Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve lies in the Northern Malawi Highlands, close to Zambia’s border.
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.
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.
Lake Kazuni is Malawi’s smallest lake and increases in size during the wet season on shallow mud.
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.
A few hippos returning from the night shift, munching on juicy grass along the edge of the water, pure serenity.
The wind picked up, and so did the action. First spectators arrived, rushing to secure best viewing points.
Others preferred a rather casual approach for a spectacle, never recorded by humans. The baboon obstacle course. Or was it a monkey ‘Boot camp’?
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.
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.
In the end, a giant leap of faith was needed, executed in style.
Some audience members used the opportunity for a tick check.
Massage and breakfast in one – got to luv that.
Other spectators got up to a higher vantage point, looking almost humanly.
The next obstacle was the water channel.
Some tricky business, rated in height, distance and style.
Some of the refs were clearly not impressed,
Whilst other spectators even tried crowd surfing.
Others simply couldn’t believe what they are seeing.
Cheaters were strictly punished with monkey business. This will not do.
Meanwhile, back in the lake, the hippos had their own morning exercise.
A morning sunbath ended in submarining into the waters. Youngsters followed in style.
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.
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.
We saw some hippos, lying on the shoreline, who were enjoying the afternoon sun.
A mom with two youngsters, who were smiling to the sun. Others were still in the shallow waters.
The flora was just as diverse as the wild- and birdlife.
Eagles and kites were circling above the Maroula and Sausage trees, giant cactus trees are plentiful too.
Whilst Joseph was checking up on his wife, I spotted a lonesome hippo grazing the grasslands.
Battle scars are clearly visible for these very territorial animals.
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?
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.
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’.
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.
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.
The morning didn’t bring much joy with elephants or buffalo. It is, however, a magical place to wake up too.