We of knew that Malawi was not a safari destination. Nevertheless, we spent two days at the Bushman’s Baobabs Lodge at the edge of Liwonde National Park. A canoe Safari took us on the Shire River and its shores studded with reeds. A few hippos, lots of waterbucks and some birds were the wildlife we encountered. On a Sunset Jeep Safari, we came across a few elephants inhaling dust and blowing it onto each other to cool themselves, the absolute highlight of this excursion. Otherwise, again lots of waterbucks, warthogs and a beautiful kudu were really all we saw.
No regrets, but we cannot truly recommend this park, unless it is your only opportunity for game viewing on your trip to Africa. Most likely Majete National Park offers more wildlife, but at this point we decided to spend no more big money on safaris and to move north.
On the positive side, we met fabulous people, among them Blake, an Australian investment banker who quit the business and has worked and traveled in Africa since then. We spent many hours discussing the political situation in our home countries and found many disturbing similarities.
Another character was Daran, the owner of Bushman’s Baobabs Lodge. Born in South Africa, his parents moved from the Transvaal to Malawi. He seemed to have seen, heard and done it all. What was rather upsetting was how he treated his staff and the amount of alcohol he was downing from dusk to dawn.
At the campfire one night we got to talk to a South African, who was overseeing the construction of a railroad financed by the Brazilian company Vale. It was built to get coal across Malawi and Mozambique to the Indian Ocean. Once a week it will be used as a passenger train, which certainly does not seem enough considering the jammed packed busses. We learned that one of the biggest challenges for the train management was to get the locals off the tracks. Many villagers got into the habit of walking on them, since these old tracks have been there for a long time and used only once a week by a slow train. But now to up to 14 coal trains, driving at high speed, use these tracks every single day and there have already been a few ugly accidents.