Posted by: Alex MacGregor | March 3, 2010

Shire River Safari

After a couple days of relxing at the beach, it was time for another short-but-sweet safari!

Although Malawi isn’t exactly famous for game parks–unlike neighboring countries, Malawi is densely populated and lacks suitable habitat for some of the big game Southern Africa is famous for–we found a great safari opportunity at Liwonde National Park, along the Shire River.

The Shire River is an important waterway in Southern Africa. It drains Lake Malawi to the south and eventually meets up with the Zambezi River in Mozambique. David Livingstone intended upon sailing up the Zambezi but found it too difficult and chose the Shire River instead. He eventually stumbled upon Lake Malawi (which he called Lake Nyasa), setting the foundation for British colonization of Malawi (originally called Nyasaland).

Apart from the wildlife, we quickly discovered that the river itself was beautiful.

One reason this park was so appealing to us was accessability. Normally, safari parks are so remote from towns and cities that you pretty much have to set up your own transport into the park and pay whatever tour operators ask, which usually ends up somewhere north of $200 per person per day. However, this place is adjacent to the town of Liwonde, which has regular minibus access along one of Malawi’s major highways, allowing us to get almost all the way there on our own.

We stayed at the Hippo View Lodge, a riverside resort just up the street from town. We found that the place definitely lives up to its name; within a couple hours of arriving, we spotted a whole family of hippos just across the river. It turned out the warning signs aren’t for show!

The next day we went on a boat tour into the national park, and got up close with the hippos.

We also saw a fish eagle, waiting for a good chance to hunt.


  1. “Beware of Hippos” is the best sign I’ve ever seen.

  2. Just curious. When did you last see a McDonald’s?
    What will you do when you see your next McDonald’s?
    Did you give away the flashlight or binoculars yet?


  3. Caroline, your mom shared your blog with me. I am hooked on following your travels and so jealous of your adventurous spirit! Have fun and BE SAFE!!

  4. Wow! What great pictures and I love reading everything you post! Your travel stories are great and very informative! Miss you guys!

  5. ok i already commented like 2 minutes ago but i have to say that the 3rd hippo pic from the top, of the one hippo poking its head out of the water, makes me grin like a doofus. i don’t know, i just see a little thought bubble coming out of its head saying like, “doop doop doop” or “tum te tum te tum, i’m bathing”

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