Although only 220 sq miles (580 sq km), Liwonde is perhaps the most popular of all the game parks in Malawi. It is very easily accessible by road – about160 km north of Blantyre and only rather more than half that distance from the hotels on the southern Lakeshore. The Shire River flows along its western border, ensuring great game viewing with boat safaris being popular as well as safari in 4 x 4’s or walking trips.
Wildlife includes quite large numbers of elephants and the river attracts countless hippos and crocodiles. Antelope include kudu, sable, nyala, eland and bushbuck and other game includes warthog, yellow baboon, vervet monkeys, leopard and a few buffalo. Sadly there is only one lion left in the park so the chances of seeing lion are very limited. Black rhino have been re-introduced and are kept in a fenced and protected area.
The Park offers exceptional birdlife with more than 400 species being recorded. Most notably are the water-associated birds such as the African fish eagle, the pied kingfisher, the saddle-billed stork and goliath heron. This National Park is one of the best places anywhere to seek out a few rarer water-associated birds among them Pel’s fishing owl, red-necked falcon, palm-nut vulture, rufous-bellied heron and white-backed night heron. It’s also the only site in Malawi for spur-winged lapwing, a species that had never been recorded in the country until a vagrant pair pitched up in the late 1990s, and since then they have established themselves along the river in substantial numbers. Away from the water, birds of prey are very well represented. The bateleur, martial eagle and all three snake eagles are quite common and also the southern ground hornbill is present.