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All Good Things Must Come to an End…

The Family in Lilongwe!
(The family in Lilongwe)

I must say, I have enjoyed every minute of my Mom and Steve’s visit, including all of Koshie’s jokes! And as if their presence weren’t enough, Scottie (my brother-in-law) is here, too! He’s been working in Malawi this past week on TDY for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). In fact, rumor has it; Sami and Scott may be joining us in Lilongwe before too long!!! Scott may take over as the CDC Resident Advisor for PMI. He’s been supporting Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Liberia and Malawi (via CDC headquarters) for several years and is seriously considering a position in the field. Andy and I are thrilled by this prospect, granted they wouldn’t actually move here for another year. And if all goes well, perhaps we can convince my brother to move to Lilongwe, too!

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(Mom and Steve on the boat ride in Liwonde)

But first, let me get back to our travels with Mayday and Kosh! Andy and I spent this past week exploring three incredible destinations with my family – Liwonde National Park, Zomba Plateau, and Cape Maclear National Park.

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(Hippos in Liwonde National Park)

Liwonde National Park, with the Shire River as its border, boasts amazing wildlife and scenery. We admired the numerous heads of hippos peaking above the waterline as we drove the forty-five minute boat ride from the park entrance to the impressive MVUU Camp Lodge. Here Andy and I got our first lesson in birding! In fact, we’re getting pretty good at spotting Hammerkopfs, Pied Kingfishers, Boehms Bee-eaters, White-breasted Cormorants, and Yellow Masked Weavers, to name a few. Plus, we’re beginning to look at butterflies and insects in an entirely new light!

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(Elephants on the Shire River)

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(More Elephants)

Koshie has been relentless with his camera, which literally hasn’t left his side since the moment he arrived. Andy and Koshie have the same lens – and I must admit, their photographs have been exceptionally stunning. It’s been entertaining just watching Andy and Koshie rove around the countryside shooting at anything that moves.

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(Andy’s photo of the Fish Eagle)

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(Boehms Bee Eater)

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(Jackal)

Unfortunately, since we’re still in the rainy season, the wildlife wasn’t nearly as abundant as I had envisioned but enjoyable nonetheless. We still managed to see hippos, elephants, monitor lizards, impala, kudus, sables, hyena, jackals, warthogs, snakes, etc. And Mom will be the first to tell you that they have seen about 200 different species of birds (not bad considering 600 species of birds flourish in Malawi).

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(Pied Kingfisher)

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(Monitor Lizard)

We did have one frightening experience while on a night game drive. We were caught in a very dangerous, torrential storm. Our vehicle could barely manage the dirt roads, which were quickly turning into large rivulets of water. In fact, the car simply didn’t have enough power to make it up the steep hill (the road was more like a slosh pit), hence we were forced to take an indirect route back to the lodge. However, after several hours of inching our way back to the camp – we finally made it safe and sound. As an aside, that day marked Andy and my one-year anniversary – quite a memorable anniversary to say the least!

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(Our vehicle before the rains)

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(Ambassador’s Cottage)

From Liwonde, we worked our way to Zomba where I had made reservations to stay at the Ambassador’s Cottage (which is considered an extension of the Ambassador’s residence – but is available to all employees working for the US Government). The place was simply divine, with its gorgeous grounds and rustic environs. We primarily just relaxed in the mountains, hiked around the Zomba Plateau, and admired the beautiful flora and fauna. My Mom continues to declare that this was, by far, her favorite spot…

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(Baskets for sale)

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(Hiking in Zomba)

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(Amy, Steve and Marilyn at the Dam)

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(Andy Hiking)

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(At the Sunbird Hotel in Zomba)

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(Girl in Zomba)

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(Typical sign in Malawi)

From Zomba, we traveled to Lake Malawi to my favorite spot, Cape Maclear, a fishing village home to approximately 14,000 people! This is one of the most stunning locations on the lake, alive with fish eagles and African cichlids and encircled by granite boulders and lush woodlands. Everyone was in heaven as Mom and Steve went birding, Andy went snorkeling, and I perused the village taking photos of all the beautiful children.

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(Children in Lake Malawi)

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(Mayday in Cape Maclear)

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(Woman in Cape Maclear)

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(Andy on the boat)

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(Washing in Lake Malawi)

After several days of boating, snorkeling and hiking we worked our way back to Lilongwe via a short detour to Mua Mission – which happens to have some of the finest wood carvings in the country. Mom and Steve purchased a few mementos, not to mention we spent some time walking through the Mua village, and finally returned to Lilongwe.

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(Washing pots in the lake)

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(Amy and Andy at Otter’s Point – Cape Maclear National Park)

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(Girl in the village in Cape Maclear)

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(Amy and Steve in Cape Maclear National Park)

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(Mayday in Cape Maclear)

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(Toys-R-Us – finally a Land Rover I can afford)

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(Mom and Steve in Mua)

Everyone is a bit tired from all the activity of this past month. We’re all sitting on our patio with laptops in hand (Scottie is working next to me, Mom and Steve are birding, and Andy is in the kitchen preparing yet another delicious meal)! Just FYI, Andy is an incredible cook…each meal is a gourmet feast!

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(Carrying flour in Mua)

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(Woman in Mua)

Everyone is flying out tomorrow, mom and Steve are heading back to the states and Scott is on his way to Ethiopia for another TDY. The house is going to seem so quiet and empty without them. Even though they will be greatly missed, I will cherish the time we have spent together.

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Much love,
Amy

5 comments to All Good Things Must Come to an End…

  • Marcia Hawk

    I’ve really enjoyed your fantastic ejournal! I hope Mayday & Kosh have a safe trip home!

    Marcia

  • Margaret Goldstein

    Just the pictures are fabulous, nevermind being there.
    Margaret

  • Hi Amy !

    Congratulations for your beautiful BLOG.
    I liked very much the picture combination: Nature and People.
    “Keep doing the good job!” :-)

    Paulo Boute.

    P.S: Would you like to exchange links among our Blogs?
    Mine is: http://brazilianpioneerbirder.wordpress.com/

  • Patrick

    Amy,
    Two things … that picture of the man soaping himself by the lake is absolutely amazing!!! It is an award-winning National Geographic type photo. You must submit it somewhere for recognition.
    Second … all the photos and your descriptions are great and I’ve passed on this link to several others. I hope you don’t mind.
    Oh, and third … I’m planning to visit you and Andy sometime this summer … but I’ll give you plenty of heads up.
    Patrick

  • Parag

    You certainly had a memorable tour. Visiting those destinations is a life time opportunity and you don’t want to waste them. The pictures are so clear and crisp, it gives an imagination of the beauty of Liwonde national park.

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