Mvuu Lodge nestles discreetly on the banks of a lagoon just off the Shire River (pronounced Shiree). The Shire River is Lake Malawi's only exit - making it the largest...
Liwonde was proclaimed as a National Park in 1973 is considered the most prolific wildlife area in Malawi, despite its size - only 548km2. This is largely because the Shire River - the country's largest river and Lake Malawi's only outlet - forms the western boundary of the park. Nearly a kilometre wide in places, with floodplains extending to three times that width in the south, the Shire River is a magnet for wildlife.
Named after Chief Liwonde who had championed its protection, the Liwonde National Park harbours very diverse landscapes. Relatively dry mopane woodlands cover the eastern half of the Park where they are interspersed with unworldly candelabra trees, while patches of miombo woodland occur on the limited hill slopes in the south and east. Palm savannah and numerous baobabs abut the extensive floodplains of the Shire River where dense riverine vegetation adds a tropical feel to the habitat.
Liwonde National Park is home to the largest remaining elephant population in Malawi and one of only two breeding nuclei of black rhino reside here. Liwonde National Park also boasts large numbers of impala, reedbuck, waterbuck, warthog and the majestic sable - which is rare anywhere else in Africa today.
Kudu and impala, together with sable herds, haunt the woodlands beyond the floodplain, while yellow baboon entertain with their social antics.
Buffalo, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, zebra, roan and eland were historically hunted to extinction in the area, but have since been introduced into what is known as The Sanctuary - a substantial 4,000ha fenced area within Liwonde National Park that serves as a reservoir for rare species. It is here that Liwonde's black rhino find refuge too. A dense population of hippo can be found in the Shire River and monstrous Nile crocodile are found lazing on the sandbanks.
The birdlife here is prolific - probably the best year-round birding in Southern Africa. Over 300 of the country's 650 bird species occur in the Liwonde National Park, with gems such as Böhm's Bee-eater, African Skimmer, Palmnut Vulture, White-backed Night-heron and Dickinson's Kestrel often sighted. Others such as Livingstone's Flycatcher, Pel's Fishing-owl and Spur-winged Lapwing can also be found in the riverine strip. Liwonde National Park is home to the only population of Lillian's Lovebird in Malawi and also plays host to the rare Brown-breasted Barbet.