Liwonde National Park

Why Visit Liwonde

  • Cruise the Shire River, which is packed with hippos and alive with birdlife
  • Spot huge herds of elephants as they graze the floodplains beside the river
  • Watch the sunset over the distant Rift Escarpment, with giant termite mounds dotting the foreground
  • Explore by 4x4, looking out for recently reintroduced cheetahs, lions and rhinos

A Little More About Liwonde

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. 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.

African Parks in Liwonde

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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