The month of May was a strange one in terms of weather, with a wide range of different weather patterns across the country. In the highlands, there were still heavy rainstorms in places, the lakeshore experienced some rain and strong winds, whilst most of the low lands had general warm to hot weather. There has been noticeable drops in temperature at times as winter slowly sets in. The current vistas will soon change from the lush green to the dry brown colours as the effects of the lack of rain and cold weather start to set in. Generally speaking wildlife viewing, whilst not abundant has been quite good – herds of elephant are still seen in Mvuu, Lake Malawi waters whilst fresh are still warm enough to swim in and there are still frequent leopard sightings in Nyika National park
Mvuu Lodge & Camp
Weather & Landscape
Evening and morning temperatures have dropped noticeably with cool weather, but mostly sunny and warm during the day. There have been a few days of drizzle during the month, but the rains have now gone. The landscape is still green and lush, but expect changes soon.
The roads are also drying up now and becoming more easily passable.
There have been increased elephant sightings of herds during the month, perhaps some of the water sources in the forests are drying up. A small group of elephants recently walked through the camp, to the delight of guests and there are plenty of impalas sleeping are close to the camp for safety. There have been a few good sightings of sable antelope and black rhinos in the sanctuary, but the vegetation is still dense so it is usually very difficult to see
game. The vervet monkeys continue to wander in and out of the camp, especially during meals where they hope to pinch food from the tables.
Birds and Birding
As always, birding in Mvuu is amazing and there have been some good sightings of, among others, Martial eagles, palmnut vultures, Osprey, blue cheeked bee eaters, white pelican and many more. There was a good sighting of a female red necked francolin with small chicks near the camp.
Easter at Mvuu
Mvuu was fully booked once again over Easter and there were a few activities lined up for guests. The Mvuu staff choir entertained the guests during a buffet dinner on Friday night.
On Saturday afternoon a treasure hunt was organized for the kids, where clues were hidden in the grounds and the children were treated to Easter eggs and little hippo carvings from the local community. This was followed in the evening by a braai (barbeque) in the boma with traditional singing and dancing under the stars.
On Sunday there was a market day and the local community brought in their craft wares to sell to guests. In addition the Nandumbo band and dancers performed a few songs for the guests before and during their lunch. It was an Easter to remember!
Fantastic, loved every minute of it. Really appreciated the service and professionalism of the staff. Thank you wilderness. Lovely setting as well. Francisco
Black Rhino Conservation Update
Since December 2013 there have been rescue calls for wire snared rhinos almost once every month. This month, a report was recently received from Kriszti‡n Gyšngyi, Wilderness SafarisŐ Rhino Monitoring & Research Ecologist of yet another rhino rescue. 4 12 year old male Rhino Nyanyale was seen in the Rhino Sanctuary in Liwonde National Park with a three strand wire noose tight around his face. The very thick vegetation and the increasingly alert behaviour of the rhino made the darting and rescue operation very difficult and it was only on the 6th attempt that Dr. Amanda Selb darted Nyanyale. A happy ending to what could have been another tragic loss of a greatly endangered species.
Thanks to all involved in the rescue mission – a job well done. Thanks to Kriszti‡n Gyšngyi, Wilderness SafarisŐ Rhino Monitoring & Research Ecologist who prepared a full and detailed report and photographs.
Chelinda Lodge & Camp
Weather & Landscape
April was a predominantly wet month in Chelinda with showers almost every day and the odd few hours of clear skies and sunshine. The weather has been very unpredictable with some game drives in mist and walks in the drizzle.
As winter approaches and temperatures are dropping more antelope are preferring to stay in the low parts of the valleys to keep warm. This month game drives produced sparse game sightings but the usual suspects were always to be seen including roan and eland antelopes. Leopard sightings have been quite good with sightings almost every week.
Birds and Birding
There is still an abundance of birds and enthusiasts would not be
disappointed. Sightings this month have included; Lappet face vultures, white backed vultures on a scrub hare kill, Rwenzori night jars, red backed shrikes, grey backed shrikes, and cattle eaglets among others and there has also been a lot of raptors around.
ÔHighlights included, the constantly changing weather! The amazing sun sets and the hyena on the night drive sticking his head up to see what was going on as we drove past and ohÉthe sceneryŐ - Turner
The Nyika to Livingstonia hike is becoming popular with ever increasing numbers of guests wishing to take up this challenge. This is by far the most popular hiking trail on the Nyika and can also be done as a fully serviced trek. The route runs from Chelinda in the heart of the plateau to the famous Livingstonia Mission on the Khondowe plateau on the eastern edge of the plateau overlooking Lake Malawi.
It is a two night/three day hike with approximately six hours walking per day. There is a final ascent to Livingstonia and accommodation either at the Stone House (built in 1903 by Robert Laws the founder of the mission) or at Lukwe Camp overlooking the Manchewe Falls - the highest in Malawi.
Weather & Landscape:
April was generally warm and humid here, but cooled down as the month progressed. Day temperatures were between 24- 30 degrees, with frequent rain storms, strong winds and at times such big waves on the Lake that it was not possible to do water activities.
The lush vegetation around Chintheche Inn is home to a variety of small animals and recent sightings in the month of April included; genet cats, scrub hares, slender mongoose, and monitor lizards. In addition terrapins were seen by the lake side.
Birds and Birding:
Birding is always good at Chintheche throughout the year, and April was no exception with an array of bird sightings which included lesser-masked and
brown throated weavers nesting on palm trees, woodland kingfisher with its beautiful bright blue colours and most commonly seen during the rainy season around this part of the lake. Other sightings have included, bateleur eagle, African fish eagle, cape turtle doves, lilac breasted rollers, and lesser blue-eared starlings to name a few.
Over the Easter period, Chintheche was fully booked, and the kids especially had a great time. One of the guides, Wesley led the kids on nature walks around the area, sharing his knowledge of the flora, bugs and other interesting stories. Armed with walking sticks, the kids appeared to have had a great time discovering the bush and beach areas around the camp.
Children in The Wilderness (CITW) Programme
Dr. Sue Snyman, the regional Director for CITW based in South Africa visited Malawi to see some of the activities and projects taking place. During her visit Sue was able to join two discussion sessions with the private sector aimed at; promoting CITW, highlighting its work in Malawi and sourcing potential partnerships in CITW projects. The events in Lilongwe and Blantyre were hosted by the US Ambassador to Malawi and presenters included the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife Director, Mr. Kumchedwa, Symon Chibaka-the CITW Coordinator in Malawi and Sue Snyman.
Root to Fruit
A tour group from Southbound Travel Group visited the nurseries and planting sites to see the progress on the tree planting project. During the month, heavy rains made it difficult to carry out some of the work required, but all four nurseries are now complete and back in operation, with tube filling and sowing beginning shortly.
Wilderness Safaris P O Box 489, Sanctuary Lodge, Lilongwe, Lilongwe: T + 01 771 393 E firstname.lastname@example.org Blantyre: T + 01 836 960 E. email@example.com www.wilderness-safaris.com, www.wildernesstrust.com, www.childreninthewilderness.com