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Mvuu Camp in Liwonde National Park  | Best Safari in Africa?
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14 Nights in Malawi | Our Malawi Family Holiday with Responsible Safari Company

We spent 14 nights in Malawi over Easter and some of you asked why Malawi, or maybe why a Malawi Family Holiday? What is there in Malawi, why did you chose Malawi as your next adventure destination? Lot of questions as to why?

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The answer put simply was why not! When you see what a Malawi Family Holiday has to offer why would you not head out there and explore.

So this is the trip that Orbis Expeditions and their Sister Company Responsible Safari Company and Malawi Tourism put together for us, and it’s a Malawi Family Holiday you could all follow.

or maybe even head off on their October Half Term adventure!

You can see our highlights video of our 14 nights in Malawi below and there are a couple of other videos within the post too!

Family Trip to Malawi

We flew with South African Airways through Johannesberg into Blanytre in Southern Malawi where our Malawi Family Holiday began. The long haul flight was actually OK and the kids slept for 8 out of the 11 hours from London to Johannesberg.

Check out some of our long haul flight essentials here.

5 Unexpected Costs of an African Safari

We chose to spend 3 nights at our first hotel in order to allow the children some time to acclimatise and get over the long overnight flight.

So we first went to

Game Haven Lodge | Malawi Family Holiday (3 Nights)

Game Haven Lodge is a beautiful 500 acre game park and lodge, set in one of the last remaining indigenous forests and grasslands of the Shire Highlands of Southern Malawi approximately 20km from Blantyre on Chimwenya Game Park, Bvumbwe.

We got to experience wildlife which included Giraffe, Zebra, the “big” 6 antelopes, Kudu, Eland, Roan, Sable, Nyala, Waterbuck and prolific birdlife.
At Game Haven Lodge  there are 5 luxurious en-suite cottages, each complete with fireplace and verandah with exceptional views. There is also 20 spacious executive suites.
The game walk at Game Haven Lodge would be the reason to go back and stay.  We LOVED it. Watching the kids get up and close to such incredible animals was such a lovely experience and set off our 14 day trip to Malawi in an incredible way.

We even got chance to see the 3 week old baby giraffe due to our brilliant guide who found the giraffes fairly quickly and then lifted the kids up onto his shoulders so they could see.

You can read our full review of Game Haven Lodge here!


Game Haven Lodge | Hotel in Blantyre Malawi

From Game Haven Lodge we visited a couple of community projects in Blantyre – The Malawi Council for the Handicapped and the Pamet Recycling Company.

In between our time at Game Haven Lodge and Zomba Forest Lodge we made a slight detour (3 hour detour) to visit Mount Mulanje. We decided to visit Mount Mulanje mainly because we’d read up on the fact that you could get some of the best views in Malawi from the top. Whilst you don’t get anywhere near the top with kids we did thoroughly enjoy the trip.

You can read the full blog post about Mount Mulanje with Kids here.

Mount Mulanje with Kids

Zomba Forest Lodge | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)

Our two days at Zomba Forest Lodge were fabulous and I’d highly recommend it as a place to stay and to put on your Malawi Itinerary. It’s quirky and unique and I’m quite sure we will never stay anywhere quite like it again. Check out their website for booking details.

The food at Zomba Forest Lodge is what’s talked about most consistently on their Tripadvisor reviews and rightly so. The food descriptions are quirky and written up on a blackboard in the morning. You don’t quite know what’s going to arrive but when it does it is very very good. A clever use of local ingredients made with European flare meant over the course of two days we ate meals including Moroccan Tagine, stuffed breads, quiche, chicken and sweet potato surprise.  Matt and I loved the food and ate everything that was lovingly prepared. The quality of the ingredients and the way it was cooked really was quite exceptional.  It was also nice to sit around a table with people and discuss everything and anything.

You can read our full review of Zomba Forest Lodge here!

Whilst we were at Zomba Forest Lodge we also took part in some really fun activities with Yodep too some of which you can find in this video!

Mvuu Camp | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)

We were hosted at Mvuu Camp as guests of Central African Wilderness Safaris and I can honestly say that we had the most amazing time there. Mvuu Camp (and Mvuu Lodge next door) are set within the 548 sq km Liwonde National Park, which itself is a 30 minute flight from Blantyre (or three hours’ drive).  We actually arrived via a stay at Zomba Forest Lodge which took around 3 hours too.

Liwonde National Park, run by African Parks since 2015, is once again starting to show signs of improvement.   In the absence of an effective perimeter fence prior to 2015, high levels of poaching, illegal fishing and unsustainable deforestation had an adverse effect on the ecosystem and things had been looking incredibly bleak. Now however with the construction of a new 117 km of electrical perimeter fence, the elephant translocation and the re-introduction of cheetah, lions and rhino to the park, it’s definitely worth visiting Liwonde National Park and you most certainly won’t leave wondering if it was worth it.

We spent some time experiencing what African Parks have achieved in Rwanda so can’t wait to experience what they have achieved in Malawi too!

You can read our full review of Mvuu Camp here!

Have a look at which animals we saw! Some of these were seen at Game Haven too!

Pumulani | Malawi Family Holiday (1 Night)

What can I say about Pumulani Lodge from Robin Pope Safaris that hasn’t already been said by the countless 5* reviews on Tripadvisor.  It’s stunningly beautiful, service is exceptional and the villas have a greater square footage than most London flats.

