Liwonde is a small national park situated along the banks of the Shire River.
Covering 580 sq. kms Liwonde is dominated by the impressive Shire (pronounced ‘Shiree’), the largest of Malawi’s rivers draining Lake Malombe (on the southern tip of Lake Malawi), and eventually flowing into the Zambezi. The habitat is varied, consisting of open floodplain along the river, backed by attractive woodland and a few rolling hills.
This accounts for the great diversity of wildlife to be found, including elephant, sable, hippo, kudu, waterbuck, impala, bushbuck, grysbok, duiker, hyaena, bushpig and warthog. Cheetah and lion have been re-introduced to the park since 2017, but surprisingly leopard do not exist in the park. There is also a healthy population of black rhino in the park, many of which have been recently re-introduced from South Africa.
The birdlife too is superb. Pels fishing owl, osprey, palmnut vulture, and fish eagle, bat hawk and white-backed night heron are found along the river course with a nesting colony of white-breasted cormorants also just south of the camp. Woodland species including Lilians lovebird, brown-breasted barbet, Livingstone’s flycatcher, speckled-throated woodpecker, collared palm-thrush, and Bohm’s bee-eater are some of the highlights.