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MALAWI - ZAMBIA. On the road again!!!

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 5:05 AM

So, here we are back in Africa. Our large plane landed in the small airport of Malawi and Gail and myself were soon greeted by the beaming smile of Bob waiting there for us. Yes, we were happy to see each other again.! Bob seemed much more relaxed than when I left him nearly 6 weeks ago, and he had many stories to tell about his trip through Tanzania and Malawi. He pretty much drove straight through, not stopping for touring, but enjoying most of the places he stayed at over the way. He took us to Mbaya camp in Llongwe where we stayed in cabins for a couple of nights before heading to Senga Bay, Livingstonia Steps camp right on Lake Malawi. A gorgeous grassed campsite with very good amenities, power (our first time with power) nice bar and stunning surrounding views. The lake with the island off shore to the front, and rocky hills to the side and rear of us, which gave good homes to the many baboons who were constantly chased away by the security guards.

 

After 3 nights on the lake we headed for Zambia. The border crossing only took us 1 hour this time, and because we had our passage de carnet we didn’t have to pay for carbon tax which was quite a surprise to us, but you do have to pay for council rates of around aus$6- and road tax of us$10. So, onward to Chipata, a big town not far from the border where we topped up our supplies and fuel then headed out to Mfewe and South Luangwa National Park,… a total of around 11 or 12 hours driving for the day and finally arriving to a stunning sunset on the banks of the Luangwa river in Wildlifes camp. Yep,… another good choice.

On our first safari in the morning we found many of the usual antelopes, zebra, warthogs etc etc, the park is quite bushy in many parts but also has some open plains. We were finally fortunate enough to be blessed with a wonderful sighting of a female leopard resting against a tree and her 2 cubs who gave a smooch then scampered by and went deeper into the bush. We had been watching other cars straining to get a view of these cats with only glimpses, so we sat back and waited until all the cars were gone and the cat relaxed enough to come back to the bottom of the tree in the sun. Just goes to show the importance of being patient!

In our afternoon game drive, we came across many elephants, which I might add, look so much smaller than the ele’s that we see in Kenya, but our afternoon highlight was seeing the 2 lion cubs in the tree branches. We had been looking for them for quite a while, and missed the rest of the pride by only minutes, but was lovely to see these, and sure it is just the beginning.

In our camp the next night, as Bob was cooking tea, I noticed a elephant passing close by through the bushes, so on investigating, I found there was 3 of them grazing as they made their way somewhere else. Apparently it is not unusual to have a wide range of wildlife come into camp…. Including lion and leopard. So, as if the hippos & crocs in the river below us wasn’t enough, the constant challenge from the thieving monkeys and baboons, the beautiful sunsets and watching the assortment of animals visit on the opposite bank, just knowing the wildlife wanders through camp at any time is just what you need to give you the full wildlife experience.! And yes friends…. THIS is the reason we come to Africa!!!!

After our safari it was almost dark so we opted to try out the food in the small local village further up the road, like most places,… chicken and chips was the hot favourite, (in fact, often, the ONLY choice). So she set out a place mat for each of us, & leaned across the table to discuss our menu. She put our order in then came back to our table, pulled up a chair and commenced to sit with us like an age old friend. She had only been working here for a month, so I guess no-one told her that your not suppose to make yourself quite ‘that much’ at home with the paying guests! Oh, the chicken, that was cold, the chips were ‘almost’ cooked, but the coleslaw… well that was quite nice. Seems they only had the 3 placemats in the establishment, cause when a couple of locals came in, she took our mats to use for the them.!!

 

Driving from South Luangwa we had to back track to Chipata, before heading onward to Pioneer camp near Lusaka for a couple of nights, a drive of 10 hours. Next we took the great north road to Serenge where we stayed over-, night in a lovely motel before moving on the next morning to reach Kapishya hot springs at Shiwa N’gendu . Oh yeah…. Another great choice!!! This is also home to the African House, a place with interesting history and oodles of interesting old remnants. Bob was particularly taken with the old steam boilers etc. Strangely enough, driving through this area, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were driving in Australia…. It looked just the same, with hundreds of different gum trees and bushes etc. Gail pointed out some mistletow growing, so it was quite a lovely drive.

Finally we reached our very secluded destination of Kapishya Hot Springs, and oh what a lovely place this is. Once again, camping (or lodge) right on the fast flowing river. Apparently they also offer white water rafting a little way up the river. We gave the rafting a miss this time, but we did enjoy the hot spring, with its crystal clear warm water,…. You could see the plumes of sand billow out as the bubbles rose from beneath. Another one of those times we were happy we bought the Go-pro camera so he could get good under water shots. It was SO relaxing laying in the warm water, under the canopy of assorted trees and bushes with the birds calling and fossicking on the edge. Reckon we might stay an extra night or two. ( camping here costs 80kw which is about Aus$16 per person. You can also enjoy a lovely 3 course meal with bar in the main building if you choose to. There are lodge facilities if you prefer and a pool! So all round, we think this is a nice place to chill out no matter what style of accommodation you look for.)

 

So that brings me up to where we are now. The 3 of us are managing well together and enjoying our time, even Gail who has very limited space in the back of the car. Tomorrow we will head back south taking in the sights on our way, but that’s another story.

 

Categories: Malawi, Zambia April 2014

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