Impalas, Elephants, Hippos, Oh My!

Impalas, Elephants, Hippos, Oh My!

With our project in Chilimani proceeding ahead of schedule, the team felt comfortable taking a day to experience the natural environment of Malawi. Soon after dawn we rolled out of bed, hastily grabbed some bread and tea for breakfast, and rolled out of the farm at around 6 am. Our destination was Liwonde National Park, a protected area where Malawi’s native wildlife is carefully maintained and available for all to see (if they can afford the entrance fee). Following tradition, we stopped along the way to pick up fried dough and samosas; after this errand, we drove straight until we reached the entrance to the park.

Upon entering, the world around us instantly changed – trees and grass surrounded us on all sides, more than we had seen anywhere else in Malawi. It did seem a little quiet – after some monkeys surrounding the entrance gate, we didn’t see a single animal as we drove up the road. After a few minutes of tentatively peering out of our vehicles, our heads were turned by a soft cry of “elephants!” and we saw three of the huge, majestic creatures moving towards our vehicles from behind. We could see more ahead of us, moving across the road. We turned off our cars and waited for them to cross, marveling at the sheer size of them and at the beauty of the creatures. After a few minutes of silence, we started up again and continued on to see a series of fascinating creatures – guinea fowl, gazelles, warthogs, impalas, and more.20180817_113704[1]

After more than an hour of travel into the heart of the park, we arrived at our final destination, camp Mvuu. There, we boarded a small, wobbly boat with our Malawian guide, J. B. He took us down the river that crosses through the park and showed us even more wonders – herds of hippos half submerged at the banks, crocodiles over two meters long, and an entire plain full of dozens of species, all coexisting peacefully as they grazed at the riverbank. Many of us were so relaxed by the time we returned to shore that we were ready for a nap! The rest of the day didn’t help – we spent the next few hours lounging at the camp, eating samosas and playing games. Eventually we headed back the way we came. We all felt tired from the long day, but the change of scenery invigorated everyone. It was a fantastic way to bring our trip closer to its conclusion.

-Alec Agee

Malawi Project
Malawi Project
The Malawi Project Team is currently partnered with the community of Mphero in Malawi, and is investigating how The Engineers Without Borders, University of Delaware Chapter, can best aid the community.
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