Mvuu Lodge: Where Rustic Luxury Meets Untamed Beauty in the Liwonde National Park

Min Read

Words by Yvonne C Mtengwa

You’ll find it amongst the iconic fever trees of the magnificent Shire, amidst the sprawling plains of Liwonde National Park, yet tucked away on Namagogodo lagoon. Operated by Central African Wilderness Safari’s, this isn’t your typical safari lodge. Mvuu Lodge offers unparalleled access to wildlife encounters and breathtaking scenery of water and land, doing so with a unique blend of rustic charm and contemporary luxury. This eco-friendly haven is designed for the discerning traveller seeking a rugged yet restful retreat in the warm heart of Malawi.

My stay here, part of a 10-day experience across Malawi was short, but perfect enough for me to start thinking about coming back for a little longer. Beautiful sunrises ushered me into each day we were in camp, and still evenings with banter between guests wrapped us up for the following one. Imagine being awakened by the gentle chirping of exotic birds and the distant rumbling of hippos, which quite active during the night, could be heard munching at the grass that surrounded my luxury suite. On each morning and late afternoon, I stepped out onto my private deck, which boasted a panoramic view of the action-packed lagoon, where elephants, crocodiles and a myriad of birds, casually kept the huge populations of hippopotamus company. What unfolds before you along the shores of the magnificent Shire River – is a vast savanna teeming with life, all while you luxuriate in the comfort of your spacious tented suite or enjoy refreshing drinks and snacks from the elevated sundeck at the main camp.

Luxurious comfort under canvas

The lodge itself is a testament to inspired design. Gone are the days of roughing it in the bush. Here, luxury suites, a mash-up between brick, mortar and canvas, take center stage. Each of the suites boast an expansive canvas interior, creating a sense of spaciousness that blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings. King-sized beds draped in mosquito netting invite restful slumber, while oversized sunken bathtubs with outdoor showers offer a touch of indulgence under the blue-by-day and starlit-by-night African sky.

But the true highlight is the private deck facing the lagoon for each suite. Imagine soaking in the cool water’s stillness after a thrilling game drive, the gentle gurgle of the pool from hippos and crocodiles darting up and down the water’s surface, blending with the symphony of the bush. The sight of wildlife ambling past your suite or birdlife swooping in for a fresh catch adds a touch of untamed magic to the experience.

The lodge’s communal areas are equally impressive. The main deck, with its inviting fire pit just below, offers comfortable seating and is the perfect spot to unwind after a day of adventure, sharing stories and experiences with fellow travellers during pre or post dinner drinks. Further down from the lodge’s main dining areas, a sparkling pool provides a perfectly pristine picture of relaxation that merges the surrounding waters with the savannah on the horizon.

Wildlife Encounters Beyond Compare

Mvuu Lodge lies within African Parks managed Liwonde National Park, which since 2015, has been the site of some significant wildlife translocations and reintroductions. This landscape is well recognised today for moving the needle with averting some of the highest human-wildlife conflict levels in the region, as African Parks continues to work in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW).

Our expertly guided game drives took us across various parts of the National Park, where we were fortunate enough to spot a graceful cheetah and her two cubs taking what seemed like a much-needed siesta after a successful antelope kill. Zebras grazed peacefully as much as we caught a glimpse of waterbuck and other members of the antelope family, getting their fill from a combination of grasslands and marshes nearest to Shire River.  On such excursions, it is always a pleasure to participate in the school of the wild, as knowledgeable rangers not only ensured our safety but also brought the African bush to life, sharing fascinating insights into the animal behaviour and the delicate ecosystem we were witnessing.

Beyond the thrill of game drives, Mvuu Lodge offers a variety of unique experiences that cater to the curious explorer, including game viewing from the water, sundowner and night safaris, hide viewing, bush dining, and getting involved with communities in Liwonde, giving guests an opportunity to make a difference through community upliftment initiatives that the Lodge is a part of. 

A Disconnect to Reconnect: A Perfect Balance of Adventure and Relaxation

One of the most captivating aspects of Mvuu Lodge is the sense of disconnection it offers. The lodge allows you to truly escape the constant hum of digital life, only offering internet connectivity from the main lodge’s upper deck. But disconnection doesn’t equate to deprivation. The lodge provides all the modern amenities you might need, ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free stay. The attentive staff caters to your every whim, ensuring your needs are met with genuine warmth that’s characteristic of Malawian hospitality.

When within your luxury suite, you’ll find plenty to pique your interest from your space, designed with a focus on the use of natural materials and the calming views overlooking the lagoon, which certainly blur the lines between your room and the wild. Your safety briefing will remind you of the nocturnal animals that have been known to saunter through the camp by night, including cheetahs and lions, and so while in the comfort of your room, one can appreciate the thrill of the wilderness, reconnecting with nature, yourself and with those you share this incredible experience with, also ensuring vigilance by day should you need to take a walk to the main lodge for a snack, a chat or to get back on line for a short while.

As each day drew to a close, we gathered around the crackling fire pit, sharing stories and laughter under a canopy of stars, a million glittering points of light illuminating the boundless African night. Mvuu Lodge to me was more than just a luxury safari lodge; it’s a philosophy that pays homage to honest, authentic hospitality, and certainly a spirited way of experiencing the raw beauty of Africa from the shores of Malawi’s longest river.

To learn more about Mvuu Lodge, visit

Yvonne C Mtengwa is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Travel Essence Magazine, a Communications Strategist by profession, with an avid passion for discovering Africa and the Middle East’s iconic landscapes through her travels. Connect with and follow her travel, tourism, and lifestyle experiences on: IG @Quintessentially_yvonne.



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Central African Wilderness

Liwonde National Park



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