To venture into the Liwonde National Park and stay overnight at the Mvuu Camp this past week was an experience that gave me an unexpected perspective. In one of the poorest and undeveloped countries in the world, there are strong efforts to save and protect the species of this country that we, as Americans, only can see in zoos, picture books, and videos. Yes, the humans are in dire need; however, Malawi recognizes the need to also give due respect to the animals here. They are being protected from poachers in nature preserves and allowed to live good lives in the spaces that their respective species require.
After an hour-long drive from Zomba to Liwonde, I ventured down the Shire River with a wonderful guide in a boat who stopped to let me photograph the amazing wildlife and scenery.
Having just seen my first hippopotamus and elephant in a natural habitat, I was ready to settle into the camp to see more via both a land safari and a boat safari. It is quite unfortunate that so many Malawians have never seen a hippo or an elephant, but that is changing through the good work of organizations like the Mvuu Camp that are holding workshops for primary school children about the animals and educating them about how important it is to preserve them amidst the current difficult economic and environmental challenges.
Here are some of the animals I saw on the land safari in a Land Rover with two very knowledgeable guides:
An impala (one of many).
And on the boat safari. . .
A hippo with her newborn calf.
A beautiful (and big) crocodile.
They have such amazing eyes!
And elephants and elephants and more elephants with their heart-stopping magnificence and majesty!