Malawi is an excellent destination for birding enthusiasts
The small African country of Malawi, located in the southeast of the continent, is an excellent destination for nature and safari holidays. Although small in size, the country boasts a host of attractions. Its national parks, along with Lake Malawi, the world’s 9th largest lake, are home to an abundance of wildlife species- and the birdlife is plentiful, with an estimated 650 species recorded. Several near-endemic species are found in the country, including the Malawi batis, white-winged apalis, and east coast akalat. There are also several threatened and endangered species found in the country, including the white-headed vulture, the hooded vulture, and the Basra reed-warbler, among others. Each destination in Malawi offers different birding highlights.
These are the best destinations to visit in Malawi for a birding safari:
Lake Malawi is the country’s foremost attraction. The 9th largest lake in the world, and the 3rd biggest in Africa, it extends across the entire length of the country from north to south. Its clear waters are home to a plethora of fish species, most notably the colourful cichlids. The islands and beaches that fringe the lake make it the perfect destination for a relaxing holiday. The lake, island and shoreline habitats provide the ideal environment for birdlife. Malawi’s national bird, the African fish eagle, is found in greater numbers here than anywhere else in Africa. It is a common sight to see these mighty birds scooping up fish from the lake, and hearing their loud cry from trees on the shore.
Majete Wildlife Reserve is found in the south of Malawi, and is a great example of a conservation success story in Africa. Once the target of widespread poaching, the park was taken under new management and is now home to a thriving community of wildlife species, including the African Big 5. The reserve is home to over 300 bird species, with notable species including bateleur eagles, vultures and raptors. Migratory species are seen in abundance from July to November, including the tiny rock pratincole and the racket-tailed roller.
Located on Malawi‘s western border, Nyika National Park is the largest park in the country. Located at 2000m above sea level, the park’s high plateau produces beautiful views, unique cloud formations, and a combination of habitats that are home to an abundance of wildlife species. Over 400 bird species are found in the park. Denham’s bustard, wattled crane, and red-winged francolin are some noteworthy species to be seen in the park.
Liwonde National Park is located in the south of Malawi, and is bordered by the Shire River. Savannah plains, woodlands, riverine forest, swamps and grasslands combine to make Liwonde the perfect environment for housing over 400 species of birds. The rare Lilian’s lovebird, the smallest African parrot, is found in Liwonde. This beautiful bird is endemic to Malawi and the surrounding countries.