Zambia & Lake Malawi Honeymoon
Indulge in this exclusive Zambia & Lake Malawi honeymoon safari. Offering luxury and exceptional value, it is the perfect honeymoon getaway.
Prices: On request
Duration: 10 nights
Availability: June through November
Destinations: South Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park, Lake Malawi
i) Visit Kafue National Park, home to an astonishing 158 mammals and 497 bird species
ii) Observe rare and elusive game on exciting night safaris
iii)Track leopard in the South Luangwa National Park
iv) Relax on the serene shores of Lake Malawi
v) Explore the underwater world of Lake Malawi on snorkelling or diving excursions
A perfect honeymoon safari for those wishing to experience authentic Africa in exclusive locations. Kafue National Park and the northern sector of South Luangwa National Park are packed with wildlife and experience very few other tourists. Small and intimate accommodations are used throughout to intensify the solitude this part of Africa is renowned for. Like any good honeymoon there should always be time to relax and reflect. What better place to do this than on Likoma Island, a small mass of land seemingly floating in the middle of the huge and impressive Lake Malawi.
Best time to visit?
So what is the best time of year to take this trip to maximise your overall experience? Without knowing you yet this is a difficult question to answer. With so many variables to consider we need to know what is important to you before we advise on the preferable time for you.
There are many variables to consider when attempting to recommend the best time to visit. Specific considerations include the whereabouts of migratory animals, the effect the density of the vegetation and height of the grass has on wildlife viewing, special wildlife moments such as the birth of baby animals, and the effect weather patterns has on wildlife behaviour. Other factors to consider are the variation in prices at different times of the year, visitor traffic, whether you prefer a lush or relatively arid environment and of course the annual climate, namely temperature and rainfall values.
For this reason we present detailed information for each individual destination in the locations section to help you understand what may work best for you. We will of course have an in-depth discussion with you prior to making a booking so you are completely happy with the time of year you decide to travel.
- Game drives
- Night drives
- Walking safari
- Motorboat safaris
- Breakfast in the bush
- Kayaking and paddle boarding
- PADI 5 star diving
- Domestic flights as described in the daily itinerary
- Return flights to Lake Malawi
- Ground transfers as described in the daily itinerary
- 10 nights accommodation as stated
- All meals and drinks as stated in the daily itinerary
- All relevant taxes and surcharges
Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure Begins
Board your overnight international flight from your chosen airport to Lusaka, Zambia.
Ila Safari Lodge, Kafue National Park (D)
Today you will arrive in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, where you will be extended a warm African welcome by our representatives. They will take good care of you and look after arrangements for your short charter flight to Chunga Airstrip in the vast Kafue National Park. You will experience nature at its finest as you slowly make your way to camp, stopping on route for interesting sightings. On arrival in camp you will be introduced to the camp and staff before being served dinner. There may be an opportunity for a night game drive to kick your safari off in style.
Ila Safari Lodge, Kafue National Park (B, L, D)
After a restful night you will rise early for your morning activity. Early mornings are an exceptional time to be out in the bush as animals are at their most active. You may be lucky enough to see one of the nocturnal predators at the tail end of their night hunting. The morning activity will usually be in the form of a game drive to enable guests to explore large expanses of the reserve.
Kafue National Park is the oldest national park in Zambia. It is also the largest in Zambia, and even Africa. The mammal diversity you will expect to see is no less than phenomenal. It is exceptional for cheetah and lion sightings, as well as being an African wild dog stronghold. You will expect to see a huge variety of antelope with special sightings such as roan, sable, red lechwe and the elusive swamp-dwelling sitatunga not uncommon.
Ila Safari Lodge is an excellent camp in which to experience all the wonderful Kafue National Park has to offer due to its variety of game viewing activities. Choose from game drives by night or day, walking safaris, or motorboat excursions.
Shawa Luangwa Camp (B, L, D)
Today you say goodbye to the Kafue National Park and head east to Zambia’s flagship park, South Luangwa National Park. You will be glad of the ’lie in’ this morning as your day starts with a casual breakfast, before a slow transfer to the airstrip for your onward charter flight to Mfuwe. On arrival at Mfuwe you will be collected by a driver from Shawa Luangwa Camp and transferred to the quieter northern area of the park. The transfer is a pleasant 40 minutes drive through villages and the park itself. The northern sector of the park is characterised by a plethora of wildlife but only a fraction of the tourists you would see in the central areas of the park. This delivers a very productive yet authentic safari experience.
