Welcome to the Shire River trail. Spend two and a half days in Liwonde National Park and encounter a completely different side and experience within the park. The Shire River is the park’s single most well-known feature and along the banks sit floodplains, grassland and lagoons which are thriving with wildlife.
The trail covers up to 30 kilometres over the two and a half days, the terrain at times can be challenging and you are essentially on a ‘bushwalk’. Guided by well-trained guides and an armed scout, you are in good hands.
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Day 1 of Shire River Trail: The day starts with a half-an-hour drive from Mvuu Camp, to the Nafiulu Hills, located in the central east side of the park. The trail starts at the foot of these hills, from where the ascent stretches for a distance of about 11km, yielding sweeping views of the surrounding Miombo woodland. This part of the trail is quite rocky and challenging underfoot. Specialist game that could be found in this area includes klipspringers and a variety of other flora and fauna. Heading west from the hills, the trail leads to the banks of the Mwalasi River, a watercourse that only flows in the wet seasons, but leaves behind pools and waterholes which are frequented by the parks’ herds of sable and elephant.
Day 2 of Shire River Trail: This part of the trail which leads from the Mwalasi River to the Shire River, stretches for another 11km and is on flat terrain all the way. Passing through the mopane woodland, into the expansive floodplains of the Shire, sightings of warthog, buffalo, as well as large herds of impala, waterbuck and kudu can be expected. The last few kilometres covered on this day will be right along the river bank, where wonderful sightings of birdlife, pods of hippos and crocodiles can be enjoyed.
Day 3 of Shire River Trail: The final day of the trail begins with an early breakfast, followed by a walk of around 7km along the Shire River to Mvuu Lodge, which is set in a grove of fever trees overlooking the river and surrounded by panoramic floodplains to the north and south.
Notes: This trail which covers an approximate distance of 30km over the course of two and a half days, offers many interesting features and sights and hikers can expect to see a variety of the park’s resident species. The distance may vary depending on game movements and local conditions. The terrain is occasionally challenging and as this is essentially a bushwalk, it will involve constant stopping to learn about tracks, habitats, birds and wildlife. The game that is seen en route is dependent on the time of year and the duration of the previous rainy season.
For the duration of the trail, guests are only expected to carry their own day pack with food, water, medication, a lightweight jacket, and a camera. Any extra baggage will be carried between camps by porters, who will go on ahead of the group of hikers. The trail will be led by a well-trained field guide, who will be accompanied by an armed scout.
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Why should you consider adding a trail to your safari:
A walking trail is ideal for enjoying the smaller, more subtle wildlife interactions and sightings that one might miss on a traditional game drive.
What’s the camp set up?
You arrive into camp in the afternoon to a camp fire, cold drink and your tents are set up with comfortable roll out bedding. Bathroom facilities are eco-loos and bucket showers. Dinner is served under the stars, now this is luxury. Breakfast too is always beautiful with the morning light of Africa rising to greet you along with a hot cooked breakfast.
(Images courtesy of Central African Wilderness Safaris and Bentley Palmer)
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