Malawi has five national parks and four wildlife reserves.
Nyika National Park
is the largest and most northerly park in the national system. It sits astride the vast Nyika Plateau and is primarily a place of scenic beauty. Seeing game is part of the pleasure, and exploration by foot or horseback allows the visitor to get in touch with the natural world of landscape and openness. The park was established in 1965 and is the oldest park in the country. The word “Nyika” means wilderness. The park is especially famous for its wild flowers and unique vegetation, and the terrain consists of rolling hills that are grass-covered, cut through by forested valleys and accented by steep escarpments. Peaks reach over 2000m, and an especially breathtaking view is found at Nganda Peak; where a height of 2607m gives a view of Zambia to the west and Lake Malawi and the mountains of Tanzania to the east.
Kasungu National Park
nestles up against the Zambian border on the west and is situated between Nyika to the north and the capital of Lilongwe to the south. It supports one of the largest elephant populations in the country. Other animals visible in the park include buffalo, zebra, hippo and several species of antelope. Lion and leopard are also at home in the park, but are only seen on rare occasions. The park covers over 2000 sq km and is the second largest park in Malawi.
Lake Malawi National Park
is a change of pace from the animals and vegetation of the parks in the interior. It is at the southern part of the lake, and rests in the area around Cape Maclear. The park is one of only a few freshwater aquatic parks in Africa. Since the lake supports more varieties of freshwater fish than all of Europe and North America combined, the visitor can expect boating, snorkeling, swimming and various other water-related activities. This area was designated a national park in 1980.
Liwonde National Park
is the park most accessible from the capital of Lilongwe and also offers the most visible variety of wildlife. Situated on the Shire River south of Lake Malawi, Liwonde extends 12 miles east from the banks of the river and is home to one of the largest elephant herds in the country. Also visible along the Shire is the large number of hippo, crocodiles, bush and waterbucks and a wide variety of bird life. The visitor will also catch sight of impala, kudu, sable, eland, zebra, baboon, and tree monkeys. In recent years the endangered black rhinoceros has been reintroduced to the park, but few visitors are lucky enough to catch one in the lens of a camera.
Lengwe National Park
is the southern most park in the system and is found in the humid lower section of the Shire Valley. The park borders with Mozambique and contains woodland and grassy areas. It is surrounded by the plush sugarcane plantations of the south. This park is recognized for its large bird population, and like all of the parks in the system, has overnight facilities available for the camper.
The Reserves are: Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Majete Wildlife Reserve, and the Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve.