Wilderness Walking

Walking along the Bua

Please note that during the rainy season and until the early part of the dry season, all but the shorter walking safaris are unavailable due to the problems of crossing and even following the river and also long grass and thick bush. We will clear the tracks as early as possible in the dry season so by early May, most walking safaris will again be open.

By far the best way to see Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is to leave your vehicle and walk. You may not come across buffalo or elephant but you will find wonderful woodland, fascinating flowers, intriguing insects and tantalizing tracks.

We offer walking safaris of between one hour and all day to suit all abilities. We also now offer two day walking safaris, with one-night fly camps included. Please see our "Packages and Specials" page for more details.

Early morning walks – the best time, when the larger mammals are most active – can be concluded with a bush breakfast beside the river in the dry season, late afternoon walks with sundowners in a wilderness setting. In the winter, lunch can be served overlooking crocodile pools. Take a full moon walk and see the reserve in, literally, a very different light!

We have now developed a number of longer, more challenging walks deep into the heart of the reserve, into the hills north of the river and following the gorge that the Bua flows through as it makes its way to the lake.

Crossing the Bua on the all-day hike

The Bua Gorge walk starts at Dwamfuni confluence, some 15 Km upstream from Bua River Lodge. We drop you there by car in the morning. From the confluence, you walk down the river, between high hills, encountering small waterfalls and rapids, until the river opens out again at Nyankhoma Pool. From here you continue following the river back to the Lodge.

A more serious, all-day walk, takes you across the river at Lisitu confluence, then up into the Bvundikira Hills to the north of the river. From their summits you will find wonderful views of the reserve, the river below you and Lake Malawi. You descend to the Dwamfuni river, which you follow back to the Bua, fording it again, to the southern bank. After a packed lunch, you continue downstream along the Bua Gorge and back to the Lodge.

The summit of Chipata Mountain

The ascent of Chipata Mountain on the western edge of the reserve is one of the more challenging activities on offer. The mountain rises to nearly 1,700 metres above sea level and is cloaked in magnificent evergreen forest.

We set out before sunrise in the lodge's open-topped land rover and drive right across the reserve to Chipata Camp. After a bush breakfast, we climb through sparse woodland on the steep lower slopes of the mountain until, quite suddenly, we are enclosed in the dappled light of the forest. A steep ascent under giant forest trees, with blue monkeys calling overhead, leads in one hour and a half, to the rocky summit. On clear days the views are stunning.

A packed lunch can be eaten on the summit or saved until we are back at the camp, where cold drinks also await.

Please note that we require prior notice for all-day hikes and the ascent of Chipata Mountain. Please book these activities when you book your accommodation.

In the future, we hope to be able to offer overnight hikes, with bush camping, to the more remote parts of the reserve. So little of the reserve is explored that hikers will be walking through areas little seen since the reserve was gazetted more than 50 years ago.