You will arrive in camp by lunch time. After an orientation around camp and an introduction to your living quarters you will be whisked off onto your afternoon game activity before returning back to camp for dinner. You may then choose to head back out into the bush on a night game drive or decide to relax and listen to the rhythm of the bush in camp.
Shawa Luangwa Camp (B, L, D)
These next two days are dedicated to exploring this magnificent park. South Luangwa National Park is recognised as a hotspot for leopard sightings. This usually elusive feline makes itself conspicuous along the riverine forests of the Luangwa River. The park is also excellent for sightings of lions, hyenas, crocodiles and hippopotamus. Elephants and huge herds of buffalo are easily seen.
Game drives and walking safaris are the main wildlife viewing activities for your enjoyment. You will also have the opportunity for a breakfast in the bush experience, one we would highly recommend.
Kaya Mawa, Lake Malawi (B, L, D)
Today is the day you effectively finish the safari portion of your trip and earn a well deserved rest after all the excitement and early starts. Your day will again start with a relative ’lie-in’ before enjoying a hearty breakfast to set you up for the day ahead. Transfer to Mfuwe Airport before flying over the international border to Lake Malawi. On arrival you will quickly begin to realise you have arrived in paradise, the perfect place after a hectic safari.
Kaya Mawa, Lake Malawi (B, L, D)
These three days are entirely at your leisure. The beauty of staying on Likoma Island is you can choose to simply relax and do very little, burn off any remaining energy you may have by enjoying the plethora of water sports on offer or get out and about on the island and meet the exceptionally friendly and welcoming locals. Of course you can do a little bit of everything. Your time is yours.
The End Of Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure (B)
Sadly, all great things must come to an end as you call time on your trip of a lifetime. You will transfer to the local airstrip in preparation for your flight to Lusaka International Airport or Lilongwe Airport. Here you will reflect on everything you have experienced in such a short period of time before boarding your international flight to your home destination.
Shawa Luangwa Camp
South Luangwa National Park
Overview: Shawa Luangwa Camp is a new addition to the relatively few camps populating the northern area of South Luangwa National Park. It is named after legendary guide Jacob Shawa who was named as one of the top 8 guides by Wanderlust. The camp, rather unique in its design, is perfectly located overlooking the Luangwa River. The central boma is double story lifting you up to have a clear view over the river, a perfect spot for armchair wildlife viewing.
Accommodation: 5 double or twin tents including 2 interconnecting family tents. Each tent is ensuite with full access to running water.
Facilities & Amenities: The camp is small and intimate but has a swimming pool to enjoy in between safari activities.
Power & communication: Each tent is fully equipped with electricity. WiFi is available throughout, albeit slow. Mobile phone coverage is limited.
Activities: Walking safaris, game drives, breakfast in the bush
Children: Children of all ages are permitted to stay at the camp. Those under 5 stay for free whilst those 12 and under stay at a reduced rate.
Accessibility: The camp is most easily accessed by air from Lusaka to Mfuwe Airstrip outside the park. The camp is then reached by a 40 minutes road journey.
Ila Safari Lodge
Kafue National Park
Overview: Ila Safari Lodge is located in the central sector of the massive Kafue National Park. Each tent has been individually designed to mesh with the flora surrounding it providing shade, privacy and your very own piece of Kafue wilderness.
Accommodation: 10 luxury tents each overlooking the Kafue River. The interiors as well as the private decks are furnished in chic, modern African style and every comfort has been considered. All tents feature en suite bathrooms and either outside showers or baths.
Facilities & Amenities: Public areas include the dining area and a swimming pool.
Power & communication: The camp runs on full electrical power. Mobile phone network coverage is unreliable.
Activities: Game drives, night drives, motorboat safari, walking safaris
Children: All ages are welcome
Accessibility: The camp may be reached by road from Lusaka (3 hours). However, most visitors will arrive by charter flight into nearby Chunga Airstrip.
Overview: Situated on the stunning Likoma Island in the middle of Lake Malawi. Kaya Mawa, meaning Maybe Tomorrow, offers the ultimate beach destination in Africa, as an amazing escape in itself, before or after your safari elsewhere.
Accommodation: 3 standard chalets, 4 premium chalets, 2 houses, 2 family houses and the 4 bedroom Ndomo House. Each accommodation has its own unique design. As expected all are ensuite and some have private pools.
Facilities & Amenities: Swimming pool, private areas to relax, beach
Power & communication: The lodge is equipped with full electrical power. WiFi is available but limited. Mobile network coverage is limited.
Activities: Scuba diving and snorkelling, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding, kite surfing, waterskiing and wakeboarding, mountain biking, quad biking, football and fishing.
