Lengwe National Park
Lengwe National park is found in the lower Shire river valley. It is easily accessed by road from Blantyre 80km and is near the Malawi western border with Mozambique.
It covers an area of 900sq km under savannah grasslands, miombo woodland forests and dense riparian forests near Shire River. The western area of the park is covered in sandstone rock outcrops that rise into the undulating hills. There is a system of well maintained tracks that make game viewing in the park easy
The wildlife in game drives in concentrated in the eastern part of the park near Shire valley. Lengwe is a famous home of Nyala antelopes besides other mammals like kudu, duiker, impala, warthog, bushbuck, baboons, Livingstone Suni, bush pig and buffalo among other small animals.
Game viewing is good during the dry season as you’ll see many of these animals visiting the waterholes. The park authorities have created some pools and hides near the park gate on the eastern side to increase opportunities for game viewing. There are also many birds in the woodlands recorded to be nearly 300 species.
Since the park is located a few kilometers from Blantyre, there is plenty of accommodation for tourists and safari goers. Accommodation in the park is at the main camp near gate. The camp has a canteen selling arts and gift items, an educational centre as well as a small museum. The camp has self catering facilities, chefs for hire and camping equipment.
Lengwe National park accommodation in also available in Fisherma’s Rest camp and Mkulumadzi Safari Lodge located 40km from the park gate. Blantyre hotels and accommodation offer options for dinner and overnight as well.
Lengwe National Park covers 350 square miles or 900 square kilometers in area, found south of Majete and as well 50 miles or 80 kilometers from Blantyre. its vegetation is majorly thicket, with a little deciduous woodland as well as more thick tree growth down the length of the stream’s courses. The area in the east is rather flat, permitting a good and clearly marked network of drive able tracks. In the west the terrain rises and projections of sandstone, plus low hills, break the horizon.
Lengwe is relatively dry after the rainy months and most of the water courses turn into arid sandy channels. This enables game viewing since it compels the animals to utilize the very few remaining pools that hold permanent water supplies. There are man-made pools as well as hides within the eastern part of this park just a small distance from the park’s main gate. The benefit of these hides is that visitors can observe a variety of wildlife collectively at the water hole. Although the park also supports predators such as leopards in addition to hyenas, the antelopes will actually be more frequently spotted. Among these is the uncommon species in Malawi, the very gorgeous nyala. There is no other place in southern Africa where these are seen but instead further north. The wonderful kudu also move around the park just like the commonly seen duiker, impala, the small Livingstone’s suni and the bushbuck. Baboons, buffaloes, monkeys, bush pigs in addition to warthogs, are frequently seen within the park. In addition the birdlife within Lengwe is very striking with approximate 300 or more species recorded. Among these are some somewhat uncommon birds, a number of them only endemic to Malawi.
At the park’s gate is an impressive heritage centre – the Tisunge; which is actually the Chi Chewa for ‘Let us preserve!’ – the Lower Shire Heritage Centre that prides in a little museum, a library, an arts and craft shop, an open structured meeting area, an education area plus the manager’s office, and an ablution section. Plans are over head for a kid’s club, a weaving area as well as a repository area.
Additionally the tourist lodge run by the government was refurbished and smartened up in 2003 and today runs as the Nyala Lodge. Nonetheless, Lengwe can offer splendid one day tours starting in Blantyre.