Mvuu Camp in the Liwonde National Park, built with views over the Shire River
Mvuu Camp: Our full report
The family-friendly Mvuu Camp is located right on the banks of the Shire River, in the Liwonde National Park, and caters for the more budget-conscious traveller.
It is not far from its more luxurious sister camp Mvuu Lodge. Mvuu Camp has 13 stone and tented chalets under a thatch roof, which includes five family chalets. Each chalet has a small veranda at the front with a couple of canvas deck chairs as well as a table. This is a great spot to relax and enjoy uninterrupted views of the river.
Inside, the bedroom is light and airy with low gauze windows allowing a breeze to flow through. Twin or double beds are covered with tasteful African print fabrics and surrounded by mosquito nets. Beside each bed is a bedside table with a solar light and a can of mosquito repellent. Each room has hanging space for clothes and a day bed, which can be converted into an extra bed for a child.
Behind the bedroom, separated by a stone wall, is a small but functional bathroom. Here you will find a flush toilet, single basin and shower. Soap and towels are provided.
The five family rooms are identical except they have another twin-bedded room at the back with the bathroom shared between the two.
Behind the chalets at Mvuu Camp is a large swimming pool which has a shallow kiddies play area. The pool is surrounded by a reed fence and has a gate, which is more child friendly than most other lodges we have visited. Around the pool are a few thatched shade areas with sun loungers beneath them.
The main area of Mvuu Camp is a very spacious open thatched structure which houses the lounge, bar and dining area and is built between two enormous baobabs. It overlooks a shady lawned area and has lovely views of the river. Here you will find a well-stocked bar and a lounge area with wooden furniture covered with green cushions. To the other side is a large dining area. There is also a small shop selling postcards, safari clothing and some curios. In a corner is a children’s play area with brightly coloured plastic furniture and some toys.
Outside this main area is an enclosed children’s playground with a concrete slide, swings and a wooden climbing frame.
Activities at Mvuu Camp concentrate around the Shire River and are the same as at neighbouring Mvuu Lodge. They also have a covered boat for boat trips up and down the river. Sightings of hippos and crocodiles are virtually guaranteed as well as elephant coming to the water to drink. Also on offer from Mvuu Camp are guided walks with an armed scout, as well as day and night game drives.
Elephant impala, warthog and baboons are often commonly seen with large herds of waterbuck grazing on the river bank. Less common are sable, kudu and bushbuck and the bird life is also plentiful. The park is not known for its population of cats. Lion are very uncommon, but are occasionally seen at the far eastern end of the park.
It’s also possible to visit a local village, either by bike or on foot, with a guide from the lodge.
Our ViewMvuu Camp is a comfortable, affordable family-friendly camp with a lovely location right on the riverbank. Its not as luxurious as its sister camp next door but the activities here are the same.
Ideal length of stay: 3 - 4 nights
Directions: The camp has an airstrip five minutes' drive away and from there it's a one-hour flight to Lilongwe and a 35-minute flight to Blantyre. By road, guests are taken by boat across the river, from where they are driven by vehicle to Lilongwe – a journey of about 4 hours, or 3 hours to Blantyre. During the rainy season guests are transferred by boat one hour down the river to Hippo Point Lodge, from where they are driven onwards by road.
Owner: Wilderness Safaris
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: On our recent visit here (November 2013) we did not eat here but the manager did explain the following :
- Breakfast is generally a buffet with a selection of cereals, fresh bread, fresh fruit and juices. A cooked breakfast is also available.
- Lunch is a two course choice with either pasta, burgers or fish and salads, followed by a light desert.
- Dinner is usually a three course table d’hote menu with a selection of red or white meat or a vegetarian option. Some evenings there is a barbecue outside under the trees.
Dining style: Mixture of group dining and individual tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included at Mvuu Camp. Approximate costs – a bottle of wine varies from U$20 – U$35. Beers U$2 a bottle, soft drinks U$1, spirits U$3 and a glass of wine U$3.00.
Further dining info: Room service is not available.
Birdwatching: Great birding in this lush Malawi reserveSee more ideas for Birdwatching in Malawi
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Mvuu Camp.
Property’s age restrictions: There is no minimum age limit to stay in the Camp, however there is a minimum age limit of 12 years for walking activities and a minimum age limit of six years for boating activities.
Special activities & services: The swimming pool is popular with children during the day. At the main area there is an outside play area with swings and a slide and inside there are games for children to play with. There is a special childrens menu. Child minders are available however parents need to mindful that they are camp staff and not qualified child minders.
Equipment: There are cots and high chairs available.
Generally recommended for children: We recommend Mvuu Camp for children, as there is a lot here to keep children occupied.
Notes: Parents need to supervise children at all times as there is wild game wandering through camp day and night.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: There is solar electricity in the tents and a generator in the main area and the kitchen. There are plugpoints in the tents for charging batteries.
Communications: There is WiFi in the main area and patchy cell phone reception.
TV & radio: There are no TVs.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: Borehole water is fine for washing and filtered drinking water is provided in the tents.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: All of the managers are first aid trained – the nearest doctor is at a clinic in Liwonde which is 60 minutes drive away and the nearest hospital is at Zomba which is 2 hours drive away.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There is a park ranger based in the camp and there are unarmed night watchmen on duty at night.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers outside the tents as well as in the main areas.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included and is machine washed.
Money: There is a safe in each of the rooms. The lodge does not have a currency exchange.
Accepted payment on location: Cash is welcomes for any extras, in US dollars, UK sterling, euros, Malawi kwacha or SA rands. Alternatively, Visa cards are accepted, with no surcharge. No other credit cards are accepted.