16-day Zambia and Malawi Livingstone Trail

With its mix of accommodation and camping, this is one of our more adventurous tours.  It is not for the faint-hearted and you will need to have some patience and flexibility as travelling (due to road conditions) can be slow and some nights the accommodation is more basic.  However, the adventure is worth the rewards with amazing scenery and fantastic highlights including paddling down the Zambezi, outstanding game viewing in South Luangwa, Kuti and Liwonde, Malawi’s highlands and of course the magnificent Lake Malawi.

DEPARTS:  LUSAKA on Saturday at 16:00pm
ENDS: LILONGWE on Sunday at 11:00am

Highlights
* Lower Zambezi – canoeing
* South Luangwa NP – game walk & 4WD game drives
* Mulanje Massif – tea plantations, hiking
* Liwonde – boat cruise & game drive
* Lake Malawi – snorkelling & island beaches

An exciting safari experience exploring the diversity of the lesser travelled South Eastern African countries. This tour is not for the faint-hearted, and requires some patience; the travelling can be slow, some nights the accommodation is basic, however the journey offers amazing scenery and fantastic highlights, well worth the long travel days. We recommend malaria prophylactics. A safari for travellers with a sense of adventure.

Overnight: 12 nights on safari we stay at chalets, tented lodges and guest houses, with en suite facilities.  3 nights camping (Sunway will provide tents, mats and chairs, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag).  Of which 1 night we “camp wild” without fences in the wilderness on an island in the Zambezi.

Meals: 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches & 7 dinners are included. Of which; 9 breakfasts are provided by the lodges. The remaining included meals are prepared by the Sunway crew at the vehicle & enjoyed around the campfire.

Transport: Due to the sometimes demanding road conditions you travel in a Sunway Safari truck with 12 seats. Potholes, speed bumps(!) & rain-damaged gravel roads are characteristic of the areas we travel through and can make driving slow and bouncy. However, we pass through roadside villages and thus have the opportunity to witness the local lifestyle. For the game drives in South Luangwa National Park, we use open-sided 4WD vehicles with local guides.

Limited participation: An essential part of your safari is some participation. From carrying your own bag to cleaning your window and packing the truck in the morning – it’s all part of your adventure. For the longer days if everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. Where the tour leaders provide meals we ask that clients help (on rotation) with washing up.

Highlights

  • Lusaka
  • Kuti Wildlife Reserve
  • Mulanje
  • Mumbo Island
  • Malawi
  • Zambia
  • Liwonde National Park
  • South Luangwa National Park
  • Lower Zambezi National Park
  • Chirundu

Tour Summary

Click to display the map

Full Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1 : Lusaka

[lodge - - -]
The group will meet in Lusaka, in Zambia, at 16:00 at the lodge. This evening, after the tour briefing, we have a group dinner at the lodge (own expense).

Day 1: Breakfast is not included
Day 1: Lunch is not included
Day 1: Dinner will be an own expense meal at a local restaurant

Includes:                    -
Overnight:                  Pioneer Camp – twin share en-suite safari chalet. Swimming pool, restaurant & bar.  WIFI not available
Distance/time:          N/A

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Day 2 : Chirundu

[lodge BL-]
(B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner)
A long drive takes us across the rolling Miombo forested hills of southern Zambia and down into the Zambezi Valley lowlands and our lodge on the banks of the Kafue River. Being a major tributary to the Zambezi River it is the largest and longest river lying entirely within Zambia. We overnight on its banks and enjoy the sunset from the elevated deck.

Day 2: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 2: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 2: Dinner will be an own expense meal at the lodge restaurant

Includes:                    -
Overnight:                 
Gwabi River Lodge – Twin en-suite rooms. Swimming pool & bar.  WIFI not available
Distance/time:          505 kms, ± 8 hours, excludes stops for sightseeing & lunch

 

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Day 3 : Lower Zambezi National Park

[1x camping BLD, 1x lodge BL-]
We paddle down the mighty Zambezi River, home of the tribal mythical god - Nyami Nyami. Canoeing past local riverside villages and magnificent scenery. We overnight at a wild campsite on Elephant Bones Island in the heart of untamed Africa.

Day 3: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 3: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 3: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    Full day canoe safari on Lower Zambezi with local river guides
Overnight:                Day 3: Wild Camping – we camp wild on an island for 1 night while canoeing on the Zambezi River. Wild camps have no facilities; we will need to take our own water and all equipment. Wild camping can be very enjoyable but please remember that we leave no trace of our stay and take all rubbish away with us. Toilets will be of the “dig and bury” variety. Sunway supplies all the camping equipment, except for your sleeping bag and pillow, which you need to bring. The dome tents we use are 2.2 x 2.2 x 1.8 metres and putting them up or down takes only 5 minutes. Tents have built-in insect nets. We supply mattresses, which are about 5 cm thick, warm and comfortable. The camp chairs have a backrest. You will need to bring your own towel.  WIFI not available.

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Day 4 : Chirundu

Day 4: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 4: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 4: Dinner will be an own expense meal at a local restaurant

Day 4: Gwabi River Lodge – Twin en-suite rooms. Swimming pool & bar.  WIFI not available

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Day 5 : Zambia

[chalet BLD]
We head north to Lusaka the capital of Zambia where we stock up on supplies in the bustling shops and markets. Taking the Great East Road we drive this afternoon, passing small villages and street side markets, until sunset. (This is a very long day of travel, original 2019 itinerary had camping on this day, but that campsite closed down, so now we travel a bit further on the day, but have upgraded the night to lodge. This also allows us to get to South Luangwa sooner on day 6).

