Epic Air Safari: Mana Pools to Liwonde
We have 466 miles to fly today from Zimbabwe to Malawi. We have flown 4,693 miles so far, with 2,157 miles remaining....
We leave Mana Pools with sadness. This has been the highlight of our safari so far. The best safari experience we've had and, for me, one of the best ever. But we have to move on.... A beautiful scenic flight takes us to Charles Prince, a small airport near Harare. We fly over magnificent ancient boulders. When we land at Charles Prince, we meet with Lisa, who is joining us for this last part of the air safari. Everyone at the airport is super welcoming, friendly, and helpful. We did not expect such brilliant service and hospitality here, and we are sad to leave Zimbabwe.
Next we fly to Chileka in south Malawi. The sadness is soon left behind as the flight to Liwonde National Park is simply stunning. We fly over the Shire River, seeing literally hundreds of hippos and an endless number of waterbucks. One elephant is taking a swim. We then fly over two whole herds of elephants before landing.
Mvuu Lodge is just a ten-minute drive away. We are welcomed by the warm hospitality of the Malawi people. We've had a long morning, and we enjoy our lunch on a platform over the river. Hippos and bushpigs are uninvited but super welcome!
In the afternoon, we enjoy a soothing boat ride over the calm waters of the Shire River. Not sure what is going on with the elephants here, but another Jumbo is taking a swim at sunset. Flocks of white-breasted cormorants, whistling ducks, and wooly-necked storks and many kingfishers and bee-eaters make this boat ride unforgettable.
We try our luck with the rhinos on an early morning game drive. We enter a lovely forest of mopani and see a nice kudu and two beautiful, vocal gray-headed parrots, but no rhinos. We'll have to save that for next time....
The boat ride was so special yesterday that we go for another in the afternoon. It is the right call: we see many crocs, but the highlight is an enormous male kudu with the biggest horns I have ever seen. He walks out of the bushes, comes to the river bank, and looks straight at us majestically. I will never forget that sight, nor the colorful sunset with flocks of birds flying into the dusky sky.