Day 207 Malawi : Liwonde National Park

We woke to a glorious day and were up at 5am with the sun and the birds.  With my Skyband card still valid from Lilongwe and Wifi reaching to the campsite I set about doing admin work (again!).  But I did manage to intersperse this with dips in the cool swimming pool a_SG107842 and trips to the bar for cold softdrinks.  Trevor, meanwhile, was underneath Sully doing a service.  He managed this beautifully and all the engine oil (without a drop being spilt) was drained into a collapsible bowl and decanted into 2l water bottles for disposal.  All filters changed, all levels checked and Sully started up first time and ran like a dream.  He's getting good at this.

We went over to the lodge reception to book for some game watching and decided on a game drive that afternoon/evening, a walking safari the next morning and immediately followed by a boat safari.

After a lazy lunch and a sleep by the pool, we got ourselves ready for our game drive.  We met up at the lodge for coffee and tea and met our ranger, Matthews.  The others that we supposed to join us had decided not to so we had the pleasure of Matthews company to ourselves.  He was incredibly knowledgeable not only on the park animals but the birds as well.  As we mentioned yesterday, there are no large predators in the park but plenty of antelope, small animals and birds to see. 

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Warthog with babies Waterbuck Impala
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Malachite Kingfisher Female Kudu Female Kudu

Our drive continued on into the night.  It was an incredible drive.  Trevor took over the night light so that Matthews could concentrate on driving.  Sitting on the jump seat at the front of the game-viewing Land Rover, he had the perfect place to catch the animals in the light - and catch them, he did!

We were really privileged to see a herd of wild pig - Matthews had only ever had 1 sighting of them in his 5 years as a ranger as they are nocturnal and very private, shy animals who normally manage to get away at the first hint of sound.  We also saw civet and gennet, white-tailed mongooses, Red Hartebeest (an endangered animal and also normally not seen), an elephant shrew (to tick off on our Little 5 list), elephant (the proper big 'uns), a Mozambican Nightjar (Trevor was really, really chuffed!) and loads and loads of warthog and antelope.

We finally made it back to camp after 8pm for a quick supper and off to an early bed for our 4:45am wake up call the next morning.  As we were getting ready to go to bed, Sue walked by.  We had met her and Graham a bit early that afternoon.  They are from UK and on an African overland road trip for 3 months.  They are travelling up as far as Tanzania and then back down to SA via Zambia before handing their vehicle back and heading off back home.  So, back to the story.  Sue happened to walk by on the way to the lodge reception when she saw a shadow pass in front of her just behind Sully.  She stopped and shone her headlamp on it to highlight a bull elephant wandering around the campsite!  She called up the night watchman, John, who managed to herd the ellie out of the campsite and down to the water's edge.  Phew, that was a bit of a close call.  Sue carried on her way and we went back to our braai with a promise to meet up the next day to swap route and camp information (as you do).

We fastened up the tent really well and went off to bed with the hyenas yodeling in the background.