On a bitterly cold February afternoon, Ton de Rooy, managing director of Robin Pope Safaris, came to Luxury Travel Advisor's New York offices to tell us about the safari operator's latest developments in Malawi, and the latest buzz in African travel.
De Rooy's biggest news is that Robin Pope Safaris will open its new Miyala Camp in Liwonde National Park, Malawi this coming July. The camp will have four four guest tents (including one family tent) with a maximum occupancy of 10. Each safari tent has an open-plan style, and each has its own private viewing deck and includes Evening Breeze air conditioning (an environmentally-friendly air cooling system.) Take a look at an early rendering of the tents:
Liwonde National Park is 71 miles from the city of Blantyre in South East Malawi. Miyala is at the Southern end of Liwonde National Park, overlooking the Chikalogwe Plain of the Shire River at the base of Chiunguni Hill. Despite Liwonde’s relatively small size at 212 square miles, we hear it is one of Malawi’s most popular parks, with plenty of wildlife and birds. It reportedly is home to the largest population of elephants in the country, as well as more than 2,000 hippos. Liwonde also has buffalo, sable, impala, waterbuck, bushbuck, nyala, kudu, warthog, yellow baboon, vervet monkey, and leopard, with the occasional lion crossing over from Mozambique.
Robin Pope is also offering a special package for 2014 that will show off a wide range of Malawi, which celebrates its 50th anniversary as a country this year. The Golden Safari package runs for 11 nights and includes stays at Mkulumadzi, Huntingdon House, Mvuu Lodge (or Miyala Camp once it opens) and Pumulani. (The package is available from April of this year to January 2015.)
The tour will include a good range of regions, including the 173,000-acre Majete Wildlife Reserve (the only Big Five reserve in the country), the Satemwa Tea Estate (home to the colonial-style Huntington House), Liwonde National Park and the Nankumba Peninsula on Lake Malawi (which reportedly has a greater variety of fish than any other body of fresh water in the world).