Liwonde and the Lake

Cape Maclear sunset

If you could pick just one place in Malawi where would be your favourite? A question recently asked of me for my meet the team spot on the website. It’s hard to decide really between two.

Liwonde NP is just one of those places you arrive an immediately know you are going to love. I am not sure if it is the warm welcome you get from staff at Mvuu or the influx of animals you see on the front lawns but for me, something clicked. I have been to Liwonde twice now and each time it gets better with the massive conservational efforts African Parks have been making it is an exciting time to be involved. One of the few parks now left with rhinos, this former almost empty park has turned around to be a safe haven for the recently reintroduced cheetah, who just had CUBS, and soon to be home to lion and leopard. Well known for its rapidly increasing elephant populations, a rather famous British prince was heavily involved with African parks in one of the largest translocation projects to date – moving 500 elephants around Malawi.

elephants grazing at liwonde

The conservation aspect of the park is extremely exciting but only one reason why it’s so special. It is also unique in the fact you can see the animals from so many different angles, from walking, driving and boat safaris there is a chance to get up close and personal in many different aspects of the animals life.

Due to the lack of predators, walking here is really good; with the absence of being hunted, you can get quite close to the plains game as they go on their daily life ignoring you as not threatening. Then you can gently sail up to the elephants as they bathe and drink in the Shire River. To add to the game drives offered they also have a few hides around the park-one of which is in an old rhino boma. Here you can have the incredible experience of camping out in one of the hides and watching the animals in the moonlight, best done during a full moon you can experience this incredibly peaceful opportunity to see some of the animals at night.

Hippos during a boat safari

Of course, you can always hope for some dramatic action but it is quite special to see the elephants or rhinos at night when you are not normally in a vehicle so as to not disturb them.
And of course let’s not forget its landscapes; from the marshlands on the lawns coming off the river attracting a huge amount of plains game, crocodiles and hippos, to the palm trees and termite mounds in the vast open plains which make for perfect cheetah hunting ground to the dense Mopane woodlands providing a haven for the many elephants.

If you haven’t been to Liwonde let this be an invitation to experience it for yourself!

Cape Maclear on Lake Malawi must be the most Instagrammed spot in the country! Is there anything quite like a sunset over crystal clear turquoise water? G&T/beer in hand it is impossible to not feel instantly relaxed. The mix of accommodation in Cape Mac ranges from private eco-island bliss to high-end luxury to party mad backpacking. Which means there are a whole lot of interesting people in the area.

Cape maclear

Here the aim, of course, is to enjoy the lake from snorkelling to see the colourful cichlid fish to taking out a boat to spot the shy otters and impressive fish eagles. You can dive, kayak, paddle board, hike the surrounding mountains and of course go swimming but if you fancy a little less there are loads of hidden gems in the area. From the incredible food (everything from world famous fish curry, legendary ice cream, banquet feats that change each day of the week to the humble but satisfying pizza slices), massages, yoga retreats to simply relaxing on the beach.

Being a landlocked country the vast expanse of the lake is a welcome treat from the warm sun, however, don’t be fooled unlike some of the oceans joining up with the coastal countries the lake almost seems heated. Like a lukewarm bath, you can forget your wetsuit and jump straight in – a new experience for this Scottish kid! It is an unusual experience with the absence of salt you don’t expect the lethargy of marine life that is flourishing in the water, whilst you won’t get sharks and crustaceans you will get the endemic cichlid fish known for their bright colours most liken diving there to being in an aquarium. If you are looking for a bit of R&R  Cape Maclear is your place, let us take care of you!

Want to experience Liwonde or Cape Maclear for yourself? Get in touch today and we can plan your Malawi getaway…