Children: All ages are welcome. Those aged 4 and under stay for free. Children 12 years and under pay 50% of adult rate.
- Special Status: N/A
- Location: Eastern Zambia
- Land mass: 9,050 km²
- Mammal species: 60+
- Bird species: 400+
- Big 5 reserve: No (Rhino are absent)
- World class walking safaris
- Multi-day walking expeditions
- Game drives
- Night drives
- Fly camping
- Boating safaris (seasonal)
- World-leading leopard destination
- African wild dogs
- Large abundance and variety of game
- A plethora of varied safari activities
South Luangwa National Park is the flagship park and jewel in the crown of Zambia’s safari circuit. Despite this it is little known outside of the enthusiastic safari community. This relative obscurity protects it from overcrowding for now.
With a total land mass of 9050 km² South Luangwa protects a very respectable area of pristine African wilderness. It is located in the Luangwa Valley in the north-east of Zambia, nestled between the remote North Luangwa National Park and the Lower Zambezi National Park.
The park is reachable overland from Lusaka but the more medium budget, and certainly high-end safaris, fly in and out of the Mfuwe Airport close to the park’s border. Flying is much more efficient and helps to easily combine South Luangwa with other locations in the country and across international borders. Due to its location and domestic flight schedules it is most easily combined with the two aforementioned national parks, as well as further south with Victoria Falls.
South Luangwa National Park is unfortunately only recognised as a Big 4 location. The notable absentee, as is the case in many wildlife reserves across Africa, is the black rhinoceros. Its fate caused by uncontrolled poaching. Despite the best efforts to reintroduce this magnificent animal attempts have unfortunately failed so far.
The park has all the other big game you would expect to see on safari. It is perhaps recognised as the best place in the whole of Africa for observing leopards, only rivalled by the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa. If you are desperate to see leopard then visit South Luangwa for a great opportunity. As well as leopard, it is home to all the other cast of predators including lions and spotted hyena. Cheetah are present but the environment is less suited to their hunting style. Wild dogs reappeared back in 2015 and sightings are being reported as pretty reliable given their well-documented elusiveness.
The predators are supported by a diverse number of prey species including impala, greater kudu, warthog, bushbuck and waterbuck. The park is also home to three special sub-species that are endemic to the Luangwa Valley, these being Cookson’s wildebeest, Thornicroft’s giraffe and Crawshay’s Zebra. Other ungulate highlights include the 18,000-strong hippopotamus population, the densest in the world, that populate this stretch of the Luangwa River.
Birders will be especially keen to witness the 400 plus species of birds, especially the thousands of carmine bee-eaters that migrate to the Luangwa River for 3 months of the year.
Best Time To Visit
The climate of South Luangwa National Park can be simplified by dividing it into the dry season and wet season, with two transitional shoulder seasons. Each season, and indeed the months within each season, offers you a different experience. There is no time of year that offers you the best of everything so we provide you with a balanced account throughout the year so you are able to make an informed decision on the best time to visit based on your preferences.
The dry season runs from June to October. It is at this time of year wildlife viewing is at its best. The season, as its name suggests, is characterised by blue skies and no rain. A perfect time to be on safari. As Zambia is in the Southern Hemisphere this time of year is winter. The coolest months are July and August when night temperatures drop enough to necessitate warm clothing for early morning game activities. However, the sun quickly raises the mercury so expect to be basking in 30 degrees Celsius by lunch. Temperatures increase as the season draws on with October being extremely hot and dry and uncomfortable for those who do not enjoy such high temperatures.
Wildlife viewing is at its best in the dry season as the animals migrate towards permanent sources of life-giving water. This predictability and reliability makes game viewing much more reliable and predictable. Huge volumes of wildlife can be seen in one place which makes for great photographic opportunities. The negative aspects of the dry season are the premium price tags the camps carry at this time of year and also the dry and dusty park isn’t as beautiful as in the wet season.
The wet season runs from December to March. Rainfall is a feature of most days in the form of heavy showers and thunderstorms yet it rarely rains all day. Travel can be difficult at this time of year and some roads may become washed out. The presence of water throughout the park and beyond its boundaries allows wildlife to disperse into the hinterland making game viewing generally more of a challenge. However, many species of animals give birth at this time of year so it is the best time to travel for the cuteness factor.
Prices are at their lowest at this time of year but it must be noted most of the remote camps are closed. However, permanent lodges stay open and offer attractive rates. The wet season is definitely the best time if you are looking for an exclusive safari where other tourist vehicles are a rare sighting. Although South Luangwa National Park certainly isn’t a busy park it can suffer occasional crowding around water sources in the dry season.
