It’s Monday 19th September 2011 and it’s back to the warm heart of Africa

For the next two weeks we will hear from my namesake Rita and Glyn Manning who kindly offered to share their exciting trip back to Malawi with us. Let’s hear from them…

“We have been watching with keen interest the building of Mkulumadzi on “It’s Monday” for months and as soon as we knew the opening date we just had to book.

On arrival at Blantyre airport Simon and Robert met us and we started our 2-hour drive to camp. We warned them we had been travelling a long time and might fall asleep. No chance! The scenery after leaving Blantyre is quite spectacular with some wonderful views as the road climbs higher. Simon and Robert were able to give us a brief history of the area and the two hours passed by very quickly.

We arrived at camp and as expected the vehicle was parked and we crossed the swing bridge over the river, a fantastic way to approach camp.

Mark and Jenna met us at the lodge. How wonderful to see them again after 3 years. Walking into the main lodge you are immediately stopped in your tracks by the beautiful view of the Shire River. What a spectacular place to build a lodge. We have visited over 30 lodges and this must be amongst the best views we have encountered. So nice to be by a river that actually has water flowing and its not even the rainy season.

Bridge

The chalets are very generously proportioned and are superbly decorated and furnished. We love the grass roofs which help the lodges to blend in with the surroundings (very successful at Pumulani too) Ton, Margaux, Mark, Jenna and the team have done an excellent job.

We are not birders but have visited Africa for the last 13 years and find the birds and smaller animals equally as fascinating as “the Big Five”. We are no longer interested in visiting camps that are in a big hurry to clock up the big five in one day, we are just happy to soak up the atmosphere. Well, there is lots of atmosphere, lots of space and plenty of birds (some we had never heard of before), excellent food and good company. Lots of hippos, crocs, hartebeest, kudu, waterbuck, sable, buffalo, eland and elephants.

birdhippos

sablewater-buck

We heard elephants from camp but our first sighting was on our full day out (there was so much to see we didn’t reach our destination. Another good reason to come back). We came across two large bulls forming a roadblock, as they do, they were very chilled and had no plans on moving anywhere fast.

elephantbaboons

We were keen to walk and Simon and our African Parks Scout Moses were happy to oblige. It was boots off for a paddle across and down the river where the vehicle appeared with our morning coffee. The following day was a walk to and from camp, Simon this time carried our coffee. Thanks Simon.

simon-and-scout

One evening we were looking for the perfect sundowner spot. Yes we found it, a sand bank in the middle of the river (only a shallow crossing) We sat and watched Zebra and Sable come down to drink and a Pels Fishing Owl obliged us by sitting on a tree on the opposite bank. No doubt wondering what a G&T is.

We visited Kapichira falls, which are very impressive and, of course, are part of our history. On this drive we spotted Mark towing the latest toy, a new boat. Yes, you guessed, the next afternoon it was out on the boat for a trip around the dam. No elephants today although we had seen them crossing from an island the day before.

kapichira-fallshippos

One evening it was sundowners in the vehicle by a waterhole, warthog, a herd of buffalo and two hours waiting patiently and we were rewarded with a black rhino mother and calf coming to drink, well worth the wait.

warthhogin-flight

Thanks to Margaux, Ton, Mark, Jenna, Simon and all the staff for a fantastic trip, we look forward to meeting you all again.

We were sad to leave Mkulumadzi as we felt very much at home but our next stop was Pumulani.”

Tune in next Monday to hear Rita and Glyn’s tales of Pumulani… don’t miss it!

Till then, have a great week

rita

hippos

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