Sunday, March 10, 2013

Marvelous Malawi

Saturday morning, my fellow volunteer Aminat and I hopped into our rented Rav 4 and headed to Liwonde National Park, about 120 km from Blantyre.  We had reservations to stay at the Mzuu Wilderness Lodge and go on not one but three safaris.  One by truck, one on foot and one by boat.

 We couldn't have had a better time.  The Lodge was beautiful, the service excellent and the safari experiences were amazing.  We had been warned that because it is the "green season" we likely wouldn't see elephants.  And we didn't.  But we saw lots of other animals and weren't really disappointed by the lack of elephants.

The green season, by the way, is another way to say rainy season.  The rainy season officially ends the end of February and we enjoyed a dry weekend.  Because of all the rains, though, there is a lot of lush vegetation, which is beautiful to look at and creates lots of places for elephants to hang out - where they can't be seen.  Also, because "every puddle becomes a watering hole" the elephants aren't as drawn to the river's edge.

Elephants aside, here are some photos...

Our trusty Rav 4, delivered by Premier Car Rentals.  Parked in front of my apartment at Villa 33.

During the green season, access to the Lodge is by boat.  We weren't five minutes from the dock when we saw this group of hippos.  
The sky goes on forever over the Shire (pronounced Sheer eh) river.

More hippos.  During the hour ride to the Lodge we saw dozens of hippos.

A termite hill.  I thought we had a termite problem in FL.

Approaching the dock at the Lodge.  Can you see why they call it Green Season?

The deck of our room.  I watched the sunrise here on Sunday.

Part of our attached, open air bathroom. Clean, beautiful and the shower was amazing!

After a delicious lunch we climbed into the camp truck and headed out into the park. One of the first animals we saw (after driving about 2 minutes) was this wart hog.

The iconic baobab tree. The bark on the trunk has been stripped away by elephants.

It's an impala!  I said that a lot.  We saw hundreds of impalas.

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