The transitional shoulder seasons are November and April and May. At these times of year they represent a transition from the dry to wet season and wet to dry season respectively. These months are considered to offer a compromise between the two main seasons.
- Special Status: N/A
- Location: Central Zambia
- Land mass: 22,400 km²
- Mammal species: 158
- Bird species: 497
- Big 5 reserve: No (Rhino are absent)
- Game drives
- Night drives
- Motorboat safaris
- Walking safaris
- Premium walking safaris
- Cultural interactions
- Boat cruises
- Hot air balloon safaris
- Immense game viewing opportunities on the Busanga Plains
- Amongst the most biologically diverse locations in Africa
- High-quality and authentic camps
- Premium-quality walking safaris
- Night drives
- Canoeing safaris
- Exceptional predator sightings
- Cheetah hotspot
The Kafue National Park occupies a huge mass of land in central Zambia. Commanding 22,400 km² of pristine wilderness Kafue is the largest and oldest national park in Zambia. It is indeed the largest national park in Africa.
The park is divided into distinct sectors with the quiet and remote Nanzhilla sector and the wildlife-haven of the Busanga Plain sector in the north of the park being notable areas. The Kafue River dissects the park and provides a perennial water source for many animals. The habitats within the park are very typical for Southern Africa and consist of miombo woodland, teak forests and mopane woodland. Dambos, which are seasonally flooded areas, provide a reliable water source for animals to congregate well into the dry season. The signature habitat of the park is the Busanga Plain area in the far northern reaches of the park. With wide open plains spanning a huge 740 km², this area supports an unbelievable variety of wild animals.
Kafue National Park is amongst the most diverse of any in Africa, providing a safe environment for an astonishing 158 mammal species, as well as a remarkable recorded 497 species of birds. Visitors to Kafue will be awed by the variety and abundance of wildlife on offer. If you ever thought of an animal you would like to see in Africa there’s a good chance it will call the Kafue National Park home.
Predators are well represented in the park and it has the full array of predators in good numbers. Lions are numerous in the park and sightings are exceptionally reliable. Wild dogs, a rare sighting in many African parks and reserves, are also relatively conspicuous throughout the park. Although not as populous as in the South Luangwa National Park leopards are also often encountered. The Busanga Plain is recognised as one of the few strongholds in the park for the cheetah. This elegant feline is becoming more and more difficult to view on safari due to its dwindling population and low densities. However, there are a few hotspots throughout the continent where it continues to thrive, Kafue being one of the best. Smaller carnivores include serval, caracal, honey badger, African civet and common genet.
As expected the park is home to an abundance of herbivore species to support the predator population. Incredibly no less than 20 antelope species alone have been reported including rare and special species such as roan, sable, red lechwe and the semi-aquatic sitatunga.
Although a national park, it benefits from relaxed regulations as is the case with most parks in Zambia, unlike the more regulated East African offerings. Game drives are permitted both by day and night, walking safaris are conducted by some of the best guides in the business and motorboat excursions are regularly available on the rivers of the Kafue. For those interested in enjoying a more serene experience on the river canoeing is an excellent activity to get up close to large game. Hot air ballooning is also available, as is catch and release fishing. The park is home to a phenomenal array of birds ensuring birders have excellent opportunities to spot new species.
Best Time To Visit
The climate of Kafue National Park can be simplified by dividing it into the dry season and wet season, with two transitional shoulder seasons at the end of each (November & May). Each season, and indeed the months within each season, offers you a different experience. There is no time of year that offers you the best of everything so we provide you with a balanced account throughout the year so you are able to make an informed decision on the best time to visit based on your preferences.
The dry season runs from June to October. It is at this time of year wildlife viewing is at its best. The season, as its name suggests, is characterised by blue skies and no rain. A perfect time to be on safari. As Zambia is in the southern hemisphere this time of year is winter. The coolest months are June to August when night temperatures drop enough to necessitate warm clothing for early morning game activities (5-6 degrees Celsius). However, the sun quickly raises the mercury so expect to be basking in 25 degrees Celsius by lunch. Temperatures increase as the season draws on with October being extremely hot and dry, and uncomfortable for those who do not enjoy such high temperatures.
Wildlife viewing is at its best in the dry season as the animals migrate towards permanent sources of life-giving water. This behaviour ensures game viewing is much more reliable and predictable. Huge volumes of wildlife can be seen in one place which makes for great photographic opportunities. The famous Busanga Plain in the far northern reaches of the park is packed with huge densities of wildlife. The negative aspects of the dry season are the premium price tags the camps carry at this time of year and also the dry vegetation isn’t as beautiful as it is in the wet season.
