Looking for the holiday of a lifetime? Here at Central African Wilderness Safaris we offer unforgettable travel experiences in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. Malawi is home to over 600 species of bird. Both Nyika National Park and Liwonde National Park provide excellent birding opportunities in varied natural habitats.
Widely recognised as the country’s foremost ecotourism operator, we specialise in organising luxury safaris as well as affordable travel options in Malawi whilst working hard to make sure that wildlife tourism has a positive impact on local communities and the surrounding environment.
Our lodges and safaris extend north from Mvuu Camp and Lodge in the country’s premier game viewing destination Liwonde National Park, via islands and lakeside camps on the breathtaking Lake Malawi, up to Chelinda Camp and Lodge on the spectacular Nyika Plateau.
Working in the wonderful protected areas and National Parks of Malawi is both a privilege and a responsibility.
Top Five Birds
- Thyolo Alethe
- Vincents Bunting
- Bar Tailed Trogon
- Pels Fishing Owl
- Yellow Throated Apalis
At Terra Incognita we support tours that do good in the world. They must help to conserve the environment, support local people, and educate their guests. Here’s what Abby Tochterman from Central African Wilderness Safaris said to us…
What conservation activities do you support through the tour, and your wider operations?
We have quite a few charities that run hand in hand that help both conservation and local communities. Our two main conservation programs are Root to Fruit and Children in the Wilderness.
Root to Fruit
Malawi is being deforested very rapidly. Many rural communities are reliant on firewood to cook and to provide warmth and light. The problem is not going to go away any time soon. Initiated by Master Banda and Children in the Wilderness kids, an indigenous nursery was started at Chintheche to provide saplings to communities to begin reforesting their areas. In 2012 we formed a partnership with a Swedish Company, Southbound and its owner, Ralf Holmstrom and formed a tree planting company named Root to Fruit. The company is run on strictly commercial lines. Two plots of land have been purchased and 12 people are permanently employed.
To connect Root to Fruit with our eco-tourism operation, CAWS launched the ‘Tree with Every Trip’ initiative, through which guests travelling with the company can opt to add USD 2 to their trip, which will go towards planting a tree in Chintheche and offsetting atleast a small amount of the carbon emissions that their journey might generate.
The nursery at Chintheche Inn itself comprises both tree growing mini ‘farms” and demonstration plots to hand on the knowledge of successful tree planting to interested communities. Several different types of tree are planted- Indigenous trees to reclaim natural forests from traditional slash and burn agriculture plots, wide rooted indigenous trees to be planted on river courses and headwaters to bind soil together and lessen erosion and wash off, fast growing trees-both indigenous and exotic to be used for firewood, and fruit trees to sell commercially.
Since its inception Root to Fruit has planted over 100,000 trees-. Seedlings are nurtured to a certain height and then distributed and out planted to communities in the area. The crucial element of this project is that we have set ourselves a goal of a 70% survival rate and regularly visit the out planted areas to see if this is being achieved.
Children in the Wilderness
Children in the Wilderness Malawi’s camp programme will celebrate 15 years of success this year. Each year, CAWS closes down one of its camps to paying guests, to host 70 children at three one-week camps. The camps are held at Chintheche Inn or Mvuu Camp and follow a comprehensive curriculum and a variety of activities are conducted to promote learning whilst instilling team work and confidence in the young participants.
Insight, care and commitment are required to conserve Africa’s pristine wilderness and wildlife areas. If we are to ensure that these places continue to exist – in this generation and those to come – we need the children who call these areas home, to understand the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives. Hence, our Children in the Wilderness programme: an environmental and life skills educational programme for children, focuses on the next generation of decision-makers; inspiring them to care for their natural heritage and to become the custodians of these areas in the future.
We are also proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects we support in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects. Children in the Wilderness is a non-profit organization supported by ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris and CAWS in Malawi, to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa.
How does the tour support local people?
We offer personalised travel experiences that have a minimal impact on the planet and a lasting impact on people. Central African Wilderness Safaris offers an array of holiday, travel and safari experiences in Malawi
Malawi is often recognised as one of the poorest counties in the world. A largely rural population lives in an environment that is daily less capable of sustaining it. The population is steadily increasing and is reliant on dwindling reserves of firewood, water and fish. Working in the wonderful protected areas and National Parks of Malawi is a privilege, a responsibility and a leap of faith.
Anyone in business in Malawi has to be aware of this reality and ask him- or herself: “Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?” If we are to survive, and thrive, our fate is unavoidably linked to the fate of Malawi. Simply put, commercial reality and environmental imperative mean that we must strive to be part of the solution. There is no long-term alternative. The mountains, National Parks, water sources and forests of our wondrous part of Africa are merely competing with other forms of land use. Tourism is the way forward for their long-term protection and sustainable survival.
Our research (more information) shows that the 102 employees of Mvuu sustain extended families of 1200. At each of our lodges we pay substantial concession fees to the government. Our groundbreaking initiatives with Children in the Wilderness and HELP Malawi at Nanthomba School were started to try to give the attending children a better chance of living in balance with the environment and being the conservation leaders of tomorrow. None of this is possible if the business is not vigorous. So exactly what is our philosophy? Is it all about making money, or is it about trying to make a difference in Malawi?
What type of environmental education activities do you incorporate into your tour?
One of our guests’ favorites must be on the trip they usually stop in Chintheche (if they are on a tour that runs in northern Malawi) where they can visit our Root to Fruit Nursery and learn about the impact deforestation has on Malawi. Guests also have the chance to visit the Rhino Sanctuary in Liwonde National Park and learn about Rhino Conservation.
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