Our Intrepid Traveller; a client’s account of Africa – Part 6

On the road to Kayak Africa camp we saw Open Billed Stork, 3 Hammerkop on Fever Tree branch (Fever tree is light  green and the bark is cooked with water for a tea for fevers), sausage trees, huge Baobab trees (and these had leaves since I am here in rainy season; usually they are just bare branches), gorgeous flamboyant trees, Spur-winged Goose, Egyptian Goose, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Lilac Breasted Roller, Brown throated weaver, Pied Kingfisher, Euphorbia ingens (Common tree Euphorbia or Candelabra Euphorb).

All over Malawi, there are raised ridges in the roads when coming to and leaving large villages to wake you up  or to let you know to slow down, etc.  Michael calls these “sleeping police.”

We entered Lake Lalawi National Park.  The lake is 580 km long and 140 km wide and is overfished.  Even with overfishing, there are over 1000 ciclids in the lake.  The park is covered with Brachystegia (Sasa tree) on the hillsides and has huge granite rocky boulders and outcrops.  Had lunch at Cape Maclear at the Gecko Lodge Restaurant.  Had fish and chips with a Lake Malawi fish.  From there I was transferred to a boat which looked like it might not make it from where it was tied up, much less for a 50 min. boat ride to Mumbo Island.  Once there, you see Mumbo which isn’t very large, and then Jumbo which is a very small, island connected to Mumbo by a 150’ wooden bridge.  This is where the 5 cottages are located and all have views of the Lake and Mumbo Island.  There are loads of birds and Mr. and Mrs. Bulbul have their territory just above my tent.  The largest non-bird thing on the island is the water monitor (Varanus niloticus).   Sorry, PH, it is a BIG lizard!!  There is a rainbow skink which is just gorgeous.  It has a light blue tail and when the sun hits its body it turns iridescent.   The only mammals are a fruit bat and otters (which I didn’t see).

The tents have two single beds and two tables inside, two chairs and a hammock outside on the deck, and the bathroom is about 10 steps away.  It is open air.  The toilet is a long-drop and when you are finished, you just throw in a handful of wood shavings.  The whole set up is “green” as there is no electricity or generator.  The kitchen works with propane gas.  After dark you have lanterns or flashlights and you go to bed early!  The showers are literally 2- 2 1/2 gall. tin buckets with a welded pipe with a shower head and faucet to turn the water on and off.  When you want a shower, you have to let the staff know ahead of time.    The tents are built on massive granite boulders.

Oh, and did I tell you I am the only person here????

Ok, so it is HOT.  I climbed into my bathing suit, grabbed mask and snorkel,  and figured the lake would be cold.  Not so,  I snorkeled all the way around Jumbo Island to see the ciclids.  Only one was of note to me–a bright blue with black vertical stripes.  The others were a bit mottle colored.  Sorry, DR!

Animals:  Hammerkop, Rainbow Skink, another lizard.

Dinner was coconut milk chicken, rice, salad, fruit, and fresh homemade rolls.

That night I thought it was pouring rain and kept putting off going out of the tent to the bathroom.  About 4 a.m., just had to bite the bullet.  Turns out it was the wind and waves sounding like rain.

Next morning we took a boat around Mumbo Island.  They have 8 pr. of African Fish Eagles on the island, White breasted Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, Black Kite, Sand Piper, 4 Pied Kingfishers on a branch, Water Dikkop, Grey Heron, juvenile African Fish Eagle, African Paradise Flycatcher.

Afternoon tried kayaking.  Then another boat ride around the island and for sunset.  more Pied KF’s, more African FE’s, Masked Weaver Red-winged Starling and a nice sunset.  Dinner of mashed potatoes, carrots, salad, herbed chicken, and homemade rolls and fruit, and joining us were geckos.

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