National Parks

Liwonde National Park in Malawi

Conservation enthusiasts from around the world flock to Liwonde National Park to witness herds of elephants trampling the ground between ancient baobab trees and to retrace the steps of Prince Harry who helped African Parks relocate 500 elephants into Liwonde.

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We’ve teamed up with African Parks, a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the responsibility for the rehabilitation and management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. Experience remote areas of Africa on one of our partner expeditions and directly support African Parks conservation efforts.

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Conservation

Everything you need to know about
Liwonde National Park

Conservation enthusiasts from around the world flock to Liwonde National Park to witness herds of elephants trampling the ground between ancient baobab trees, bird-filled towering borassus palms swaying in the light breeze, and to retrace the steps of Prince Harry who helped African Parks relocate 500 elephants into Liwonde. The park is the most popular game park in Malawi and its relatively small size – just 580 square kilometres – means that safari drives and boat safaris have a good chance of tracking some of Africa’s wildest animals – large herds of elephants, crocodiles, antelope, countless hippos and leopards prowling across their territory. The biggest draw to Liwonde National Park is its conservation efforts, with African Parks successfully reintroducing black rhinos to the park as well as breeding elephants over recent years.

Conservation

African Parks have successfully carried out numerous internationally-supported initiatives to ensure that Liwonde National Park is a safe haven for its varied wildlife and sustainable for future generations. African Parks has relocated 261 African elephants from Liwonde to nearby Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to restock other parks in Malawi – joined by Prince Harry on this historic translocation effort. More than 117 kilometres of protective fencing has been erected around the park and almost 16,000 snares have been removed, and heavy protection put in place for the black rhinos that have been reintroduced into Liwonde. In 2016, 120 local rangers were trained at Liwonde’s training centre to protect the park’s wild and endangered animals.

What can you expect of the terrain?

Liwonde National Park is located in southern Malawi at approximately 14.8441° S, 35.3466° E. The park is southeast of the capital, Lilongwe, and alongside the fast-flowing Shire River, and part of Lake Malombe. At just 580 square kilometres in size, the park is small in comparison to larger neighbours in other parts of Africa, but its small size ensures that its varied wildlife is concentrated close to the river, making tracking these animals simpler. The park is just a 30-40-minute flight from the city of Blantyre.

The park is dominated by its vast fields of ancient baobab trees and towering borassus palms, both of which attract more than 400 species of birds and countless insects. The fertile floodplains alongside the Shire River, densely-grown woodlands and savannah grasslands also ensure that Liwonde National Park is a haven for wild and rare wildlife including elephants and black rhinos.

About the reserve

What type of wildlife will we see?

Liwonde National Park may be small, but it has no shortage of animals waiting to be discovered. As a direct result of the conservation efforts of African Parks – one of Ker & Downey® Africa’s partners – extremely rare black rhinos are able to thrive in the park, safe from poaching. Large herds of breeding elephants have been reintroduced into the park, with the help of international wildlife organisations and charities. African buffalo, endangered sable antelope, baboons, hippos and monkeys are also able to thrive in Liwonde.

Top experiences to enjoy at Selinda Reserve

Liwonde National Park is compact, and its terrain varied, making any safari experience unique and memorable. A game drive across the savannah fields with an expert local guide is not to be missed, particularly when the floods have retreated. As the park is dependent on the Shire River, you can sail through the park on a boat, watching baboons and elephants as you pass and carefully manoeuvring between bathing crocodiles and yawning hippos. Rhino tracking on foot is a unique opportunity to get close to one of the world’s rarest mammals, with guides teaching you how to track based on their spoor (tracks, scent, or broken foliage indicating movement by an animal) of these magnificent beasts. Liwonde is a lifeline for more than 900,000 people living around the park, so visiting the nearby Njobvu Cultural Village is a uniquely-local experience, allowing you to stay in a traditional mud brick hut, sample local foods, and practice tribal singing and dancing.

When to visit

Game viewing is perfect throughout the year, with large concentrations of birds and animals scattered across Liwonde, but during the dry season between early May and October, the wildlife moves close to the Shire River, meaning that it is easier to spot the varied wildlife of the park. During the summer rains between November and April, the plains flood and crocodiles and hippos are plentiful.

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