Marking its 50th anniversary this year, this 212-square-mile (548-sq.-kilometer) swath of floodplains and lagoons in the south, a three-hour drive from capital Lilongwe and four hours south of Lake Malawi, is the country's most famous wildlife park. It's especially known for its elephants, but among its nearly 18,000 large mammals you can also spot African buffalo, antelopes, baboons, black rhinos, hippos, impalas, various species of monkeys, and zebras. Also present in low (and more elusive) numbers are cheetahs, hyenas, leopards, and lions. It's also great for birdwatching, with more than 380 species, and let's not forget the crocodiles! Much of this game viewing takes place via boat safaris along the Shire River.

Robin Cafolla

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