Game vehicle on a drive, Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Liwonde National Park

Liwonde is stretched along the Shire River, south of Lake Malawi. The riverine landscape of the Shire dominates the western side of the park, with hippos seen in huge numbers.

Birds flock to this permanent water source and cormorants roost in the trees, staining them a strange white colour with their droppings.

Away from the river, the landscape changes. Low thicket intersperses mopane forest, which then opens up on to fertile grasslands that are dotted with huge termite mounds.

Hippos in the Shire River, Liwonde National Park, Malawi
Liwonde National Park, Malawi

A little more about Liwonde National Park

On the horizon to the west, the Rift Escarpment rises upwards and the sun sets on this every evening. The plains and thicket are filled with antelopes, including sable and roan, whilst large elephant herds roam the park.

A number of species have been reintroduced to Liwonde, with rhinos returning first in the 1990s. These were more recently followed by cheetahs, then lions. Although spotting these animals is still tricky, their return is significant for Liwonde’s future.

Park sign, Liwonde, Malawi
Liwonde, Malawi

Conservation success of African Parks

African Parks took over management of Liwonde in 2015. Given the park’s sizeable elephant population and its proximity to local communities, the initial priority was fencing the park, reducing the risk of human-wildlife conflict. This was rapidly achieved and the security and stability that this has brought have allowed African Parks to focus on returning predators to the park.

The initial reintroduction of cheetahs in 2017 was followed by lions in 2018. With elephants and rhinos already present, the park is now home a significant number of iconic and endangered species. Its growing populations of elephants and antelopes have also been used to restock Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, during a huge translocation exercise in 2016 and 2017.

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HIppo spraying water, Liwonde National Park, Malawi
Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Highlights of Malawi

This 14 day itinerary showcases the wildlife and conservation success stories of the country, as well as time to relax on the shores of Lake Malawi.

14 days

from £9,995 pp

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Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Mvuu Lodge £££££

  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Stretched along a shallow lagoon that lies off the Shire River, Mvuu Lodge is positioned in the north of Liwonde National Park. This comfortable, rustic-themed lodge is shaded by trees and wildlife often wanders through.

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Kuthengo Camp £££££

  • Malawi
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Facing the Shire River and looking out over a fertile flood plain, Kuthengo Camp sits beneath gnarled baobabs and fever trees. In front of the camp, the sun sets over the Shire’s hippo-rich waters, whilst African fish eagles roost in the surrounding trees.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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