Malawi birding sites

(All directions are from Lilongwe unless mentioned otherwise)

Ntchisi Forest Reserve covers Ntchisi Mountain (1,655 m), with
some of the best evergreen forest in the Liongwe area. To reach Ntchisi
Forest from Lilongwe, take the M1 north towards Kasungu and turn right
after about 25 km on to the M19 passing west of Dowa towards Ntchisi
boma. Alternatively, in the dry season, turn right at Mponela on the
D87. South of Ntchisi there are two sings to Ncchisi rest house. Follow
the second northern sign turning right on the toad to the rest house,
over high plateau grassland for a further 16 km. (According to “Day
Outings from Lilongwe by WESM).

Kutti Game Reserve – Take the Lilongwe/Salima road. About 10 km
before Salima, you will see a sign for the reserve. In addition to the
grasslands and palm savannah, there is a pond covered in lily pads

Lifuwe Rice Scheme - Take the Lilongwe/Salima road. Continue pass
Salima. At the sign with a smiling face and at the corner of the
military airfield, turn left. Continue for 15 plus kilometers. A good
place to see Collared (Red-Winged) Pratincole. On route, you cross over
a bridge. You can bird to the left in the Palm Savanah or carry on to
the right and follow a thin path to Safari Beach Club (next to the
Livingstone Hotel)

Mpatsanjoka Dambo - (outside of Salima) - A large marsh land
between Salima and Senga Bay. Accessible from road leading to Hippo Pools.

Thuma Forest Reserve – Take the Lilongwe/Salima road. Keep your
eye open for the power plant on the left. The turn off is on the right
hand-side. Black-bellied Bustard seen in this area.
Dzalanyma Forest Reserve - Premiere miombo woodlands. Contains a number
of Malawi endemics. Take the road through Likuni and pass the Lilongwe
Sailing Club. For more directions to the Dzalanyma Forest Lodge, visit
Land and Lakes Safari.

Chongoni Forest Reserve (Dedza) - Hilltop reserve behind Forestry

Bembeke Dambo- Go pass Dedza and turn left at Bembeke (sits on a
turn on the M1). Turn a sharp left at the stores. If you are confused
ask for the Bembeke Mission. Continue down the road about 1 – 2 km. On
your right hand side, you will see a low lying wetlands.

Lilongwe Sailing Club – Take the Likuni Road pass Likuni and
follow the dirt road for about 30 minutes outside of town to the turn
off on the left with a sign for Lilongwe Sailing Club.

Other highlights of Malawi

Mt Mulanje National Park - Plateau holds a unique niche for
tropical, alpine ecosystem. A number of tea estates have received
outstanding marks for neighboring birding areas.

Nykia National Park - Beautiful rolling hills that will remind
you of Ireland. Endemic species can be found along with rarities like
the Wattled Crane. Isolated woodlands house a number of local rarities.

Liwonde National Park - One of the jewels of the national park
system of Malawi and a highlight of birding.

Majete Wildlife Reserve – Contains escarpment and mixed
woodlands. Managed by African Parks.

Lengwe National Park – Prime example of deciduous tickets and forest.

Lake Chilwa – Large reservoir of resident and waterfowl birds.
WESM/Zomba conducts regular birding trips on Saturday. WESM can be 01524
700 or 01526 212.

Zomba Forest Reserve – Behind Zomba Boma.

Best birding sites near Lilongwe, Malawi

The following is a list compiled by various Malawi birding experts who
tend to flock around
Claudia and I have been getting into the amazing birdlife here and our total birdcount is creeping higher and higher. Visiting a sewage pond anywhere (let alone in Africa) doesn't sound very pleasant, but believe me it is great. Especially the Kauma ponds which overlook a beautiful stretch of the Lilongwe River and some rare indigenous forest. has very good resolution for Lilongwe, and it is can be very helpful when trying to figure out directions to an unfamiliar location.