The wet season runs from December to April and are difficult months to travel. The black cotton soil and roads being washed away by heavy rains renders travel almost impossible. The Busanaga Plain in the far north of the park is entirely off limits. Rainfall is a feature of most days in the form of heavy showers and thunderstorms, yet it rarely rains all day. The majority of camps are closed with only a few staying open and reopening outside the dry season months. We personally don’t see much advantage to travelling at this time of year.
The transitional shoulder months are November and May. At these times of year they represent a transition from the dry to wet season and wet to dry season respectively. These months are considered to offer a compromise between the two main seasons and offer many benefits to travel. Tourist numbers are significantly less, prices are extremely favourable and although wildlife is more dispersed and difficult to observe you will have sightings to yourself. Some of the smaller and more remote camps will be closed at this time of year.
- Special Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site (Lake Malawi N.P portion)
- Location: Eastern Malawi/ Southern Tanzania/ Western Mozambique
- Area: 29,600 km²
- Length: 580 km
- Width: 75 km
- Max. depth: 706 metres
- Did you know?: Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other lake in the world.
- Scuba diving
- Paddle boarding
- Mountain biking
- Quad biking
- Cultural visits
- Exceptional scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities
- 1500 kilometres of pristine and deserted shoreline
- Outstanding water sports available
- Perfect safari combination destination
Lake Malawi is a huge expanse of fresh water stretching across 3 African countries, Eastern Malawi, Western Mozambique and Southern Tanzania. It covers an impressive 29,600 km², almost 3 times the size of the island of Jamaica and larger than the African country of Rwanda. It is the southernmost lake in the East Africa Rift system and a member of the African Great Lakes. It is the 4th largest fresh water lake in the world by volume and the 9th largest by surface area. It is the 2nd deepest lake in Africa and 3rd largest by surface area, a colossal lake.
The lake and its surrounds offer a real Out of Africa experience. The environment is dominated by the lake’s clear water and the islands punctuating the water’s surface against the backdrop of the Great African Rift Valley escarpment. Habitat types vary from rocky shorelines to sandy beaches. Further inland you will find wooded hillsides to swamps and lagoons.
The lake’s 1500 kilometres of pristine and deserted shoreline are the main attraction for visitors. Lake Malawi is a sought after destination for safari goers as an ideal alternative to the hectic pace of life on safari. Naturally it is combined with the emerging safari locations in Malawi. However, it’s relative ease of access to and from some of the established safari heavyweights in Zambia and Zimbabwe ensure it is often used in combination with these.
Although time spent at the lake is seen as an alternative to safari there are still wildlife opportunities available in and around the lake. Large species of wildlife include Nile crocodiles, hippopotamus, antelopes, hyrax and baboons and monkeys. Visitors are also likely to see one of the iconic raptors of Africa, the African fish eagle. This impressive bird occurs in impressive numbers around the lake. Other impressive bird species include herons, kingfishers and cormorants. The lake particularly comes into its own with its impressive aquatic life. The lake is home to more fish than any other lake in the world. There are a recorded 700 (but an estimated 1000) cichlids inhabiting the lake, more than any other body of water. Of the 350 mbuna cichlids, an astonishing 345 are endemic to the lake. Other species of fish are the now critically endangered kampango, tigerfish and redbreast tilapia.
Most visitors to Lake Malawi visit for the opportunity to escape the pace of the real world or to partake in the exceptional diving and snorkelling or watersports on offer on the lake. It offers the perfect alternative to life on safari. Stays at the lake are easily combined with reserves in Malawi
Best Time To Visit
When considering the best time to visit Lake Malawi there is thankfully less to consider than when planning a visit to the more complex safari areas. The climate around the lake roughly falls in line with the rest of the country and indeed most of the wider region. Malawi has two distinct seasons, the hot and wet summer season and the cooler but dry winter season. The summer season runs from November to April and is characterised by hot and humid weather and significant rainfall. The wettest months are December to January. Winter runs from May to October and enjoys blue skies with very little rainfall. June to August are the coldest months on the calendar but the low altitude ensures days are still warm and enjoyable by the beach. September and October really start to warm up whilst still remaining dry.
The dry winter months are undoubtedly the best months for those wanting to relax by the beach and soak up the delightful weather. December to February are best avoided. Snorkelling and diving are productive all year round but are best from September to December. June is the windiest month so is enjoyed best by windsurfers and kitesurfers. Other than these factors we always recommend travelling in the dry season.