Overview – Nkhotakota WR
Nkhotakota is Malawi’s oldest and largest protected area. This huge, pristine wilderness has seen some heavy poaching, and wildlife numbers suffered. African Parks Foundation took over the management of the park in 2015 and has started an ambitious program to restore its former levels of biodiversity, most notably the translocation of 520 elephants to the park from Liwonde and Majete.
Pros & Cons
- Great unexploited wilderness area
- Two excellent lodges which cover most budgets
- Camping is available
- A chance to support a great conservation effort
- Activities include game drives and walks, canoeing and fishing
- Limited accommodation options in the park
- Limited road network in the park
- Wildlife viewing is difficult due to dense vegetation
Although hugely depleted of wildlife, there are viable and now growing populations of most large safari animals including elephant, buffalo, eland, sable and greater kudu. Predators are rarely seen, but lion, leopard and spotted hyena are present in small numbers. African Parks has relocated different species of antelope and 520 elephants from Liwonde and Majete to Nkhotakota.
This large reserve stretches from the Great Rift Valley in the west of the country to just short of Lake Malawi in the east. The rugged terrain covers a range of habitats with vast patches of miombo woodland, grassland and pockets of rainforest. There are several scenic rivers in the park, and both lodges are situated on the banks of the Bua river.
Weather & Climate
Nkhotakota has a warm climate and defined Wet and Dry seasons. As is typical in the tropics, temperatures are quite consistent throughout the year, but it gets noticeably hotter in October, just before the rains. Heavy rainfall and high humidity can be expected from December to March. June and July are the coolest months, and early mornings can be quite chilly.
Best Time to Visit
The best months for wildlife viewing are July to October, when the bush has dried out and animals gather at predictable water sources. At this time, the bush is also less thick, which makes animal spotting easier. Bear in mind, however, that October can be incredibly hot. Nature is at its most beautiful in the Wet season from November to April, but roads can become difficult to navigate and animals are dispersed.
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Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.
Malawi’s rising star
Spanning 1800km2, Nkhotakota was until recently a huge, empty reserve devoid of wildlife. However, once again conservation NGO African Parks has stepped in to protect the area. Despite its size, African Parks has fenced the whole perimeter...