Without further ado, the best birding sites in Lilongwe:

Nature Sanctuary (Lilongwe) Across from Food Worths. Covers the
Miombo and riparian ecosystems.. Scouts will inform you that there has
been some robberies, however, in the 2 years I have birded the area, I
have had no problem. If you do wish a scout to accompany you, please ask
at the main office. You can purchase a bird list from the Wildlife and
Environment Society of Malawi (WESM) that is housed in the
interpretative center

Kauma Sewage Ponds (Lilongwe near Area 12) From the Capital
Hotel, turn right and continue to the T junction. Pass Blantyre Road and
continue on the dirt road. Turn left at the small sign that reads Zikomo
Roses. Cross over the bridge and keep right at the fork with the faint
billboard with the German flag. Continue up the road and take the right
just before the football pitch. Go down the road and through the gates.
Beyond the first 4 ponds, the road bends around a hill, which blocks the
rather harsh smells. The ponds below the hill are nearly scentless and
holds a wide variety of ducks, shorebirds and the occasional odd migrant
(i.e. American Skimmer, African Wattled Lapwing, etc.). Here is a google map link which clearly shows the roads you need to get there:,33.81978&spn=0.020492,0.035577&t=h&om=1

Lumbadzi Sewage Ponds Take the M1 north pass the turn off to
the airport. Continue until you pass Lumbadzi River and just entering a
small, but busy market. After the bridge, turn right and then turn left
at a gravel road.

Airport Sewage Ponds Take the road to the airport. Before the
checkpoint to enter the airport, turn right on the paved road. Continue
on and before a small market, take a right. The guard house is almost
visible from the paved road.

Bunda Dambo (at Bunda College) Take the M1 to the checkpoint at
the defunct BP. Pass through and take the first right. Continue for 15
minutes and turn left at Bunda College. Pass through the campus and pass
the farmhouses. The road will eventually turn right. Work your self over
to the small man-made lake. Pelicans, geese, and shorebirds can be found
there. There are also a defunct sewage ponds in the woodlands.

Airport Dambo (behind the Airport) Take the M1 and turn left on
the road to the airport. Continue on for about 500 meters and pull over
on the left. The low lying areas hold some wetlands. Historically a good
birding spot. Even with the expanding agricultural lands, the birding
has its occasional surprises.

Mbabzi Dambo Take the Mchinji Road (near 7-11) west. About 16 km
from Lilongwe, turn right at the signs for an ethnic lodge. You can park
at either the lodge or on the spillway. Possible to see Lesser Jacana,
Common Moorhens, and even Purple Herons.

Katete Diary Farm At the Bishop McKenzie roundabout, take the
road out to Likuni. Continue shortly pass the Water Board and turn left
at the sign. Please contact Nicky, who is part owner, at 08550550.

Kambali Lodge Take Presidential Road pass Four Seasons. At the
Presidential Road, turn left and continue on until you arrive in a
parking lot. Please check in at the reception before birding the area.

Lingadzi Rose Farm In front of African Bible College, there is
a failed irrigation scheme. The upper pond can hold an interesting
variety of birds including African White-back Ducks, Little Bitterns and
a range of ducks. You may wish to consider going with a small group.

Woodlands behind Area 9. - Behind Area 9 and in "front" of water
tower, there is a huge corn field with a forest running north-south
behind it.

Area 2 Kestrel Roost From approximately November to February,
one of the largest roosts in Africa of the endangered Lesser Kestrel.
Take the M1 through Area 2, pass the BP and the bend in the road. Pass
the building housing Delhi Darbar and turn right. On you left there will
be a large tree. Pass coffin and furniture makers and take the small
paved road on your left and then take a left. Park in front of Vas Cottage.

Happy birding - and if you have any others - please add them in the comments below.

Camo a no go in Zim

Just received this from my local travel agent:

In July 2006 a new law was passed in Zimbabwe - it is illegal to wear (or even have in one's possession) camouflage-style clothing in Zimbabwe. It is an offence to be in possession of a "camouflage uniform" which is defined for legal purposes as any piece of "apparel" bearing a camouflage print or pattern. Should you be found in possession with any camouflage-style clothing you could receive a fine, 6 months in jail or both. They hold the right to detain passengers for up to 48 hours in prison before charging them. This is very important - no camouflage prints on board shorts, longs, shirts, hats, bags etc.

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