Liwonde, Zomba & Lake Malawi

Wow how the time flies. The first quarter of school is already done! It’s crazy how fast things can move.

Just before the end of the quarter, we had a short, 3 day break from school for Mother’s day. Apparently the US is the only country that celebrates Mother’s day in May, not in October. Go figure. We were both very grateful to have the time off. Our friend Ben came to visit during the break, and it was great having him here. We decided that since he had travelled all the way here, we should try to show him as much of Malawi as we could. So we rented a car, picked him up on Tuesday, and Wednesday morning set off on our Malawi tour.

First stop was Liwonde. Liwonde is one of the national parks of Malawi, it is just south of Lake Malawi and has a fairly large game park. We drove to Liwonde town at the base of the park and had lunch at a place called Hippo View Lodge. I had only driven around Lilongwe, and only once, so the 4 hour drive down to Liwonde town was an adventure. I love driving here. Anytime you want to pass someone, you can. It’s amazing. Also-random question that came up on our drive, if how many miles per gallon you get is mileage, what is kilometers per liter? We couldn’t figure it out.

Anyway, we had heard you could take a boat from Hippo View up the Shire River to Mvuu camp where we were staying, but that proved to be too expensive, so back in the car we got. The road from Hippo View took us parallel to the river for a while before we hung a right on a dirt road that brought us into the park and to the rivers edge. There we parked the car, threw our stuff on a boat and were ferried across the river into paradise.

Shire River

If you ever have the opportunity to stay at Mvuu, I can’t reccomend it high enough. It was amazing. We went on a dusk safari drive, returning after dark and the next morning we went on a boat safari along the river. I won’t try to explain what it is like to see massive animals like Hippos and Elephants up close, but not behind bars. You really have to experience it for yourself. (So if you want to come visit, let us know) We saw a herd of elephants crossing the river which is probably in the top 5 coolest things I have ever seen. They literally use their trunks as snorkels. Also, the “Safari Tents” that you stay in was the nicest “tent” I have ever stayed in. Ben even had his own bedroom. AND, in the morning, we were woken up by warthogs and monkeys running around our house and on our porch. I have never seen Miranda so excited to wake up, and it was for the warthogs, not the monkeys. Weird. BTW-Keri, look at this picture of a monkey and eat your words about them being mean.

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From Mvuu we headed over to Zomba, a giant plateau. We stayed a night there with the Hiroto family who graciously gave us a room in the place they were staying. It was significantly cooler there which was a relief, and plenty of hiking to do. Unfortunately, half the mountain was on fire, so that was a bit of a downer.

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Kind of on a whim, we decided that Ben couldn’t come to Malawi without seeing Lake Malawi. So we hopped in the car and 4 hours later were in Salima, and spent the night in a little cottage right on the lake. It was pretty awesome to be able to wake up and jump right in the lake. We hung out there for the morning, and then headed back home to Lilongwe. So to recap, Ben arrives Tuesday, Wednesday morning he wakes up to apple pie for breakfast from Miranda. Thursday we wake up on a river with warthogs and monkeys running all around us. Friday we wake up on top of a plateau that is on fire. Saturday we wake up on the shore of Lake Malawi. It was a whirlwind.

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Other than our break, which was very busy, life has actually settled down here. We are settling into a good routine. One whole quarter in and I think we both even know what we are doing at school. O and I forgot to write this earlier and am too lazy to find where it should have gone, so my new favorite terms for animals are a business of mongoose and a confusion of guinea hens. That is all. 

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