As we have previously mentioned in many articles, Malawi is a particular favourite of the Uyaphi team. Both by the friendliness and warmth of its people and by the diversity of its landscapes and fauna. On a recent trip to Malawi, we explored the southern corner of Lake Malawi, the last of the Great Rift Valley lakes . Tucked away in the Liwonde National Park which straddles the Shire River is Mvuu Lodge.

Mvuu means hippo in the local Tonga language and is suggestive of the camp’s location. It comprises of eight fixed tents on decks each overlooking a different aspect of the river, with those eponymous hippos as a permanent feature. The lodge is run by the rather excellent Wilderness Safari company who enjoy a well deserved reputation for low impact eco tourism with luxuriously simple accommodation. The camp is connected by raised walkways and beaten paths with a comfortable dining area, various lounges and a hidden swimming pool area. Game is free to roam in the camp with amusing warthog as almost permanent fixtures (at least, I find their expressions and movement amusing.)

This camp enjoys the best of both worlds. You can watch game on water in canoes or larger boats or by more traditional game drives on land with the options of game walks or by mountain bike. The area enjoys the largest elephant herds in Malawi and is also the centre of a brave reintroduction programme for black rhino. You can go on a special rhino tracking walk which lasts about three hours which finishes with an always enjoyable bush breakfast or dinner. The rangers are determined to let the rhino re-establish a foothold in this territory and they will share their passion as well as their knowledge with you.

Mvuu is not a destination for first time safari guests. There are no vast savannahs populated by huge migratory herds. You have to look a bit more here. But it is an unspoiled environment which makes up for the lack of game by the simplicity and beauty of its nature as well as the harmony between water and land. There are certain animal hotspots; it enjoys probably the best year round birding experience in southern Africa and enjoys large herds of sable, one of the most majestic of the antelope family.

This is a place for old Africa hands. Luxury in the simplicity of its decor, its buildings, its surroundings, its environment and a way of life it represents. It warms my heart that it exists and Africa is all the better for it.

Malawi Safari packages; http://www.uyaphi.com/malawi/safari/

Mvuu Lodge Malawi by Nicolas Edwards

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