“Liwonde”:https://www.african-parks.org/the-parks/liwonde is one of Malawi’s four national parks and we stayed for three nights at “Mvuu Lodge”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/accommodation/177109-review-mvuu-wilderness-lodge where we had our own dedicated guide, Tom, along with Alan who carried the gun and night lamp when required.
As the lodge is right on the river Shire we had a great choice of game activities.
An early morning walk began with a welcome delivery of tea at 5.30am. After the safety briefing, we set off for the gentle 2-hour walk with Tom telling us about the termite hills, baobab trees with net-covered trunks designed to prevent animal damage and the clever mopane tree. The latter has distinctive butterfly shaped leaves, and a chemical defence in that it emits a tannin which deters animals and informs down-wind trees an animal is on its way, so it too can begin secreting the tannin. We also checked tracks, identified dung and saw the tiny ant lion beetle (one of the Little Five).
A morning game drive also began early so we could watch a large, very red sun rise before finding fresh black rhino and elephant tracks, groups of sable antelope, zebra, African buffalo and of course, the ubiquitous Deer Like Things.
Afternoon drives started with tea at 3.30pm with delicious cake before setting off at 4pm, carting a cool bag containing pre-ordered sun downers and tasty nibbles like spring rolls or mini pizza. As at “Majete Wildlife Reserve”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/177696-review-majete-wildlife-reserve there was a wealth of DLT, including a very majestic male kudu who disappeared into a bush so that we could only see its marvellous antlers peering through and found a bushbuck which had been taken by a cheetah the previous night. Once refreshed and after the sun had gone down, Alan sat on an amazing jump seat on the bonnet with the lamp and whilst it’s more difficult to spot animals, we saw mongoose, scrub hare and jackal.
We also had two river drives: one first thing to see the sun rise and one mid-morning. We got close to a herd of 15 to 20 elephants of all ages drinking on the river bank and Tom showed us a You Tube “video”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59kZYhoCK8c taken by one of his guests where a crocodile jumped out of the water and attached itself to an unsuspecting elephant’s trunk. There was a huge diversity of birds: cormorants, egrets, African darter, fish eagle, jacana, and various kingfishers. Hippos abounded but unfortunately, most decided to stay in the water with their mouths closed unlike a group of crocodiles on a land spit who had their mouths wide open to cool down and kill off bacteria.