While game viewing can never be guaranteed there are some trends in animal distribution, density and occurrence related to habitat types and water availability that allow an overview along the lines of the below. We have focused here on only a handful of species most generally sought after by visitors.
Leopard also occur within Liwonde National Park and are regularly seen on game drives from Mvuu Lodge and Mvuu Camp. More regular sightings occur in the Nyika National Park visited by our Explorations (The Great Malawian Journey).
Of the Tracks Safaris camps in Malawi, the only locality where elephant are encountered is Liwonde National Park (Mvuu Lodge; Mvuu Camp). The elephant population in this 60 000ha park is estimated at 530 animals and elephant viewing, of both herds and bulls, is very good. Viewing is good all year round but is best during the drier times of the year (August-November) along the banks of the Shire River when large concentrations of elephant can be seen from both game drives as well as boat trips along the river. Elephant may also be encountered in Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve on The Great Malawian Journey.
Lion are not encountered in Liwonde National Park, but may occasionally be seen in Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve visited by our Explorations (The Great Malawian Journey).
Wilderness Safaris, together with several other funding and state agencies, enabled the reintroduction of black rhino into a fenced ‘sanctuary’ area within Liwonde National Park. This well protected population has bred well and game drives from Mvuu Lodge and Mvuu Camp into this sanctuary are occasionally rewarded with sightings of black rhino.
Buffalo social structure is based on either larger breeding herds of missed age and sex, or small groups of bulls. The large herds inhabit large home ranges while the smaller bull groups use a smaller area. Both social units are encountered in the Liwonde National Park, both within and outside the sanctuary area and guests at Mvuu camp and Mvuu Lodge stand a good chance of seeing this species. Sightings also occur at Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve (visited by our Explorations – The Great Malawian Journey).
Some more specialised species sought after by visitors to Malawi include Sable, Roan, Hippo, Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest and Eland. Sable can be seen in perhaps the highest densities in Africa in Liwonde National Park. The floodplains of the Shire River are most frequented by this species. A healthy population of Roan occurs within the sanctuary in Liwonde but the best place to see this species is on the Nyika Plateau where the open grassland habitat is in contrast to the woodlands used by this species in Botswana. Hippo are abundant on the Shire River in Liwonde where nearly 850 were recorded in the 2005 census along approximately 32km of river. Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest occur within the sanctuary in Liwonde, with a very small herd in the remaining national park. Eland also occur within the sanctuary, but like Roan are best seen on the Nyika Plateau.
More common plains game species such as plains zebra, impala, waterbuck, warthog, and yellow baboons can be encountered in Liwonde National Park and also in the Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve visited by our Explorations (The Great Malawian Journey).