by Cerue Richards
July 05, 2016
by Cerue Richards
by Cerue Richards
July 05, 2016
by Shane Regan
After a 3 hour drive from Blantyre, we arrived in Mulanje, at the base of an enormous mountain. Looking out of the car window as we approached we could see how the massive rock formation filled the sky. Upon arriving at a restaurant up the mountain a ways, the rest of the youth and I took a short 1 hour hike to the first viewpoint of the mountain trail. Immediately after starting on the trail we found ourselves at a crooked bridge, half of which had no guard rail because it had broken off. The bridge, although broken was sturdy, and held us as we walked over a river pouring down a small waterfall. Just after the bridge was an expansive view of Mulanje, along with bushes of tea stretching down the side of the mountain. The trail from there on was very overgrown, for about a mile after (with a clearing in the middle displaying a second beautiful river crossing) we were constantly needing to push away the branches of bushes that were taller than us. Finally we came to a large Boulder that the trail split off towards upon climbing it we were given a stunning view which included a gorgeous waterfall trailing down from the steep mountain above. We sat on the boulder soaking in the scenery for a good 10-20 minutes. Watching the waterfall, admiring the view of Mulanje, spotting the monkeys jumping in the trees we had just walked out of, and trying to find the mountain’s peak hidden in the clouds before we started back down the trail to the restaurant and our highly anticipated lunch.
by Elise Quick
At the Mulanje mountain we went on a hike. We had to cross a bridge and rocks in a waterfall to get to the first look out point, we only went to the first one because it would have taken too long to go to all 5 look out points and to the top. Once we got to the lookout point there was a huge boulder we all climbed on top of and sat and looked at the view. We could see monkeys in the trees and a amazing waterfall. It was a beautiful and everyone had a lot of fun.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
By: Steve Okonek
Destination today is Majete National Wildlife Reserve, about a two hour drive from Blantyre, virtually all of it downhill through the Malawi section of the Great Rift Valley of Africa.
We stopped at a vista to look at the final descent segment through lush hills. The last downward push for the van takes us to a bridge crossing the Shire River, a substantial, wide waterway that ultimately flows into the Zambezi. Hydro-electric power is the backbone of Malawian energy supply, and ESCOM has a plant nearby. It is 17 km from the bridge to Majete, the first straight road all day. We accelerate considerably to make our 9:00 a.m. slot. Obvious at the gate is a tall electrified fence to keep the 700 km sq area enclosed. The reserve, founded in 1955, faced immense poaching in the late 1990’s, and nearly closed. A mass translocation of wildlife began in 2003, and the Big Five are now all back.
We divide and climb into two Jeeps riding high with ample space. Directions include keeping all limbs inside, no cell phones, and not shouting. A roller coaster ride ensues with humongous pothole produced bumps and brushes with branches. Indiana Jones country! Chris’ glasses fall off and we circle back to retrieve them-lenses survived-frames did not.
First sightings in the brush: kudu, grysbok, and impala. Heading toward the Shire, we encounter our first elephant herd intently returning from the water. We pass numerous signs identifying creeks, but dry creek beds are all we see. Flash floods must occur during rainy season (November through February).
Jimmy, our guide, is comfortable with English, and a fount of all sorts of minutiae. Is that warthog a male or female? What kind of crocodile is basking on the sand? Is the elephant left or right tusk dominant-like us being left or right handed.
We watch an adolescent elephant efficiently tear apart a massive tree limb, making loud cracks with each break. Three groups of hippos crowd together and occupy large stone blocks near the shoreline. I bet these are submerged in rainy times. Further down stream suns the largest, most lethargic hippo I’ve ever seen and Jimmy suggests she is
pregnant and way overdue. The coup de grace is another larger herd of elephants meandering closer to us, especially the moms with the tiny but energetic babies.
We dine at the park’s Mwembezi Restaurant, and spy a few monkeys down at a waterhole. Our uphill return coincides with a period of showers and many semi trucks take on the hills toward Blantyre as well. Sometimes people ride atop the trailer.
This morning we attended church, but with a twist! We decided to go to a Pentecostal church about a 10 minute drive from the Skinny Hippos Lodge where we are staying.
Bayana got up early and scouted out several churches for us: Presbyterian, Catholic, Anglican & Pentecostal. We chose Pentecostal for a few reasons: it was different, there would be contemporary music, and they had an English/Chichewa translation so we would have some idea of what was being said.
The service began at 10:00 a.m. We were introduced to the congregation; people were especially impressed when Bayana was introduced. The music was loud and contemporary with a lot of “Hallelujahs and Amens” shouted out. We even sang a Beyonce song!
People around the village must have heard that an unusual group was visiting the church as more and more people arrived during the service. Once Lisa completed her sermon, Bayana got up and preached in English with a church member translating into Chichewa. He expounded on Lisa’s sermon and told how he met Sharron at a wedding in the U.S. In 2005. He also received many “Amens.”
After the service was over we mingled and shook hands with each other. The bishop thanked us for our unexpected visit. We returned to The Skinny Hippos Lodge for lunch after an exciting and adventurous morning.