$ 245 (Pps)
Mvuu Camp is situated close to its sister camp, Mvuu Wilderness Lodge in the Liwonde National Park. It also overlooks a broad stretch of the Shire River (pronounced Shiree), with its profusion of hippos, crocodiles and the amazing birdlife.
Mvuu Camp is a clever mix of twelve stone and canvas chalets. With eight en suite chalets and four family chalets with two bedrooms sharing one bathroom. There's a magnificent vista of the Shire River from the impressive thatched dining and lounge area. Enjoy meals in the riverside restaurant or sometimes under the stars in the boma.
Indeed the camp is perfect for families with a large swimming pool, children's play area and curio shop.
Activities at Mvuu Camp
In addition to boat safaris (which are usually taken in the early morning), the afternoon game drives and nature walks enable you to experience a wide variety of game. As well as game activities, bicycle trips to local villages are on offer - an amazing cultural experience.
Liwonde National Park is the prime game reserve in Malawi,. This lush and fertile park has particularly good elephant sightings with good quantities of sable antelope and waterbuck as well. Safari activities revolve around the Shire river and its ox bow lakes with plentiful hippos and crocodiles. Boating safaris in a covered 12 seater boat are a highlight at Mvuu Wilderness Lodge. And this lets you to get close to the wildlife as they drink in the river as well as to the birdlife.
A particularly rewarding way of arriving at Mvuu Camp is via the boat trip from Liwonde town (approx 40 mins). This river trip takes guests 30 km along the Shire River. And it offers an excellent chance to see both game and birds amongst the ever-changing vegetation.
Mvuu Camp on the map
Mvuu Camp - Family Chalet
There are five family units with two beds per room. The bathroom is shared by both rooms.
Mvuu Camp - Standard Chalet
There are seven twin bedded chalets. The twin beds can be moved together to make a double bed.
Mvuu Lodge in the beautiful Liwonde Park
Mvuu Lodge is a thoroughly charming place and much recommended, as long as you have appropriate expectations as to what to expect from the game-viewing in Liwonde . The lodge lies between the Shire river and a small ox bow lagoon. It is a traditional safari camp but thoroughly comfortable and sufficiently zooty to be combined with smarter options elsewhere in Malawi such as Pumulani or Kaya Mawa...
The main lodge at Mvuu Lodge is raised on stilts and overlooks the river with lots of comical warthogs on view from the dining and sitting areas. There’s a small swimming pool close-by. The rooms all stretch along the lagoon. The original five are closest to the main lodge and thus ideal for people who don’t want to walk so far. They are large tented rooms with an en suite bathroom in stone with bath, basin and loo inside and outdoor shower. Lovely views over the lagoon from your deck or hammock. (I reckon hammocks should be compulsory for a safari lodge – they are the perfect way to relax between safari activities!)
Tent 5 is the honeymoon tent, similar in style but with a large bathroom under thatch with a deep circular bath for two. Nice concept but somehow it didn’t really grab me. Tents 6 to 8 are the new tents, quite a bit further away, (so a bit of a hassle if you forget something and have to walk back for 10 minutes), but larger and slightly more stylish. The bathroom is semi open-plan to the bedroom (wooden divide) with an enclosed toilet, indoor shower and outdoor shower. Though I preferred the newer rooms, the original ones are also great with better lagoon views and the benefit of proximity (which is especially nice in the hot spring weather.)
Liwonde Park is Malawi’s premier wildlife reserve but the reality is that, though Liwonde Park has a variety of game, it is by no means a Big Game safari destination. You will certainly see lots of elephant, you will plenty of stunning birds and plenty of general game including the rare Sable antelope. You're also likely to see herds of buffalo and perhaps be able to track down the black rhino on foot. But you'd be very lucky to see any predators even though there are lion and leopard around.
With that mind, part of the charm of Mvuu Lodge is the diversity of game-viewing activities. It offers game drives, bush walks, game-viewing by boat, sunset cruises, village visits by bicycle (great!) and rhino tracking on foot. I loved this variety – you are not just sitting in a game vehicle all the time. After a morning of game-viewing on foot and by vehicle, we transferred to a boat to enjoy some game-viewing from the river. We even enjoyed a delicious breakfast on the boat with a chef cooking omelettes to our specification, plus some of the most delicious cinnamon rolls I have ever tasted.
Bicycling to local school from Liwonde Park
One of the most enjoyable and educational experiences during my stay at Mvuu Lodge was a visit to the local village. This is done by bicycle, cycling first 1km through the park with an armed scout at the front and your ranger at the back. Then you continue another kilometers to the village where we cycled to the primary school, met the headmaster and learnt a lot about the education system in Malawi. This was fascinating, if somewhat depressing as you realize that only the hardest-working and luckiest children can get a secondary school education. You learn how various organizations are assisting this, and other schools, include an organization called HELP Malawi, as well as Wilderness Safaris. Then we visited some of the classrooms and chatted with the kids. I met one particularly spunky young girl in Grade 7 who wants to be a lawyer when she grows up. She asked us what we did and I explained, rather condescendingly perhaps, that “ I was here to learn all about Malawi so that I could bring visitors to their beautiful country”. “On bicycles?” She drily replied with a twinkle in her eye.
Never try to get one over a kid!
I really enjoyed the experience of cycling through the Malawian countryside, saying hello to everyone. As elsewhere, people are smiling, waving hello and the villages are generally very clean.
I enjoyed my stay in Liwonde Park. I would probably combine a safari here with either the Majete Wildlife Reserve or the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia for a more 'full-on' safari.