Zambia & Malawi small group safari

“An adventurous 16 day small group safari through lesser-travelled East Africa, with canoe safaris, game walks and secluded tropical beaches.”


Livingstone and Victoria Falls | Kafue River | Lower Zambezi River canoe safari | Great East Road | South Luangwa National Park | Kuti | Mount Mulanje | Liwonde National Park | Lake Malawi - Mumbo Island | Lilongwe

Description of Zambia & Malawi small group safari

A 16-day small group safari with a difference taking you through the ‘warm heart of Africa’ via spectacular game reserves and unspoilt lakeside beaches.
You’ll need a sense of adventure, and a bit of patience, to really embrace this small group safari holiday, but if you can relax into African time and go with the flow you’ll be amply rewarded with canoe safaris down the Lower Zambezi River, intimate game walks in one of Africa’s finest national parks and time to relax on pristine, baobab-lined beaches.

Taking you from Victoria Falls to Lilongwe, via the Zambezi River, Lusaka, South Luangwa National Park, Mount Mulanje, Liwonde National Park and Lake Malawi this adventurous safari is a step off East Africa’s well-trodden tourist routes, full of wildlife, local markets, big smiles and every day, bustling African towns.

You can expect basic accommodation and wild camping some nights, and a few slow journeys - but this is all part of the adventure. At the same time you’ll also be enjoying beautiful wilderness areas, stunning scenery and you’ll be sharing your experience with a friendly group of like-minded fellow travellers led by an expert guide.

Antimalarial medication is recommended for this trip.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?


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31 Jul 2021
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'Free from' food:
We can cater for Vegans, Vegetarians, gluten free and celiac. We will just need to know this ahead of time when the bookings are being made.
With experience of personally guiding tours through a large number of African countries, and having previously led groups including LGBT travellers through those countries, I have not experienced any issues in accommodations or during the trip as a whole to date. The important thing is to know the local laws and gain an understanding of local points of view before you travel – we can advise you on these and the UK Foreign office FCO also has lots of country-specific information on local laws and customs. If a country is on the conservative side, generally being careful not to openly show affection in public for example is enough to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. All our guides are welcoming of LGBT travellers and will be happy to give advice on the trip when/where needed.
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Our responsible touring and environmental awareness policy applies to everyone travelling with us and allows us to experience the lands we are visiting but also have a positive influence on the communities and ultimately the natural environment of Southern Africa. Our tour leaders inform our clients in the implementation of these policies, many of which will seem like common sense.

Some of the initiatives we have in place:

- Cooking on gas when feasible so that we don’t have to burn firewood which depletes limited resources (particularly in desert environments),
- Requesting clients to purchase small wooden carvings curio instead of large pieces, again to conserve the forests around the carving markets,
- Ensuring that we take all of our rubbish out of wilderness areas and use proper waste disposal facilities on all tours (and in the workshop).
- Asking clients to limit the amount of bottled drinking water they purchase, and drink the local drinking water in order to limit the amount of plastic bottles that are needlessly used.

We operate a number of tours into the National Parks of South Africa for underprivileged children from the SOS children’s village based in Johannesburg, South Africa. SOS Children's Villages is an independent, non-governmental and social development organisation. Its activities focus on neglected and abandoned children and orphans, as well as disadvantaged families. We try to run these tours as often as possible during the course of a year. We believe that the youth are Africa’s future and that environmental education is important. We secure sponsorship from a travel company based in the U.K, donations from clients, and income generated from our own tours to take the children to National Parks. This opportunity allows them to see for themselves wildlife, nature conservation at work, and also show them the many unique employment opportunities that are available in the conservation or tourism industry.

Environmental responsibility – e.g. details of: recycling, protecting wildlife / national parks, etc
Accommodation and Campsites:
- We try to book accommodation that is locally owned and involved in local responsible tourism initiatives. As at November 2007 we’re in the process of auditing all establishments we book to determine levels of commitment to community upliftment projects in their area.
- Campsites used are either locally owned, or a percentage of their income goes towards, schooling, or nature conservation & community projects.

Entrance Fees:
- All entrance fees go directly to the maintenance of National Parks of places of interest
- Entrance fees help with nature conservation practices and anti-poaching activities.

These local initiatives help to maintain local cultures and also sustain the ideals of wildlife conservation. Tourism, goodwill and conservation all work together and we aim to maintain the delicate balance at all times!

The Impacts of this Trip

Employment of local guides wherever possible – this provides direct revenues into the communities in the areas we visit, thus ensuring that local people gain benefits from our visits to their areas.

The employment of local guide adds value to our clients visit because they can gain specific local knowledge and expertise from the people who actually live permanently in the area they are visiting. These people live in these areas and have exceptional local knowledge about the wildlife & culture in those areas. By supporting and employing these people we are helping to ensure that their wildlife areas, scenic beauty and historical significance, and cultural integrity generate value for the community and are therefore appreciated and protected from development and exploitation. These interactions give our clients the chance to meet local people and see how tourism is benefiting Africa.

Below are a few examples of where we use local guides:
- Mkuzi village KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
- Okavango Delta polers trust, Botswana
- Botswana local national park guides, Botswana
- South Luangwa local walking and night game drive guides, Zambia
- Lower Zambezi river safari and rafting river guides, Zambia
- Hlane walking guides, Swailand
- San rock art guides, Brandberg Namibia
- San game walk guides, Kalahari Botswana
- Chobe River cruise guides, Botswana
- Cape Maclear local activity guides, Malawi
- Benguerra Island local dhow guides, Mozambique

We support the local community outside Mkuzi Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal by employing local guides for a village visit. This provides a truly authentic experience but also fosters a better relationship between the park, it’s visitors and the surrounding community (gain direct value from our visits as well as a portion of our camping fees)
- Zulu traditional village in St Lucia, a World Heritage site.
- Xhosa village on South Africa’s Wild Coast. As above this provides a truly authentic Xhosa cultural experience but also fosters a better relationship between local communities, tourists and tourism establishments.
- Himba village in Namibia, where these traditionally nomadic people are trying to keep a hold on some of their customs and cultures by deriving financial income from tourism.
- Cape Maclear in Malawi, where we use local boatmen to provide our snorkelling excursions


1 Reviews of Zambia & Malawi small group safari

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 30 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Bush walk in South Luanga National Park.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Reasonable level of fitness needed for kayaking on the Zambezi and hiking in Mulanje.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

To a certain extent; food shopping solely at Shoprite - did not support locals

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very enjoyable holiday: saw lots of animals, diverse range of activities, beautiful landscapes, very nice lodges.

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