Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, a Malawi gem

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Holidays in Malawi know no bounds at this gem of a conservation area, the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve where luxury accommodation is the name of the game. Discover Malawi’s oldest and least-developed protected area covering an expanse of only 1 802 square km of pristine terrain with Voyage2Africa as we guide you where to stay on your next wilderness safari. Find the exquisite Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in central Malawi, a few kilometres from Lake Malawi in the east.

While you are there, seek out the lifeblood of Nkhotakota, the Bua River, a huge body of water bisecting the reserve, as it plummets from the high plateau west of Lilongwe to empty into Lake Malawi. Spot the healthy population of crocodiles in their watery home then try some excellent salmon fishing. Numerous waterfalls cascade from the edge of the escarpment.

While you are there, traverse the fascinating habitats of Brachystegia and Miombo woodland and notice that there is not much open ground in between tall grasses, evergreens and rainforest. These habitats are particularly characteristic of the wetter parts of the plateau. 

While you are there, check out an enormous variety of 200 or more bird species in this paradise – including hornbills and kingfishers. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is a delightful example of true, untouched wilderness. Enjoy thrilling walking safaris, fishing and climbing. It is less about the game viewing and more about nature in this fabulous wilderness. 

Being part of the Nkhotakota experience is unforgettable. You will see very few people as this reserve is difficult to traverse. Your safari is therefore all the more exciting if you are seeking an off-the-beaten-path holiday in the warm heart of Africa. Guided walking safaris and kayaking are great ways to experience nature in this haven.   

Did you know?

Nkhotakota Wildlife once contained as many as 1,500 elephants which dropped radically to only 100 left thanks to decades of lawlessness and poaching. In 2015, African Parks and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) translocated over 500 elephants and 2,000 other animals from two other parks in Malawi.


  • Explore this off-the-beaten-track wilderness area boasting miombo woodlands, untouched rainforests and the important Bua River which flows through the park.
  • Neighbouring communities harvest palm fronds, thatch grass, bamboo, reeds, wild fruits, and vegetables as part of the Resource Use Programme (RUP). 
  • Camera traps recorded roan antelope and honey badger, species thought to have been locally extinct.
  • Hike up the nearby Chipata Mountain to view 280 bird species including kingfishers, eagles, hornbills and herons.

Things to Do in Nkhotakota

This rare wildlife sanctuary was expanded to extend a massive 80,000 ha with access to the Bua River with land and water activities for keen animal lovers and birders. Game viewing activities in Nkhotakota include 4×4 safaris, walking in the wilderness, hiking, paddling canoes down the Bua River, fishing (catch & release) to catch chambo, catfish, mpasa, nkholokolo, paper-mouth fish and redeye labeo. 

Nkhotakota is a true paradise for those who seek the stillness of being in nature and jaw-dropping landscapes and who are not too concerned about seeing the Big Five. 

Family Holidays to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Take your family on a challenging hike in Nkhtakota Reserve to the many elephants relocated and successfully breeding, the beautiful rainforests and the wonderful waterfalls on the Bua River. Family-friendly game drives show them the incredible birds and nocturnal animals such as bats and honey badgers. 

Take your children to luxury riverside camps and game rangers will teach them all about conservation and biodiversity.  A few days in the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve region are refreshing, educational and active too – quite a thrill for families and friends who want to be out in a lush miombo wilderness with a river flowing through it. It’s a photographer’s dream world and all the relocated animals worth learning about. 

We show you top-of-the-range safari lodges, bush cabins and eco-camps in this region where children will feel in awe and want to explore the great outdoors. Try an organised tour with a guide when you book a Voyage2Africa package to make life easier and we will ensure you see the River while enjoying the scenery and many activities along the way.

The Best Of The Best Safaris to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Plan a Malawi tour and safari with Voyage2Africa, the African travel experts, and enjoy signature experiences to premier wildlife destinations south of the equator. We bring you thrilling adventures in the infinite spaces of Nkhotakota Reserve to ease those aching muscles. Choose a rustic riverside safari lodge or wilderness accommodation with comfy amenities and get ready to explore more of Malawi soon. We offer you some of the best special packages in the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Region to expand your holiday in true African style.

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