It’s Monday 19th March 2012 and more about Majete

Chris and I arrived at Mkulumadzi three weeks ago after working at Pumulani last year then taking some time off before starting our new venture. It was a wonderful feeling being back in the bush and the first impala we came across took us off guard! I don’t know who was more surprised, the impala or us! We arrived late evening, thanks to “Sid”, Chris’ ‘speedy’ Land Rover, and were welcomed warmly by some of the staff and Bertram who has been looking after the lodge. It was a great help having him here for a week whilst we settled in, and we would like to thank him for all that he did! We really appreciated having him here and for guiding us through, whilst we got to grips with everything.

Chris & EmmaImpala

Majete Wildlife Reserve is alive at the moment and the Shire River surging after the rains. We’ve had some heavy-duty thunderstorms, which have cooled the park down beautifully and taken the haze away with them. The Escarpment towards the east is navy blue in the distance and all the bush greens vivid. The lodge is stunning – natural with bursts of lime green all around. It’s very tranquil with the sound of the Shire sweeping past camp, and I have enjoyed watching the hippos tobogganing down the rapids right in front of the lodge. They seem to be having such fun! The rooms are spacious and wonderfully comfortable, which is such a treat at the end of a busy day in the bush. We are very lucky to have such a skilled chef in Des, with the rest of the kitchen members, and not forgetting everyone else here at Mkulumadzi who make up our fantastic team.

Mkulumadzi TeamHippo

Room at MkulumadziBathroom

We had Hugh and Christine staying with us in our first week. Hugh used to live in Malawi in the 70’s and has returned after 38 years bringing his wife with him to experience a country that left such an impression on him as a boy. He told us all his stories and encounters as a child with such great detail you would never believe that he’d left. He must have picked up this skill after living here all those years ago as Malawians are true story tellers. After staying with us he had a few more to add to the collection, one of which was a great sighting of a black mamba and chameleon. We’re calling it “Battle at Majete”:

Hugh and Christine were on a morning drive with Robert and had taken Mendulo Rd towards the west. Robert noticed a snake and quickly stopped to show Hugh and Christine. In the short time it took for him to stop, the snake vanished and in its place was a huge chameleon. The guests must have thought Robert had been seeing things, as the creature was clearly a chameleon. But Robert was adamant in what he saw and knew that if they waited long enough the snake would appear once again. After some time the snake, a black mamba, obliged and began snaking it’s way towards the chameleon who turned black before the spectator’s eyes.

The snake launched itself at the severely angry chameleon, who opened its gigantic mouth at the same time almost swallowing the snake! The chameleon must have had a good grip on the snake as they remained in this struggle for a while until eventually the chameleon had to let go. The snake took its revenge for such humiliation and left the chameleon in a huff. Robert and the guests continued watching the helpless animal but eventually left it to its fate. On the afternoon drive they returned to the scene to see if the chameleon was there but there was no sign of it or the snake.

We’ve had two bull elephants in camp too. They come down in the late afternoons to enjoy our spread of marulas lying in the middle of our golf buggy’s road. Unperturbed by our presence they chomp throughout the evening until they’ve finished all of the day’s bounty with no consideration for guests trying to pass to go to bed!

ElephantsBaboons

ImpalasZebra

“Buzz”, the resident bush baby, pokes her nose in every now and then. I believe Mark originally thought it was a boy but confirmed in December that she’s a girl! It seemed as though Buzz was part of the welcoming committee as she strutted around the lodge checking for any changes made since our arrival. I think she was glad to see that all remains the same at home.

BuzzDining Area

Main Lodge AreaNyambe & Rober

As for the leopards, they are around! We heard one of them calling nearby about a week ago. African Parks say this is a brilliant sign, as it must mean that they’ve settled enough to stamp out their territory without fear of others. The noisy leopard is believed to be a male and the last two released have been pin pointed in our concession just upriver! So we’re all crossing fingers for a sighting not too far in the future.

We’re also excitedly waiting the arrival of the lions happening hopefully in August this year. This will make Majete Wildlife Reserve at Big 5 area and will restore the park to its former glory! Watch this space.

We are looking forward to all the exciting times that lie ahead of us and will keep you up to date with any news from our way.

Emma and Chris

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