When I first visited Liwonde in 2017, it was a tranquil, pleasant park. Without any predators to fear, antelopes grazed blissfully on the floodplains like the stars of a Disney movie. Red-eyed doves cooed from treetops, kingfishers flitted between papyrus fronds, and hippos yawned languorously in the Shire River.

What a difference six years makes.

Not that the park’s charm has diminished one little bit. Quite the contrary. But the introduction of lions and cheetahs – species that historically roamed these regions – has added a new, exhilarating dynamic to Liwonde, elevating game viewing to put it on a par with some of Africa’s greatest safari destinations.

Yet, while Kanya's Maasai Mara heaves with crowds and prices spiral in the Serengeti, Malawi remains a refreshing find. In tourism terms, it’s still off the beaten track, which is why we’ve chosen to launch a new Yellowwood tour showcasing our favourite places.

Malawi is also an inspiring conservation success story, an example of the 180-degree turnaround even the poorest nations can make to preserve wildlife and wild spaces. With the help of NGO African Parks, both Liwonde and Majete – two parks visited on our tour – have been restocked with animals, generating jobs and income for local communities.

What really makes the destination shine, however, is its glimmering lake. This is the adventurous bush and beach option where you can track rhino one day and drift along sparkling waters in wooden dhows with sails full mast the next. Continue a safari underwater in the lake’s southern section, declared a national marine park, snorkelling in search of colourful, endemic cichlid fish. Afternoons spent swinging on a hammock, watching fishermen head out for their catch, are just as fun.

Largely undeveloped, Malawi is raw Africa. Life here is simple and the pace is satisfyingly slow. Admittedly, in places, the roads are bumpy - but the best ones (the ones we like to follow) always are…

Take a look at our open group itinerary with multiple departure dayes this year:

Safari & Swimming at Lake Malawi