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Established in 1973, Liwonde is considered the best National Park in Malawi. This Park is well managed, has good concentrations of wildlife including the Big Five and hippo, and beautiful scenery.

This Park lies south of Lake Malawi, on the eastern banks of the Upper Shire River, and borders onto Lake Malombe in the north. Situated 60 kilometres north of Zomba, 120 kilometres north of Blantyre, and 236 kilometres from Lilongwe.

All of the Big Five are found here: 800 or so elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo. The Park has also been restocked with the help of South African National Parks. Other species of animals include: baboon, bushbuck, crocodile, impala, kudu, warthog, Ansell’s Sable and waterbuck. Some 2500 hippo define Liwonde with their melodious grunting and wallowing.

Sadly other mammal numbers are relatively low due to intense poaching in the Park in the early 1990’s. Liwonde is now said to have the largest growing elephant population in Africa. J&B Whisky’s Care For The Rare project has donated 13 black rhino to the Park. Liwonde is also a prime birding Park, having nearly 400 of Malawi’s 650 species and including the country’s only flocks of Lillian’s lovebirds.

Liwonde National Park is dominated by parts of Lake Malombe and 40km of the Shire River and its floodplains.



Mopane woodland and other dense miombo (Brachystegia) woodlands grow in the drier well drained areas inland, and one can also find palm trees, sausage trees and baobab trees. Along the river edge there are raffia palms, papyrus beds, lagoons and swamps.


The best time to visit this Park is in the dry season between August and October. During the rains the roads are all closed and access is by boat from Liwonde barrage.


Game drives with or without a guide, guided night drives, game viewing by boat, guided walks and bird watching are the activities one can participate in here. Some 97km of roads are open but game viewing is considered best by boat.


By road

the main gate is not far from Liwonde town for self-drive tourists.

By river

River transfers can also be made from Liwonde town, especially if the roads are too wet in the rainy season.

By air

A wide range of air charters can fly into the airstrip at Liwonde.

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