Thursday, June 30:
Today was another amazing day at Camp Mvuu, although I don’t think anything could compare to our arrival and stay yesterday. We woke up this morning at 5:15 am, which would have been hard even if I had gotten more than 5 hours of actual sleep! As we headed to our morning safari walk, we were stunned at the amount of, and proximity to our hut, elephant and hippo poop. There was literally pounds of it right outside of our front door! We all wished we had been awake to see them, although I probably would have freaked out that if they saw me they would charge our chalet! It was actually kind of humorous because one of the workers jobs is to go around in the morning and scoop up all of the dung droppings from the night before. Craziness.
As all of us tired, groggy, freezing teenagers headed towards the entrance, we couldn’t help but smile at the gorgeous sunrise. The only sunset I have ever been up to experience was at beach week 4 years ago, and God knows an African sunrise blows a North Carolina sunrise out of the water. Our group met with our guide and headed into the bush for our nature walk. We saw lots of warthogs, baboons (my favorite!) and impalas (typical), but the beauty of the sahara in itself made waking up at 5:15 am completely worthwhile. We got the history of all the trees, and I actually learned a lot about birds (who would have thought that they’re actually smart animals?). One of my favorite things that we saw was the “Butterfly Tree”. It’s leaves all looked exactly like butterflies, so we all picked our favorite one to take home. It’s bark is also the strongest bark of any tree in Africa, but it was such a petite tree that I was definitely surprised to hear that. At 7:30 am we finally headed back to Mvuu for breakfast, which obviously we had all been counting down for. I got a bowl of Rice Krispie’s with goat milk (I think?) which was perfect because I’ve been craving cereal. I also got a bowl of fruit and the most delicious banana raisin muffin I have ever had (not exaggerating). After stuffing our faces, we realized that that was just the appetizer breakfast and that they were going to take our order for the real breakfast. I don’t know how we did it, but we were all so excited for a real breakfast that we ignored the fact we weren’t even hungry. I got a great ham, cheese and tomato omelet with REAL ketchup!, and a piece of toast with their home-made apricot jelly. Talk about a feast, but I am definitely not complaining. After being pleasantly full (it was the first time we have actually felt full while being here), we headed towards the water at about 8:30 am for our morning water safari. I know, I know, you didn’t think these days could get any better did you?
Our standard group of 8 plus Dr. Kelly all loaded onto the boat and headed down the Shire River. We saw literally hundreds of hippos, who are rather ugly, but they’re cute when they’re in the water because you can only see their faces and they all sleep with their heads piled on eachother. We also saw a ton of monkeys and birds, and were so fortunate to see an elephant while we were on the boat. The elephant literally came right to our boat in the water as he was eating and drinking. It was awesome! We then headed up the stream after staying by the elephant for about 20 minutes, and we saw dozens of crocodiles. As we were approaching two of them sun-bathing, our safari driver kept driving- a little too close for comfort!- until we were literally a few feet away from them. They looked like they were dead so we thought it would be a great idea to poke them with a stick. They literally jumped towards us and kept swimming. It was great footage though even though I’m terrified of crocodiles! And, of course, right after we pissed them off, our safari driver told us that if a human was to fall in the Shire River, they would be dead in less than 3 minutes because of the amount of crocodiles. Comforting.
After another amazing hour and a half safari, we headed back to Mvuu and packed our bags. I seriously thought a few of us were going to cry, we wished we could have stayed there even just one extra night! It was such an amazing 24 hours and to anyone visiting Malawi, I recommend 100% staying at Camp Mvuu.
On the drive home, we stopped at the markets in Liwonde that Dr. Kelly has been telling us about the entire trip. I bought 3 presents for my parents and one for my grandpa that I think are all perfect! Everything I’ve bought has been for my parents but I’ve only bought 5 things here (typical, Kelsey being stingy even in Africa!). We arrived back at Annie’s at about 5:30 pm and everyone was completely exhausted. Katie and I had planned our project on Tuesday night before we left, so we just gathered all the art supplies, ate a quick dinner, and were asleep by 9:30 pm. What an amazing adventure. Peace, love, Malawi.