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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.

Elephant hiding behind reeds, Liwonde National Park, Malawi
Liwonde National Park, Malawi
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 reintroducing lions in 2018. With elephants and rhinos already present, the park is now home a significant number of iconic and endangered species. Furthermore, its healthy and 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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Discover some of our suggested activities to include on your Malawi holiday

Sunset boat cruise on Shire River, Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Sunset over Liwonde

Watch the sunset over the distant Rift Escarpment, with giant termite mounds dotting the foreground.

Suggested Lodge

Game vehicle on a drive, Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Game Drives in Liwonde

Explore by 4×4, looking out for recently reintroduced cheetahs, lions and rhinos.

Liwonde blog

Elephant hiding behind reeds, Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Spot Elephants

Spot huge herds of elephants as they graze the floodplains beside the river.

Suggested camp

Elephants on the banks of Shire River, Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Boat Cruise on the Shire River

Cruise the Shire River, which is packed with hippos and alive with birdlife.

Suggested lodge

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. The camp’s four spacious tents all face the river, with wooden decks positioned in front. Kept cool with Evening Breeze technology, they all have en-suite bathrooms and outdoor showers. Herds of waterbucks often wander past, whilst the nearby marshes regularly attract grazing elephants. Activities are all led by highly trained guides and include game drives, nights drives and bush walks. Boat safaris on the Shire River are available between December and early April.

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Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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