We retired to our private deck at the villa with a nightcap and sat listening to the sound of the Lake before collapsing into bed, very happy and content, with only a little sadness at the shortness of our stay.

The name Pumulani means “rest well” in the local Chichewa language, and that’s exactly what we were offered – the chance to unwind in a beautiful and tranquil setting.

You can read our full review of Pumulani Lodge here!

Pumulani Lodge Review | Robin Pope Safaris

Makokola Retreat | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)

Makokola Retreat is magnificently set on an unspoilt Palm Fringed Lakeshore North of Mangochi, The Makokola Retreat is a retreat for relaxation, unwinding and recuperation. The resort is a popular and one of the good standard Malawi beach resorts on the shores of Lake Malawi.  However, over our 14 night in Malawi the resort offered the most “standard” accommodation compared to other unique and engaging experiences offered by the other places we were fortunate enough to visit.

You can read our full review of The Makokola Retreat here!

Club Makokola now The Makokola Retreat | Malawi Beach Resort

During our time at The Makokola Retreat we spent a fabulous few hours at the local Book Bus. We had the most wonderful time at the Book Bus that afternoon and if you are debating whether you should visit with your kids then the answer is most definitely yes. The visit had initially only been planned for and hour and a half but at 4pm when we were due to leave the girls were still enjoying themselves it seemed a shame to move them on.

You can read a full post on our experience at the Book Bus in Malawi here. 

The Book Bus Malawi | Changing Lives One Book at a Time

Domwe Island | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)

Domwe Island is a pristine, uninhabited island, which is part of the Lake Malawi National Park – a World Heritage site. We stayed at the only camp on the island, which has minimal environmental impact – and maximum comfort for guests! We stayed in a fully-equipped walk-in tent on a deck under a thatched roof! 

You can read our full review about Domwe Island here!

Domwe Island | Lake Malawi Accommodation

Chawani Bungalow | Malawi Family Holiday (2 Nights)

Chawani Bungalow is sited on the slopes of Thyolo Mountain, it’s a historic tea planter’s bungalow and is a relaxed, family friendly retreat surrounded by lush subtropical rainforest on Satemwa Estate. The kids had a fascinating day at the Satemwa Tea Estate and I wouldn’t hesitate to take them again.  It’s an easy day trip from Blantyre but also a lovely place to stay (particularly Huntingdon House!) if you’re travelling around Malawi.

Satemwa Tea Estate

After all that we went back to Blantyre for our long flight home via Johannesberg and back to the UK! What do you think do you fancy it??? if you do, do get in touch with Responsible Safari Company who specialise in Sustainable, Educational, Philanthropic & Experiential Group Travel to the country.  You’ll love it. We did.

14 Nights in Malawi | Our Malawi Family Holiday with Responsible Safari Company

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  • Reply
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller
    5th March 2018 at 2:42 pm

    There’s so much variety in this trip – it sounds like it’s going to be brilliant. I think I’d particularly love going off grid at Zomba Forest Lodge. Have an amazing time!

  • Reply
    Erin Ek Rush
    5th March 2018 at 9:12 pm

    What an experience for your girls! So much to see in two weeks!

  • Reply
    Kate Webb
    6th March 2018 at 1:30 pm

    We can’t wait to welcome Karen and her family. Just a note that we still have a couple of spaces left on our family half term adventure in October in case anyone is keen to join- kids need to be 7+ for this one. Many thanks Kate

  • Reply
    20th June 2018 at 3:01 am

    This looks like such an exciting adventure! It also makes a great guide for anyone planning to visit Malawi.

  • Reply
    Sam | North East Family Fun Blog
    20th June 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Love this post – I can’t imagine what it must have been like staying on an inhabited island!

  • Reply
    Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me)
    20th June 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Karen, this is brilliant – such a handy round-up of your adventures. You make it sound easy! And magical. Very inspiring. x

  • Reply
    Joanne Brady
    22nd June 2018 at 2:39 pm

    What an amazing experience, for yourself as well as the girls!

  • Reply
    Chloe: Picture Taker Memory Maker
    23rd June 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Oh my goodness Karen what an incredible trip! Those videos have really made me want to visit Africa. Your girls are awesome – they seem so at home with travelling so much.

  • Reply
    24th June 2018 at 12:35 am

    I love Malawi! I went there the years running between 03-05. We did Mount Mulanje, but none of the other bits you did. I even meet my husband when in Malawi, do I’d love to go back

  • Reply
    Zena's Suitcase
    26th June 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Everything about this trip is just mind blowing. As well as the school visits, I really love all the animal experiences you had. I would love to make memories like this one day with my family

  • Reply
    Ting at MTM
    29th June 2018 at 11:17 am

    Such a great round up of your adventure – you’ve made me want to do it all too.

  • Reply
    Gretta - Mums do travel
    25th November 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Your trip sounds fantastic, and I’m sure that all of you will remember it forever.

  • Reply
    4th March 2019 at 3:33 am

    Wow Karen, I really admire you for exposing your children to this kind of adventure. The photos shows that they are really enjoying and having fun. Is it okey to travel solo?

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      4th March 2019 at 8:25 am

      It was an incredible trip. Yes Malawi is really safe but I would also suggest if you’re wanting to travel to Malawi that you check out they run some fabulous womens trips in May and October that involve training some Malawi business women too.

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