Its Monday and return to the wild

Well, hello there! I hope that you are well and having a lovely start to the week.  Here in the Luangwa, we are full of enthusiasm as we see a few international guests starting to come through and hope that more and more will follow.  Those that have been staying with us have been treated with some incredible sightings, so it appears the animals are also very excited to have more people back as well.  However, this week we are not hearing stories from the Luangwa, we are back in Malawi with news from Conrad.  So, Conrad for today its over to you:

“With vaccines in our veins and elephants on our lawn, we opened Kuthengo Camp up for another weekend.  

With the tail-end (we hope it is the tail-end) of this crocodile called Corona still wagging we have been sticking to what has worked well over the past year-and-a-half. (I am sitting in Kuthengo’s lounge on the banks of the Shire River writing this, so please excuse me if I continue with crocodile metaphors…) Like a crocodile on a sandbank that opens its mouth on a hot day and keeps it closed on cooler days, we have opened our camps and lodges when it made sense to do so and kept them closed whenever bookings cooled down once again. It is a strange way of doing business… But then again, crocodiles are strange creatures, yet they are exceptionally good at what they do.

One of Liwonde Nationals Park’s unique selling points is the ease with which guides can switch between doing game-drives on the floodplains, taking guests out for walks through the Mopane forests or cruising down river by boat. And that is precisely what our guides Angel and Stanford did over the weekend.  

Highlights on the game drives included a brave porcupine investigating the vehicle and a handful of elephant shrew sightings. The lions had left their tracks all over the road not far from camp, but alas, they were nowhere to be found.  However, a brief sighting of a black rhino’s bum made up for missing the lions.  

Out on foot, this time with our trusted ranger Felix and his firearm helping out, we not only explored the subtle signs animals leave behind but also paid attention to those critters that are often left out when we tell stories around the campfire. We watched as an ant struggled (successfully so in the end) against a lion-ant and how a spotted bush snake devoured a frog.  

As often is the case in Liwonde, drifting down the river by boat surrounded by stunning and ever changing landscapes proved to be the highlight. As they often do, large herds of elephant congregate next to the river, allowing us to get close-up views of them frolicking about. The hippo density in this stretch of the Shire River is unrivaled anywhere else on the continent – it is easy to count 200 of them in one afternoon on the river. And then of course the ever-present crocodiles patrolling the waterways. 

As always, we prefer time spent in the camp to play second fiddle to time spent out in the bush. But as our guests would attest, between Chef Dickson in the kitchen and the ever-present Amon in the restaurant, there was always something to look forward to when returning from the bush. Housekeepers Joshua & Marvelous made sure the tents are in tip-tip-shape. Sanderson got a little grumpy when the elephants trotted all over his well-watered lawn but that is all in the past now.  

On the afternoon of July 6th, with all guests having checked out, we celebrated Malawi’s Independence Day before all getting on the boat and drifting downriver toward our separate homes.  

All in all, it was another fantastic weekend at Kuthengo and we are already looking forward to the next one. But before then, a quick trip down to Majete Wildlife Reserve to open Mkulumadzi.”

Thanks so much Conrad and watch out for those crocodiles and hope that you had a lovely trip down to Mkulumadzi and look forward to more tales of your trips soon.  Between now and then though we hope that you have a fabulous week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.

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