Monkey Olympics at Wvaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Baboon on dry mud, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Baboon on dry mud, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve lies in the Northern Malawi Highlands, close to Zambia’s border.

Entrance to Jurassic Park, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Entrance to Jurassic Park, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

It was officially named a Wildlife Reserve in 1976 by the government but had previously attracted visitors from near and far for its wild- and bird life variety.

A heron enjoys calm waters at Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

A heron enjoys calm waters at Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

At that time, this land was owned by local tribes, and chiefs controlled accessibility. They had been relocated outside the park’s fence after it became officially a National Park.

Dried elephant and hippo trails at Lake Kazuni, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Dried elephant and hippo trails at Lake Kazuni, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Lake Kazuni is Malawi’s smallest lake and increases in size during the wet season on shallow mud.

Foggy reflections on Lake Kazuni, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Foggy reflections on Lake Kazuni, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

It was a calm, chilly morning at ‘Kauzini Camp’ on Lake Kazuni. Early morning mist covered the valley on the eastern side of the Lake, the tranquil waters steamed off by early morning rays.

Hippos grazing early morning at Lake Kazuni, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve,Malawi

Hippos grazing early morning at Lake Kazuni, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve,Malawi

A few hippos returning from the night shift, munching on juicy grass along the edge of the water,  pure serenity.

Hurrying to the best viewing point, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve,Malawi

Hurrying to the best viewing point, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

The wind picked up, and so did the action. First spectators arrived, rushing to secure best viewing points.

A more casual approach, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve,, Malawi

A more casual approach, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Others preferred a rather casual approach for a spectacle, never recorded by humans. The baboon obstacle course. Or was it a monkey ‘Boot camp’?

Young ones still practicing on style, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Young ones still practicing on style, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

At this stage, I was still oblivious to things to come in front of my lens. After running along the lake’s water edge, the first hurdle was reached. The giant Bamboo wall. 

Moms showing the young ones how it’s done, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Moms showing the young ones how it’s done, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

The trick here was to climb along this 20-meter fence as quick as possible. The young’s ones still didn’t know exactly what to do, whilst babies clung on to mothers hairy chest.

10 out of 10 for style, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

10 out of 10 for style, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

In the end, a giant leap of faith was needed, executed in style.

Making the most off half time, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Making the most off halftime, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Some audience members used the opportunity for a tick check.

Fleas? Tick! Beetles? Tick! Worms? Tick? Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Fleas? Tick! Beetles? Tick! Worms? Tick? Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Massage and breakfast in one – got to luv that.

Pick me! Pick me! Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Pick me! Pick me! Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Other spectators got up to a higher vantage point, looking almost humanly.

Extra weight for moms, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Extra weight for moms, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

The next obstacle was the water channel.

High jump expert, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

High jump expert, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Some tricky business, rated in height, distance and style.

Bored ref, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Bored ref, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Some of the refs were clearly not impressed,

Crowd surfing, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Crowd surfing, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Whilst other spectators even tried crowd surfing.

Is that really happening? Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Is that really happening? Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Others simply couldn’t believe what they are seeing.

Strictly no cheating! Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Strictly no cheating! Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Cheaters were strictly punished with monkey business. This will not do.

All aboard, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

All aboard, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Meanwhile, back in the lake, the hippos had their own morning exercise.

Back in to the water, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Back into the water, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

A morning sunbath ended in submarining into the waters. Youngsters followed in style. 

Ranger with a smile, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Ranger with a smile, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Ranger Josep came around late afternoon for a guided walk around the lake. I would have like to go walkabouts alone, but that just isn’t allowed. Besides, all money paid goes straight back into National Parks or communities, which need all the help they can get.

Handsome ranger Joseph, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Handsome ranger Joseph, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Loaded with an M-16 rifle, we set out. Handsome ranger Joseph is very knowledgeable about flora and fauna in this park and explained a lot.

Hippo mom vary off danger, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Hippo mom vary off danger, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

We saw some hippos, lying on the shoreline, who were enjoying the afternoon sun.

Smiley hippo kids in the sun, while one enjoys the waters, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Smiley hippo kids in the sun, while one enjoys the waters, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

A mom with two youngsters, who were smiling to the sun. Others were still in the shallow waters.

Giant cactus tree umbrella, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Giant cactus tree umbrella, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

The flora was just as diverse as the wild- and birdlife.

Sausage trees in the front, Maroula trees behind, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Sausage trees in the front, Maroula trees behind, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Eagles and kites were circling above the Maroula and Sausage trees, giant cactus trees are plentiful too.

Thank god for mobile phones, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Thank god for mobile phones, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Whilst Joseph was checking up on his wife, I spotted a lonesome hippo grazing the grasslands.

Grazing hippopotamus with battle scars, Vwaza Marsh National Park

Grazing hippopotamus with battle scars, Vwaza Marsh National Park

Battle scars are clearly visible for these very territorial animals.

Tough day on Lake Kazuni, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Tough day on Lake Kazuni, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Another herd was having a mud bath, another tough day in paradise it seems. Unfortunately, we didn’t come across any elephants or buffalo. There are huge numbers of both here in this park and with the lake setting, it would be a great photo opportunity. Not today. Maybe tomorrow?

Where did you put the towel, Edna? Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Where did you put the towel, Edna? Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

But I did get to see Hippos on land, which I haven’t done anywhere else. We took the inland track back to camp and Joseph was busy explaining about the flora.

Colourful tree display, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Colourful tree display, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

A funny fact I noticed here in Malawi before, was that they pronounce the ‘l’ as an ‘r’, and vice versa. I am not exactly sure how or why, but that’s how they been thought in school. Joseph was a typical example. He pointed at the ‘lain tlee’ in front of us and said that, when this tree starts flowering, ‘lain’ isn’t far off. Only then, I realised he meant the ‘rain trees’. Later when we exchanged emails on my iPad, he asked ‘where do you derrete’? I had no idea what he was talking about, it took me a while to catch on. Ha ha, things are a bit different here in ‘Marawi’, ‘no plobrem’.

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I took a few more photos of the ranger with his gun. He even got photobombed. Definitely, a lot of monkey business going on here.

Moonrise under Zimba’s tent, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Moonrise under Zimba’s tent, Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

I joined Di and Guy by the smoldering fire for an evening chat, while the moon came up Inder Zimba’s roof tent. Happily married from the Durban area, they are enjoying retirement from work and kids with travels through this vast continent. Fantastic lifestyle. Falling asleep with the grunting sounds of the hippos is a bit unusual, yet a reminder off wild Africa.

Another tranquil morning at Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

Another tranquil morning at Vwaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

The morning didn’t bring much joy with elephants or buffalo. It is, however, a magical place to wake up too. 

2 thoughts on “Monkey Olympics at Wvaza Marsh National Reserve, Malawi

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