Boat and 4×4 safaris are both excellent ways to see Malawi’s most popular park studded with ancient baobab and borassus palms. The river draws excellent numbers of elephant, as well as hippo and crocodile. Elephant have been so successful here that a number were moved to Nkhotakota and Nyika in 2017. There are still over 500 elephants remaining in Liwonde - this is a great place to observe them and find out about conservation efforts.
Black rhino were re-introduced back in 1993, initially to a fenced sanctuary. Calves have since been born and the fence removed. Rhino conservation activities continue in Liwonde.
Cheetah were re-introduced to the park in 2017 - the first wild cheetah in Malawi in more than 20 years. Male lion were re-introduced in February 2018, with plans to translocate more lion and leopard from South Africa in the near future. Wild dog were also re-introduced, although their journey has been a little more bumpy with all 18 wild dogs lost to a poisoning incident in November 2022.
Mvuu Lodge and Camp on the River Shire’s bank is a luxurious lodge within the park, offering four large ensuite tents and one stone and thatch honeymoon suite with views over the lagoon and there is also a natural rock hewn swimming pool. The camp has 12 units – a mix of stone and thatch chalets and family tents.
Kuthengo Camp is a small seasonal tented camp, opened in 2018, part of the excellent Robin Pope Safaris portfolio. The camp accommodates just 10 guests and sits in a superb riverbank location on a bend in the Shire River.
Liwonde is only 580 sq km and is 100 miles north of Blantyre so it can be easily reached by road.
The biggest threat to the park in the past has been human/wildlife conflict and the drain on local resources by the community. Before African Parks took over management in 2015 there was illegal fishing, deforestation and poaching. Over 16500 wire snares have been removed, illegal fishing has been eradicated, a perimeter fence to reduce human/wildlife conflict has been erected, 120 local rangers have been trained and employed, and countless species re-introduced.
Liwonde is a fabulous success story of how conservation can benefit all - much work still needs to be done with infrastructure, staff accommodation and water supply but the future is far brighter now for Liwonde, the local community and the wildlife of Malawi.
We urge you to go and visit this gem of a place. The boat safaris on the Shire river are a fabulous way to explore and to see both a plethora of wildlife as well as the truly beautiful scenery.