredible experiences of Africa’s best nature parks.
The beauty and drama of Zambia and Malawi’s natural landscapes are unrivalled. Zambia’s iconic landmark is Victoria Falls. The impressive waterfalls or “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (“smoke that thunders”) is an incredible site to behold. When the Zambezi River plummets over the basalt plateau, it produces a thundering rush of torrential water that is almost palpable, with spectacular rainbows, clouds of fog and mist that can be felt for miles. With ample opportunities to view the Falls from above and below, there is no reason to skip out on this magnificent formation. In Livingstone, the epicentre of adrenaline sports, thrill-seekers can bungee jump and zip line over the Falls. When not gushing down the cliff with incredible force, the Zambezi River is an ideal way to spend a relaxing day sightseeing. Its calm waters make for great rafting tours and unparalleled sites of the Zambian wilderness and the occasional spotting of elephants, hippos and birds. Malawi is most known for its namesake lake, Malawi Lake – Africa’s largest freshwater lake and one of the richest sources of freshwater life. Despite being landlocked, the lake’s crystal waters, secluded coves, deserted islands and pleasant climate make for the perfect holiday destination. Whether lounging on the sandy beaches, kayaking the calm waters or snorkelling among the iridescent fish, you can’t help but feel at peace with nature.
Zambia and Malawi’s rich wildlife is highly underrated, with the nation’s wildlife safaris not as in demand as other countries like Tanzania and Kenya. Having suffered from poaching in the past, the two countries are making a strong comeback and offer their own unique and incredibly enriching wildlife encounters with some of the world’s most beautiful animals. Zambia’s Kafue National Park provides visitors with unrestrained trips through one of the most pristine wildernesses in Africa. Although it is the oldest and largest park in the country, many parts of it remain unexplored. The diversity of species here is phenomenal. Rare species of antelope are often seen, as too is the ever-elusive leopard. The Majete Wildlife Reserve has worked endlessly to rehabilitate and restore the park’s animal population. The big five (lions, buffalo, elephants, leopards and rhinoceros) call the Liwonde National Park home, however, leopards are best seen at the Nyika National Park. Additionally, Malawi’s birding and freshwater life is second to none, playing host to over 650 species of birds and between 500 and 1,000 species of fish.
The Malawi people are known for their beautiful handicrafts. The Kabwata Cultural Village in Lusaka great place to learn about the Zambian culture and the old traditions people have maintained and the new ones they have adopted.
Malawi and Zambia, have spectacular treasures to offer. The remote wilderness, diverse wildlife, laidback vibes and friendly people make holidays here incredibly rewarding and unique, with the freedom of roaming at your leisure without swathes of tourists.
Victoria Falls is one of the most impressive and breath-taking waterfalls in the world, straddling the Malawai/Zambia border. As the water cascades over the cliffs, plunging as low as 108 m into the depths of the canyons below, the effect is mesmerising. Meanwhile, close encounters with animals at the many parks and reserves provide another peek into the sheer magnificence that is Africa.
Lake Malawi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, shelters a larger number of fish species than any other lake in the world. The big five can also be viewed in the country’s Majete Wildlife Reserve. More than anything, it seems to be the nation’s peaceful atmosphere and welcoming people that make the land-locked country so alluring.
Things to do in Zambia and Malawi
For more information about Travelbag’s holidays to Malawi and Zambia, please contact us at 0871 703 4713 Costs 13p/min + network extras.
Although the time of year influences the climate, it is mostly hot and dry in both destinations. Be sure to pack plenty of lightweight clothing, light colours and layers. Moisture-wicking clothing is a great option, given the hot temperatures. A light jacket and layers are essential for those spending time in the bush. Zambia’s dress code is pretty conservative, as men outside of the bush are rarely seen wearing shorts. In cultural locations and public areas, women tend to adhere to more conservative style of dress with longer skirts and pants and covered shoulders. Bring comfortable walking shoes and sandals. Malawi is primarily a beach destination. So pack all beach essentials.
To prevent heat exhaustion and sunburn, bring plenty of sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and lip balm. Salt tablets, electrolyte packets and rehydrating solutions are great to keep on-hand.
Travellers are advised to take anti-malarial medication. In addition to medications, be sure to have plenty of long-sleeve shirts and pants, mosquito nets and insect repellent. Additional medical items include a first aid kit, anti-diarrhea medication, pain relief medication, antibacterial cream and water-purification tablets.
Binoculars and a camera are essential for safaris and other outdoor excursions. Also be sure to pack a torch, pocket knife and a sleeping bag and camp gear if it is not provided by the tour guide.
There are three seasons in Zambia. The dry season, which runs from mid-April to August, sees low temperatures at night with verdant landscapes. The hot season is from September to mid-November and can experience highs in the low to mid 30s. This is the best time to see the flora and fauna. The wet season, known as “Emerald season” lasts from mid-November to mid-April, with torrential downpours often occurring in the afternoons. During this time, temperatures average 30°C. In general, Zambia’s climate is moderate. November to April is the hot, rainy season in Malawi. Temperatures along the shore remain warm, with sun-filled days and mild nights. The nights in the Nyika plateau of the north, can see very cold temperatures. Temperatures in the summer months of January and February can become extremely hot and humid.
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