Central African Wilderness Safaris, one of Malawi’s long standing tour operators who also run the iconic Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde National Park, have released their latest newsletter providing us with an update of everything that’s been happening recently. We are pleased to share the newsletter below in their own words.
As Easter edges closer by the day, we are so pleased to bear witness to the slow and steady increase in tourism in Malawi. The bush is humming with life, with many new babies cropping up – particularly baby hippos and elephants. Liwonde is greener than ever before, fluffy grasses have shot up practically overnight, and butterfly season is well and truly upon us. Nyika’s extraordinary leopard, zebra and orchids continue to thrive. All of these elements of nature are simply magical this time of year and we hope that you are able to come and see for yourself over the coming months.
The celebration of International Women’s Day this month (8th of March) got us thinking about empowerment and what it means to us. Behind the scenes, we have been making the effort to bring more women into our team over the past year or so and we are so pleased to have recently achieved this goal. The positive impacts that have reverberated from this seemingly trivial step affirm the importance of small but significant changes. Welcome back Doreen, our new assistant manager at Mvuu Camp!
Although empowerment is often thought of as an individual experience, something that comes from within, we believe that it can be valuable to look at it as a shared experience. Placing the routinely “disempowered” in positions of leadership plays an invaluable role in shifting collective opinions, alongside boosting individual self-worth, which initiates wider social change in the long run. We firmly believe that empowered people empower others, and this is also key to the work of the charities we collaborate with.
On the topic of empowerment as a collective endeavour, we had the privilege of joining Symon from Children in the Wilderness and Charles from Root to Fruit this month on the ‘Changing the Lens on Conservation’ project. Here, students are encouraged to tell stories about their relationship to the natural world and conservation through the medium of photography, accompanied by a short essay. 15 cameras were donated to 15 schools across the CITW-enterprise in an effort to help students find their voice through creative storytelling. There are 45 stories in total, with each school having 3 stories, and 1 story from each school will be selected for the final round. The project aims to shift students from the position of passive listener to active storyteller. CITW upholds the view that students can only love what they understand so this project enables students to learn about nature and conservation in an interactive and fun way where complex issues are made accessible. Here, students are empowered through their interactions with each other, eco-mentors and community leaders.
“Students can only love what they understand.”
Two of our guides, Chifundo and Emmanuel, are CITW alumni and remain heavily involved in the charity’s work. Emmanuel accompanied us on the day trip, mentoring the current students and helping them take photographs. The student’s projects touched upon issues of soil erosion, human-elephant conflict, reforestation, and the impact of tourism on infrastructure (focussing on Nanthomba School, based just out of Liwonde). The students also enjoyed a day trip to Mvuu, where they captured plenty of wildlife photographs and appreciated an immersion into the bush. We look forward to hosting the finalists of the ‘Changing the Lens on Conservation’ project in May so we will keep you posted!
If you would like to donate to Children in the Wilderness or Root to Fruit, please go ahead and visit their websites. www.childreninthewilderness.com or www.roottofruit.net – any donations are always thoroughly appreciated and really do go a long way.
We are thrilled to announce that we have welcomed two new volunteers from eco-training, Maja and Jonas, at Mvuu. They are settling in well to bush life and are enjoying hosting guests, expanding the lodge’s vegetable garden, and photographing the beauty of Liwonde.
We recently celebrated our first Boma night of 2022 which was a magical evening full of wonderful people, deliciously heartwarming food and Malawian music, shared under an all-encompassing starry sky. Moreover, the Namagogodo Retreat – which will span across the most remote 3 chalets at Mvuu Lodge – is undergoing some renovations. With huge thanks to our amazing team for all their hard work and dedication – we are excited to offer new and improved rooms this coming season. Watch this space…
The wildlife at Liwonde has been particularly spectacular recently with more frequent sightings of lion (and their cubs!) and zebra, alongside all the usual spots. We are so pleased to see more elephants around Liwonde after they retreated during the rains and we are happy to report that plenty of boat safari guests have had some close encounters with these gentle giants over the past month. Additionally, the family of jackals is lodging close to camp and are often spotted within minutes of the safari vehicle leaving the premises. On a more exciting note, towards the end of the month, guests witnessed impalas being chased by wild dogs – a very special sighting considering their elusiveness since the relocation last year! Hear what our eco-training volunteer Jonas had to say about it…
“Yesterday evening was probably one of the best days of my life. I finally encountered the African wild dog for the first time ever. I’ve been learning so much about these almost mystic and endangered animals. I had goosebumps when I saw them!”
To learn more about Central African Wilderness Safaris, head over to their webpage here.
Central African Wilderness Safaris, one of Malawi's long standing tour operators who also run the iconic Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde National Park, have released their latest newsletter.
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