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Liwonde National Park

Liwonde National Park or Liwonde Wildlife Reserve is a conservation area of 548 sq kilometers (212 sq mi) south of 20 kilometers from Lake Malawi in Machinga District and Mangochi District, Southern Region, Malawi declared in 1973 and managed by the non-profit conservation organization African Parks Network since August 2015.

Liwonde National Park includes forests and dry grasslands with 30 kilometers of the Shire River flowing in the west and the shores of Lake Malombe to the north. The park is managed by African Parks in collaboration with local communities represented by the Upper Shire Association for the Conservation of Liwonde National Park (USACOL) and 31 Village Natural Resources Committees around Liwonde.

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The old baobab and borassus palm trees provide the backdrop for the magnificent southern Malawians with fertile floodplains, dense forests and lagoons that sustain more than 400 species of birds, home to the largest population of elephants and endangered black rhinoceros in Malawi.

The area extending 129 kilometers (80 miles) of Liwonde was declared in 1973 and many residents moved to a border community outside the park. Before the park was created, the land used for agriculture was largely subsistence. Cotton, corn, tobacco, and rice are major crops and fisheries are other important industries.

Liwonde is one of the most active national parks in the world in conservation efforts and animal relocation programs. Since 1990, elephants, black rhinos, elands, impalas, kudu, sable, warthogs, waterbuck, and zebras have been moved to or from the park. The survey counted 578 elephants, 506 buffaloes, 515 sable, 4,477 waterbuck, 2,107 impala, 1,269 warthogs, 76 ground hornbills, and 1,942 hippopotamus.


Liwonde is home to about 12,000 large mammals and has more than 380 species of birds. Large mammals include Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), common eland (Taurotragus oryx), sable antelope (Hippotragus niger), waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), baboon (Papio).

Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), imbabala or Cape bushbuck (Tragelaphus sylvaticus), common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), impala (Aepyceros melampus), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), Kudu (Tragelaphus), elephant, monkeys, and warthogs (Phacochoerus).


Birds include white-starred robin (Pogonocichla stellata), brown-headed parrot (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus), brown-breasted barbet (Lybius melanopterus), pale batis (Batis soror), Dickinson's kestrel (Falco dickinsoni) , Lilian's lovebird (Agapornis lilianae), Böhm's bee-eater (Merops boehmi), racket-tailed roller (Coracias spatulatus), pale-billed hornbill (Lophoceros pallidirostris).

Kurrichane thrush (Turdus libonyana), Arnot's chat (Myrmecocichla arnotti), white-bellied sunbird (Cinnyris talatala), black-eared seedeater (Crithagra mennelli), broad-tailed paradise whydah (Vidua obtusa), Meves's starling (Lamprotornis mevesii) and palm-nut vulture (Gypohierax angolensis).

Location: Machinga District dan Mangochi District, Southern Region, Malawi.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Chileka International Airport in Blantyre City, then drive to Liwonde Town for 82 kilometers. Liwonde Town is the headquarters of the African Parks that runs the Liwonde National Park.

Contact: Liwonde National Park phone +265 993170829

Advice: The ideal time to visit the park is during the dry season from April to October where dry and open shrubs make the game more recognizable. November - March is the beginning of rain and hot, April - August is rain and cold, while September - October is dry and very hot.

Park entry fees (2017 in USD) for Malawi Citizens: $4 (adults), $2 (children), $4 (vehicle); Residents & SADC: $10 (adults), $5 (children), $4 (vehicle); Internationals: $20 (Adults), $10 (children), $4 (vehicle). Liwonde National Park

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Chichewa is the dominant local language, especially in rural areas, while English is also widely used mainly in major cities and tourist areas. If you would like to visit in an area that is not on the main tourist route, a simple guide book containing some Chichewa phrases or a smartphone app might be useful.

Visas are currently not required for a residence of less than 90 days for SA, US, UK, but not all holders of Commonwealth and EU passports. The passport must have a validity of at least six months from the day of entry into Malawi. The full list is available at

The local currency is Kwacha Malawi. Visa and Master cards are accepted in several places. ATMs in big cities, you may need a small backpack for cash. Foreign currency can be exchanged at certain banks located in major cities.

Mvuu Lodge and Mvuu Camp are situated on the shore of the River Shire and having a safari boat gives guests the opportunity to watch the wildlife. The lodge and camp provide 56 beds and camp sites. Chinguni Hills Lodge in the southern part of the park has 44 beds and camp sites are focused on budget and mid-market.

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