Mvuu is a small and intimate lodge, nestled in the thick riverine vegetation.
Mvuu Wilderness Lodge: Our full report
Mvuu Wilderness Lodge is named after the Chewa word for hippopotamus – Mvuu – and lives up to its name as a great place to spot a good variety of river wildlife. Situated on the banks of the Shire River in Malawi's Liwonde National Park, the lodge has five tents on decks and overlooks a lagoon (a old ox-bow side-channel of the river) where game can very often be spotted coming down to drink.
Mvuu is a small and intimate lodge, nestled in the thick riverine vegetation. The main dining/bar area of Mvuu lodge is raised on a high deck with a circular thatched roof (which played host to a family of wire-tailed swallows when we were there!) and overlooks the lily-covered lagoon. A large bar (fashioned out of an old mokoro canoe) and a comfortable seating area with squishy sofas and chairs (complete with the ubiquitous game of Malawi bao) make this a great place for relaxing during the day.
The main area of Mvuu Wilderness Lodge is connected to the rest of the lodge via wooden walkways which lead out (via a spectacular loo-with-a-view!) to the swimming pool. This is situated in a large decked area, and is more of a plunge pool, but is very refreshing during the heat of the day. The Wilderness Lodge also has a lovely fire pit area, surrounded by a low “ha-ha"– a stone wall with a deep ditch on the far side: an effective barrier to the many elephants that wander through the camp – but close enough to give an exciting viewing experience.
Activities at Mvuu Lodge centre around the Shire River – and the lodge has a great covered boat, perfect for drifting down the river. We managed to get very close both to a large and noisy breeding colony of cormorants, and to an old bull elephant making his way slowly along the banks of the river. Also on offer from Mvuu are guided walks with an armed scout, and game drives.
Mvuu Wilderness Lodge has five well designed and large tented rooms, each of which has a view over the lagoon. These are raised on cantilevered decks, and have recently been redesigned to create a larger living space and a really rather spectacular bathroom!
is Malawi's best area for safaris and wildlife - hippos and crocodiles are virtually guaranteed, as are good numbers of elephant. Impala, waterbuck, and baboons are often commonly seen. Less common are sable, kudu and bushbuck and the bird life is also plentiful. The park is not known for its population of cats, although I did have a great sighting of a serval when I visited in 2002. Lion are very uncommon, but are occasionally seen at the far eastern end of the park. Leopards are sometimes spotted on the night drives, but we were unfortunately not lucky on our last visit.
Our ViewLiwonde National Park is beautiful park, with a stunning river and a good population of elephants – although it doesn't have the density or variation of game that you'll find in larger parks, like Zambia's South Luangwa. Mvuu Wilderness Lodge is a great place to come and relax for birding and river activities.
Ideal length of stay: 3 - 4 nights
Directions: The lodge 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
Owner: Wilderness Safaris
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When last we visited, the food at Mvuu was very good.
For Breakfast before the activity, there was always a selection of cereals, fruit salad, toast and a fresh pot of tea or coffee.
Brunches were served in the main bar area – and we only had lunch once during our stay, which was meatballs in a rich spicy tomato sauce, rice and a selection of salads and fresh bread.
Our dinner was served near the fire pit, and accompanied by the munching of an elephant close by! We were served devilled chicken, roasted potatoes and a good selection of vegetables. Pudding was a delicious fruity melba pie, followed by teas and coffees.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: No drinks are included at Mvuu
Birdwatching: The best birdwatching is from the boat trips that the lodge offers – notables include the fish eagle, purple-crested turaco (we heard this well before we saw it!), bee-eaters, lilac-breasted rollers, and a great selection of water birds. To my delight we were able to find a painted snipe!See more ideas for Birdwatching in Malawi
Wildlife safaris: The wildlife in the park centres around the river, the life-blood of the park. Families of elephants can often be found bathing and drinking, and the population of hippos is huge. We were lucky enough to find a group of sable during one of our drives.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Malawi
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome
Property’s age restrictions: 12 years and above
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: Yes, above the age of 12 due to the game in the area.
Notes: With plenty of elephants around, and other big game, children should be carefully supervised at all times.
Power supply: Generator
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: All of the managers are first aid trained – the nearest doctor is in Liwonde which is 45 minutes drive away.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There are unarmed night watchmen at night.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers outside the rooms and in the common areas.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included.
Accepted payment on location: Cash is welcomes for any extras, in US dollars, UK sterling, euros or SA rands. Alternatively, Visa are the only credit cards accepted, but there is a 15% surcharge on all these transactions. No other credit cards are accepted.