It’s Monday 14th January 2013 and a new year at Mkulumadzi

This week we will hear from Emma and the team down at Mkulumadzi.

The year has come and gone in a blink of an eye and it’s time to reflect on all that 2012 had to offer. When we first arrived we were filled with eager anticipation about all that the year was going to bring us. And now looking back, what a year it has been!

Mkulumadzi Lodge celebrated its one-year anniversary in July. We’ve seen many guests come through, all amazed with the lodge and surroundings. The lodge is picture perfect all year round and the views are ever changing, as with the rivers.

Chalet at  MkulumadziView from  private deck

PoolsideDining area

We’ve come full circle going from lush bushy greens to bare sandy banks and back again and the changes are breath taking.

WaterbuckZebras

Of course, a highlight was the introduction of the lions, who did not waste any time in settling in. Being an official Big 5 destination is going to do great things for Malawi and we’re incredibly excited for this to happen. They’ve already attracted a large number of guests from all over the world eager for a glimpse.

Lions with killLundu the dominant male rhino

LeopardBuffalo

Ellies  in Shire

Despite their recent absence, as they have been exploring their new home, the lions were heard by some guests on a game drive, making their return to the Mkulumadzi concession known. The guests went out hoping to have a sighting of one of the black rhinos and so settled down in a hide to wait. It wasn’t long before some baboons nearby began to alarm call and that set everyone on the alert watching to see what might be approaching. Braston was the one to spot “Shire” (a lioness), who approached the hide from behind and strolled around beneath them, tried half-heartedly to catch a warthog and then wandered off into the bush to begin her evenings foray. Needless to say, it was rather an exciting sighting!

The lioness Shire

We had a brilliant Christmas and New Year. The lodge looked very festive with all our decorations and the staff had been practicing Christmas carols for many weeks beforehand. They sang on Christmas Eve much to the guests’ enjoyment, so much so we gave a second performance on Christmas Day too.

As the rains began, Chris and I decided to go and visit Blantyre over a couple of quiet days, the nearest city to Mkulumadzi, to do some shopping. We hopped into our Land Rover, affectionately known as “Sid” the sloth (not known for its speed) and made our way to a crossing of the Mkulumadzi River, which staff usually use.

As we approached the river Chris made a quick evaluation of the depth and decided that Sid should be able to pass through without any problems though we may get wet feet. Unfortunately as we began to cross, the front wheels dipped into a hole submerging the air intake, we promptly found ourselves stalled in the middle of the river. I remember thinking, as Chris quietly and quickly planned our next course of action, just how leaky Land Rovers are as the water level quickly rose up past his ankles! Hastily grabbing our essentials and valuables we clambered out of the passenger window and began wading through the surging waist deep waters to the riverbank and safety.

Sid going underThe team trying to get Sid out

While Chris ran off to radio for help I took a couple of photos for the album, “Sid” was eventually rescued and is still slowly taking us from place to place, though he seems to go a little more quickly through river crossings now!

We can only hope that 2013 will be as exciting and successful as last year was and we’re looking forward to seeing it unfold. Happy New Year!

Emma

croc

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