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Day 140 – Safari Liwonde

9th February 2012

sunny

Breakfast was served on the lawn. Filter coffee and Mulanje tea, fresh fruits and fresher juices, fruity jams, yummy muesli, hot toast, English pork sausages, crisp bacon, runny eggs and baked beans; it was difficult to leave. But leave we did.

Roland had mentioned that he knew an auto-electrician in town and we took his number. We split up in town with Somers and Post going into the market to do some food shopping whilst I went to contact the sparkie to see what could be done about our diminishing headlamp saga. Since we didn’t have a phone I borrowed one from a local guy in the Pep store in exchange for the remaining credit from my voucher. I’d soon met the electrician and he was quick to get under the bonnet with a wire connected to a bulb as his single tool.

At the same time Laura and Post were buying food like it was going out of fashion. All the vegetables and chillies we’d need for a few days came in at three dollars. Another eight dollars was spent on the best part of a kilogram of fillet steak and half a kilo of beef mince.

Before long our ‘one wire and a bulb’ electrician had discovered a faulty relay and was off to find a replacement. He duly did find a second hand relay from somewhere and we had four headlights again. Whether they’d still fade in and out was a question we couldn’t answer for a while.

Back on the road and it was time for some safari action. Liwonde National Park was the destination, via our accommodation for the evening in Liwonde Safari Camp. We’d heard a lot of good things about the camp due to its two owners being experts in local knowledge and great entertainers. So it was with some dismay that we found they were both away and had left Sylvia, a Dutch chick and her Norwegian boyfriend, in charge. What knowledge the pair lacked they supplemented with made up fact.

The gates of Liwonde National Park were guarded by small black man in military uniform, gold epaulettes included, who was adamant that there were only ten kilometres of usable track in the whole of the national park. We let him judge Redvers’ weight at under two tonnes which meant we saved a bit of cash and we paid him six dollars each for our entry and then underwent ten excruciating minutes of being told and then retold which roads (one and a half of them) where accessible, what time the gates closed (6 sharp) and that it was now ten past five so we’d better hurry up. As we passed him he saluted and stamped his right foot to attention. It was like an African Dad’s Army.

The park had been in decline and is now slowly reintroducing lost species and expanding its game viewing potential. Only one marauding Mozambican lion inhabited the park, mistakenly looking for female company, and somewhere far to the north of where we were. Leopards were around but few and far between and rhinos were absent except for a pen at Mvuu Camp (luxury lodge.) The main mammal of note was the elephant, but our little guard had told us that even they had gone north.

This wasn’t a major issue, we were out of season and in a game park famed not for a big five but for its birds. There were plenty of warthog, impala, kudu and especially waterbuck and birds enough to keep us fanning through Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa.

We ignored ‘Captain Mainwaring’ and drove the river loop that was ‘inaccessible.’ In hindsight it had probably been closed to prevent further damage to the track rather than it being entirely inaccessible; the ruts we left behind probably didn’t help. Back at camp the rains came, we braai’d the fillet, Somers fried the vegetable including the aubergines and we polished off a bottle of rum and had a good go at the bottle of gin. We spent a few hours in the candle lit and very empty ‘honesty’ bar playing ‘drinking darts’ and then went to bed; Somers and I to our luxury roof top terrace (tent on car) and Post to his ten bed suite (empty dorm.)

Posted by ibeamish 02:17 Archived in Malawi

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Hi,

very sorry I wasn't home, my apologies. I will take your feedback into consideration. Thanks.

Frederik

by Frederik Lampe

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