Malawi: Miombo Magic: Aug 09—26, 2019
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This fascinating new destination takes us into a wildlife zone between South Africa and East Africa with a remarkable cross-section of African birds and mammals. We will visit diverse locations like Nyika National Park; Lake Malawi, where you can snorkel with the cichlid fish; Liwonde National Park; and the Viphya Plateau and Zomba Massif.
The little-known country of Malawi is emerging as one of the birding and wildlife gems of the amazing African continent. Best known for the great lake that dominates the east of the country, Malawi—with its low population and relatively large areas of varied habitats—ensures a spectacular list of many African birds difficult to see in more familiar African tourist destinations like South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania. Combined with some amazing conservation efforts and the development of superb accommodations and national park infrastructure, the tourists are starting to arrive in numbers. It is a good opportunity to visit before this well-kept secret becomes widely known.
We will visit the montane Nyika National Park, the lush lowlands of Liwonde National Park, Lake Malawi itself in the region of Chintheche, and both the Viphya Plateau and Zomba Massif. All of these locations offer different habitats: the famously bird-rich Miombo and Mopane woodlands, cloud forest, stunning wetlands, floodplains, and excellent rolling grasslands.
The birding is outstanding, and we expect a list of between 350–400 species including several Southern Rift endemics. Some of the special birds we will be searching for include Wattled Crane, Denham’s Bustard, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Böhm’s Bee-eater, Schalow’s Turaco, Usambara Nightjar, Blue Swallow, White-winged Babbling-Starling, Malawi Batis, Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, and Red-throated Twinspot to mention a few.
Beyond the birds we can expect to see a good cross-section of mammals: African Elephant, Crayshaw’s Zebra, Eland, Roan and Sable antelope, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Red and Gray duikers, Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest, Cape Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Yellow Baboon, Samango Monkey, Bushbaby, Spotted Hyaena, Serval, and Leopard are all possible.
Good accommodations; good food; great variety in landscapes (getting up to 7,000 feet); snorkeling possible on Lake Malawi with beachside accommodation; warm in the lowlands to cool temperatures in the highlands.