The World Conservation Monitoring Centre provides information services on conservation and sustainable use of the world's living resources, and helps others to develop information systems of their own.


        Name Liwonde National Park

        IUCN Management Category II (National Park)

        Biogeographical Province 3.07.04 (Miombo Woodland/savanna)

        Geographical Location Located on the upper Shire River plain, east of the river, 140km north of Limbe. 1450'S, 3520'E.

        Date and History of Establishment May 1973

        Area 54,800ha; there is a 7,450ha extension (1972) which provides a corridor for elephant to Mangochi Forest Reserve

        Land Tenure Government

        Altitude 472-961m

        Physical Features The park is geographically well defined, being bounded on the west by the Shire River and Lake Malombe, and on the other sides by hills and ridges. The topography is a gentle slope upward from the river, broken only by two isolated groups of hills. Mean annual temperature on the plain is 13C, with extremes of 7C and 39C. Mean annual rainfall is 650-2250mm.

        Climate No information

        Vegetation A series of seven main vegetation types occurs up the gentle slopes of the Shire River, the most widespread being mopane woodland Colophospermum mopane with short grass. There are also areas of mopane, Acacia and Albizia with high quality tall grasses. The shore of Lake Malombe and the margins of the Shire have typical riverine and floodplain vegetation intergrading with small areas of gallery forest, palm savanna of Hyphaene ventricosa, and woodland savanna.

        Fauna Early reports suggested an abundance of game in the area, but this is now much reduced although nearly all species are still present. Mammals include: lion Panthera leo, leopard P. pardus (T), elephant Loxodonta africana (T)(about 200 recorded in 1983 but thought to be declining), hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius (stable population), greater kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros, reedbuck Redunca arundinum, impala Aepyceros melampus, waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus, Lichtenstein's hartebeest Alcelaphus lichtensteini, oribi Ourebia ourebi, bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus, grey duiker Sylvicapra grimmia, Sharpe's grysbok Raphicerus sharpei, klipspringer Oreotragus oreotragus, and large numbers of sable antelope Hippotragus niger. There are now only a few crocodile Crocodylus niloticus (V) in the river. It is proposed to reintroduce the race of wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus johnstonii which used to occur in Malawi although the area is outside this species' past distribution and the habitat may be unsuitable. A preliminary bird checklist records 207 species including the Nyasa lovebird Agapornis lilianae (rare in Malawi), and many aquatic species (Stead, 1979).

        Cultural Heritage No information

        Local Human Population No information

        Visitors and Visitor Facilities It is planned to open the park to the public for day visits only. There is (1980) a visitor's camp near Makanga.

        Scientific Research and Facilities The Liwonde Research Project was set up in 1974 by the University of Malawi to carry out a detailed survey of the plants and animals with descriptions of population dynamics.

        An Ecological Research and Monitoring field station is planned.

        Conservation Value No information

        Conservation Management Total

        The area is zoned according to the five land-use classes developed by the Canadian National Parks Service: Class I Special Areas; II Natural Environment Areas; III Lower Category Natural Environment Areas; IV General Outdoor Recreation Areas; and V Intensive Use Areas.

        Management Constraints The park originally included only the east bank of the Shire River and was vulnerable to insensitive use. However, it is planned to extend the boundary to include the entire river. Periodic closure of Liwonde Barrage, immediately downstream of the park, floods substantial areas for varying periods but the ecological impact of this is not yet clear.

        Staff 1977 - 10 full-time and up to 30 temporary workers

        Budget 1976/1977 financial year - US$41,000 allocated by the Government to the park development and a similar amount to cover recurrent expenditure.

        Local Addresses

        Senior Game Warden, Liwonde National Park, Private Bag 18, Kasupe.


        Clarke, J.E. (1983). Protected areas masterplan for the Southern Region. Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Lilongwe.

        Hall-Martin, A.J. (1969). An ecological review of the Liwonde area, Kasupe District and recommendations on the proposal to create a National Park in the area. Unpublished Departmental typescript.

        IUCN/WWF Project No. 1665. Elephants of Malawi. WWF Monthly Report January 1983: 377-379.

        Stead, D.E. (1979). Liwonde National Park Part II - the birds. Nyala 5(1): 12-27.

        Stead, D. and Dudley, C. (1977). Liwonde National Park Part II - the mammals. Nyala 3(2): 29-38.

        Sweeney, R.C.H. (1959). A checklist of the mammals of Nyasaland. Nyasaland Society, Malawi.

        Date 1983

        For further information contact:
        Information Office, WCMC, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK
        Information enquiries
        Tel: +44 (0)1223 277722
        Main switchboard
        Tel: +44 (0)1223 277314
        Fax: +44 (0)1223 277136
        Document URL: http:// /protected_areas/data/sample/0211p.htm
        Revision date: 11-December-2000 | Current date: 14-December-2000
        Home Comments © WCMC