A GUIDE TO SAFARI SAFETY IN AFRICA
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Liwonde is the epitome of Malawi’s wildlife renaissance. Decades of indiscriminate poaching and habitat loss had decimated populations of big cats, elephants and rhinos. There were once eight lion prides and all but one had died or fled in Liwonde.
Miraculously, since African Parks took over management of Liwonde in 2015, conservation efforts have been so successful that wildlife now thrives once again.
Elephants are now so abundant they are being translocated to other areas still struggling to recover from poaching. Lions, cheetahs and recently leopards have also been reintroduced and Liwonde is also one of the few places on earth to see the critically endangered black rhino.
Despite its relatively small size, Liwonde is arguably one of the most diverse habitats in the whole of Africa, comprising of extensive rocky outcrops, stretches of miombo woodland, large forests of cathedral mopane and unique succulents.
Closer to the Shire river that runs along the western edge, vast open floodplains paint the landscape along with magnificent riverine thickets of fever tree and borassus palm.
This diverse habitat allows for an unrivalled plethora of interesting species, awarding the reputation of an exceptional birding spot with rare species like Pel’s fishing owls, ospreys and Lilian’s lovebirds.
You can’t leave Malawi without going on a boat safari and Liwonde is one of Africa’s best spots for river-based wildlife watching. Floating along the majestic Shire river and watching as elephants graze amongst the reeds, hippos wallow in the shallows and fish eagles soar from above will give Malawi a deserving place in your heart.
Other activities include game drives in safari 4x4’s, bush walks, and rhino tracking with an ice cold sundowner waiting for you at your lodge after a long day of exploration.
Liwonde is conveniently located at the southern tip of Lake Malombe, just over a three-hour drive from the capital of Lilongwe. For a more scenic and quicker journey, you can charter a light aircraft and land directly in the park.
Safari operators in this area maintain a peaceful, non-commercial safari experience for visitors and reinvest profits into the reserve to conserve wildlife in the area for generations to come.
The best time to visit Liwonde is during the dry season from April to October. During these months, the bush is dry and open, allowing for easier game spotting. November to March is when the rains arrive, and conditions are hot and wet. Liwonde transforms into a beautiful green paradise during these months, with flocks of migratory birds arriving making it ideal for birdwatching.