Liwonde National Park, Malawi
Also referred to Liwonde wildlife reserve, Liwonde national park is a national park in the southern region of Malawi stretching near the Mozambique border. Proclaimed in 1973, the park has been managed by the nonprofit conservation organization African parks since August 2015.
Covering an area of approximately 548 square kilometers, the park lies largely within the Machinga District but also in the Mangochi District. Balaka district also lies along the western border of the park. Liwonde National Park’s area is covers both the woodlands and the dry savannah. About 30 kilometer section of the Shire River crosses through the park including a section of the shore of Lake Malombe and 20 km south of Lake Malawi.
Vegetation of the park
Liwonde national park displays beautiful and amazing scenery throughout the year. The river which crosses through the park is made up of the infamous Liwonde palm trees and the drawing shadows along its banks. This beauty attracts a various number of bird species including the fish eagles and the palm nut vultures. The park is mostly covered by the Mopane plant species. The epiphytic orchid and Microcoelia ornithocephala is nearly endemic to the park and it is also recorded on the nearby Sambani hill. Other plant species in the park include the acacias, miombo, Albizia harveyi, Adansonia digitata and the reed beds which are found along the rivers, and also the evergreen forests fringing tributaries. Other trees in the park also include the Vachellia xanthophloea, capers, the lala palm, Palmyra palm and the sausage trees.
Wildlife of the park
Liwonde national park is a home to a number of animal species including the large mammals and the small mammals. The park records approximately 17,800 large mammals including the African buffalo, common eland, antelope, baboons, black rhinos, bushbucks, hippo, waterbuck, elephants, impala, kudu, monkeys and others. The park also hosts dozens of other grazing mammal species and a number of crocodiles. According to the survey made, the park records approximately 545 elephants, 506 buffalos, 491 sables, 1526 impalas, 1269 warthogs, 3159 waterbucks and approximately 1942 hippos.
Liwonde national park is also a home to a number of predators including the lions, leopards, African wild dogs, hyenas, and many others.
More than 380 species of birds are recorded in Liwonde national park. Among the birds in the park include the white starred robin, brown headed parrot, brown breasted barbet, pale batis, Lillian’s lovebird, racket tailed roller, pale billed hornbill, Arnot’s chat, white bellied sunbird, black eared seedeater, Bohm’s bee-eater, Meves’s starling and others. Liwonde National park is the only location in Malawi where the Lillian’s lovebird and the brown breasted barbet can be seen. The park is also a home to about six species of vultures where the four of them are critically endangered.
Safari activities in the park
Get more closure to the land animals in the park by taking part in the guided game drive through the trails of the park. Among the animals to be sighted during the experience includes the elephants, lions, hyenas, buffalos, impalas, warthogs, common elands, leopards and others.
Enjoy a guided safari walk through the savannah of the park and get closer to the nature and beautiful scenery of the park. Sight the smaller flora and fauna that makes up the eco – system of the park.
Get closer to the aquatic life like the crocodiles, crocodiles and the amazing birdlife. Boat safari is one of the amazing and luxurious safari experiences in Liwonde national park.
Enjoy helicopter ride at just USD$200 per person to navigate the park from above. Spot different animals from above and also learn more about the park. This activity is done by Brad the resident African Parks Helicopter pilot.