Its Monday and safari insights from Mkulumadzi

I do hope that you are sitting soundly and healthily at home and ready for another wonderful week ahead. To start you off on the right track, we are going to whisk you away on safari to Mkulumadzi. Conrad its over to you:

“Last Thursday I dusted off my guiding boots (they never stay clean for long) and glanced through my tree notes to ensure that I do not confuse my Dalbergia melanoxylon’s with my Siplorhynchus condylocarpon’s. I was going to be guiding for the first time in a while and was extremely excited about the prospect.

That Friday, our Mkulumadzi guests arrived from Lilongwe in time for chef Thomas’s famous Chikwawa Chicken lunch and soon after we set off in search of Majete’s secrets.
The first game-drives were relatively calm with sightings of the usual species that we see but we also caught a glimpse of a sable antelope, discovered the web of a stunning Golden Orb Web Spider, and got close to a tortoise – not hard as he wasn’t moving at any great speed! We spent time with a troop of baboons as they prepared for a night in the treetops and could not help but wonder what they thought of us? Only 16 years old Tamu has a great thirst for knowledge and peppered me with questions about Honeyguides and Chestnut trees.

The plan for Saturday afternoon was to go a little further afield in search of elephants. However, early on in the drive it soon became clear that this was not going to happen as we were stopped in our tracks by alarm calls coming from the riverbank. This set-in motion a game of hide-and-seek with a pride of lions which we finally found after a lot of listening and tracking but they were quite far off the road in some thick vegetation. At this point, we knew that patience was the name of the game and this came served with some ice and a slice of lemon and a sunset. Our efforts were rewarded when shortly after sunset, the pride slipped out from their hiding place and walked right past us – a fitting end to a great day in the bush.

Sunday morning, we once again set out nice and early. We could tell the lions had not moved far from where we saw them the previous night, but with Majete’s lush vegetation they proved just too tricky to find so instead we decided to moved up the Nsefu road, away from the river where we found a young bull elephant under a Marula tree, carefully picking up each fruit the baboons had dropped earlier.

That afternoon we did not move far away from the lodge but instead spent time birding at Nankamba hide before having sundowners next to the Shire River, where a breeding herd of elephant awaited us.

We had decided on a short drive the Monday morning – little did we know that the bush was saving her best for last. With the sun beating down on us and the Land Cruiser’s nose pointing back toward the lodge, we passed a seasonal mud pit in Mvunguti loop where we found a gorgeous large elephant bull. He was mid-mud-bath when we arrived but immediately walked up to the car, keen to pose for a few photos (and playfully intimidate all of us in the process). As he stood in the road, only a trunk’s length away, two sub-adult lions came stalking out of the bush, keen to take advantage of the herd of impala that had gathered at the mud-pit. After careful negotiations with Mr. Elephant about a parking spot, we managed to manoeuvre the vehicle so that we could see both the stalking lions and the boastful elephant all in on panoramic view. And there we sat; me, Tamu, Alpha and Terry, in the blazing hot Malawian sun, loving every moment of spending quality time with these celebrities.”

Wow sounds amazing! Thanks, so much Conrad for sharing this wonderful safari with us. We can’t wait to hear more tales of the bush from Malawi soon.
After all that excitement there is little to report from Nkwali except that we are finally getting some much-needed rain and some lovely cool days with incredible vistas being lapped up from the boat. Next week however, I am sure that we will have some more fab sightings to share with you, so until then, stay safe and happy and don’t forget to look after one another.

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