Destinations

Liwonde National Park

Entrance Fee

International Visitors USD10
International Residents USD7
Malawians USD1
Accompanied Children under 12 Free
Private Vehicles USD3 to USD15 (depending on weight)

Entrance gate: early-18.00 daily

About Liwonde National Park

Liwonde National Park is situated in Machinga district, about 160km north of Blantyre.

Although the reserve covers only 548 km2, Liwonde National Park is the top destination and the most popular game park in Malawi.

The park has a vibrant landscape of dense cathedral mopane woodlands, lagoons and fertile floodplains dotted with ancient baobab trees and borassus palms.

The game viewing is enhanced because the Shire River flows along its western border making it an ideal spot for boat safaris as well as the usual ones on foot or in 4x4s.

The park is managed by African Parks since August 2015.

African Parks has greatly impacted the park’s conservation.

Poaching has been brought under control and more than 36,000 wire snares have been removed since 2015, and the construction of a new 117km electrical perimeter fence has decreased human-wildlife conflict, resulting in zero human fatalities since July 2016.

As a result of their efforts and reintroductions of animals, the number of tourists has increased by 25% and revenue has increased by 70% since 2016.

Liwonde has a variety of accommodation options to suit everyone’s budget and style.

The upmarket Kuthengo Camp and Mvuu Camp and Lodge lie on the banks of a lagoon just off the Shire River, while the more southerly Liwonde Safari Camp and Bushman’s Baobab lodge are suitable for budget travellers.

It is possible to drive around several tourist roads, some of which are only accessible during the dry season.

There are also community guides who are available to guide you around the park for hire at the main gate.

Wildlife

Liwonde National Park is said to have a population of approximately 12,000 large mammals, including African buffalo, antelope (including Common eland, the endangered sable antelope, and waterbuck), baboons, bushbuck, impala, kudu, hyena, monkeys, and warthogs.

The Shire River is home to a population of approximately 2,000 hippos and 2,000 crocodiles.

According to CNN, about 800 elephants are found in the park as of 2017.

In addition to this, black rhinos were introduced to Liwonde and the population has grown to 14 in 2015.

Seven cheetahs were reintroduced, and the population has already doubled with the birth of 8 cubs in 2017.

Ten lions were also introduced from Majete Wild Reserve and South Africa in 2018.

The combination of rich riverine, mopane and glass land habitats means that birdlife here is very varied – 400 of Malawi’s 650 species are found here including Pel’s fishing owl, African skimmer, brown-breasted barbet, Lilian’s lovebird and Livingstone’s flycatcher.

October to January brings Bohm’s bee-eater to the park.

Liwonde was at the epicentre of one of the largest elephant translocations in history, where a total of 336 elephants were relocated to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to help restore that reserve in 2016 and 2017.

Location