Day 5: Breakfast provided by the lodge
Day 5: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 5: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    N/A
Overnight:                  Chimwemwe Lodge – twin standard rooms en-suite, restaurant and bar
Distance/time:          570kms, ± 9½ hours, excludes stops for sightseeing & lunch

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Day 6 – 8 : South Luangwa National Park

[lodge chalet BL-]
Make our way down into “the valley” of the South Luangwa National Park. This remote region is one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries where elephants, hippo, lion and leopard abound. Our lodge, on the banks of the Luangwa River, overlooks the national park and you can frequently see hippos and elephants from the camp swimming pool!

We explore the game management area and the national park on a game walk and open 4WD game drives, one at night with spotlights, to see nocturnal animals. (In the green season, Dec – Apr, walks may not be possible in which case we’ll do extra game drives).
There is time on the last afternoon either to relax in camp or take another game walk, game drive or village visit activity (own expense).

Day 6, 7, 8: Breakfast provided by the lodge
Day 6, 7, 8: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 6, 7, 8: Dinner will be an own expense meal at the lodge restaurant

Includes:                    South Luangwa National Park, 1x game walks, 2 game drives & 1 day national park fee.
Overnight:                  Wildlife Camp chalets swimming pool, restaurant & bar
Distance/time:          330kms, ± 5 hours, excludes stops for sightseeing & lunch
Optional Activities:    Game walks & game drives

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Day 9 : Kuti Wildlife Reserve

[chalet BLD]
We cross the border at Chipata into Malawi and make our way to the Capital Lilongwe where we restock on supplies, before heading to Kuti Wildlife Reserve. This reserve is home to wide selection of big mammal species including giraffe, wildebeest & zebra. The sable herds are the pride and joy of Kuti, flourishing in this environment and reaching over 100 animals.

Day 9: Breakfast provided by the lodge
Day 9: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 9: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    Entrance fee to Kuti
Overnight:                  Kuti Reserve –bush villas each with 2 twin bedrooms & 1 shared bathroom, restaurant & bar.  WIFI not available
Distance/time:          390kms, ± 6½ hours, excludes stops for sightseeing & lunch

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Day 10 – 11 : Mulanje

[lodge BL-]
We tour one of Malawi’s famous tea plantations in the Thyolo region before making our way to our lodge in Mulanje. Mount Mulanje’s bare rock flanks tower to almost 3002m, dwarfing all that surrounds it, and influencing cloud patterns in the area, making it an important source of rain water at the head of almost every river in this part of southern Malawi. Formed about 130 million years ago, the first European to see the Massif was David Livingstone in 1859, but archaeological investigation reveals evidence of human activity since the Stone Ages. We take a day walk on the slopes to see the streams, waterfalls and towering peaks.

Day 10: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 11: Breakfast provided by the lodge
Day 10, 11: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 10, 11: Dinner will be an own expense meal at the lodge restaurant

Includes:                    Guided walk on the slopes of Mount Mulanje
Overnight:                  Kara o’Mula – twin share en-suite rooms
Distance/time:          350kms ±5½ hours, excludes stops for sightseeing & lunch

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Day 12 – 13 : Liwonde National Park

[camping BLD]
Ancient baobab trees and lofty palms provide the backdrop for this magnificent southern Malawi reserve. Covering 548 km² of the upper Shire River plains and valley slopes, Liwonde harbours Malawi’s largest remaining elephant population and the critically endangered Black Rhino. The River Shire flows along its western border, allowing us to enjoy a boat safari, and we’ll game drive in our tour vehicle through the grassland and woodland habitats in search of leopards, elephants, hippos, antelopes and rare Lilian’s lovebirds.

Day 12: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 12: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 12: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 13: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 13: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 13: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    Boat cruise and game drives in tour vehicle
Overnight:                  Mvuu Campsite  – shared facilities, bar, restaurant
NOTE: it may be possible, on arrival to upgrade into the lodge. This is subject to availability and Sunway will contribute the equivalent of camping fee. We do not book lodge rooms because it would add excessively to the overall price of the tour.
Distance/time:          190kms ±3 hours, excludes stops for sightseeing & lunch, and game drive to camp

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Day 14 – 15 : Mumbo Island

[lodge BLD]
Lake Malawi is the jewel of Malawi and one the Great Rift Valley lakes. We head to the Lake Malawi National Park where we take a boat to the secluded tropical Mumbo Island, near Cape Maclear. The rustic lodge is an idyllic paradise with kayaks and snorkelling gear available to explore the island and snorkel with the jewelled fish, the endemic Cichlids. The friendly people of Malawi make it the “warm heart of Africa”.

Day 14 - 15: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 14 - 15: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 14 – 15: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    National Park fees and taxes, boat transfers, kayaking and snorkelling gear
Overnight:                  Mumbo Island – twin share rooms (some reed, some canvas all with thatch roof) with en suite bathrooms, & hot showers. The lodge has 7 rooms, so depending on group size and make up, this may affect single supplement options. There is no electricity on the island, so charge your camera before departing to Mumbo.
Distance/time:          160kms, ± 3 hours (subject to road conditions), excluding border formalities & stops for sightseeing

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Day 16 : Departure

[- B - -]
Leaving the shores of Lake Malawi we return to Lilongwe, sun-tanned, laid-back and ready to re-join life.
Tour ends @11:00am.

Day 16: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Distance/time:          260kms, ±4 hours excluding stops for sightseeing

Included

Accommodation as per itinerary
Meals as per itinerary
Transport
Professional guides

Excluded

International flights
Pre / Post tour accommodation
Airport transfers
Travel insurance
Visas
Vaccinations
Gratuities
Optional activities