A Land Safari in Liwonde National Park with Zeb the Duck

Yesterday we arrived at Liwonde National Park and enjoyed a boat safari on the Shire River.   This morning we get in a safari vehicle and begin looking for more animals.

Our safari vehicle in Liwonde National Park

Our safari vehicle in Liwonde National Park

Soon we see impalas.

Impalas. So graceful

Impalas. So graceful

Impalas are similar to the antelope we see in the western United States.   They are so delicate and graceful.   Several monkeys are seen in the trees and running through the forest.

Monkey

Monkey

The warthogs are so much fun to watch.

Warthog

Warthog

They are always scratching the ground, searching for food.   When they run, they make us laugh, or at least smile.   I, Zeb the Duck, am on this safari, but the ride is fairly rough, so I stay in my travel bag most of the time.   But, here I am now.

I, Zeb the Duck, am on this safari also

I, Zeb the Duck, am on this safari also

This sausage trees has these long, hanging pods that are very hard and look like sausages.

Sausage tree

Sausage tree

Many creatures live in Liwonde National Park.   These ants are very large and very busy.

Busy ants

Busy ants

Here are more nests of the weaver birds.

Nests of Weaver Birds

Nests of Weaver Birds

We saw some similar weaver bird nests on our first outing in Lilongwe, Malawi.   The hippos spend much of the day in the Shire River.

Hippos are always watching

Hippos are always watching

They are such large animals, but in the water you notice the large eyes watching.   Remember this is a premier bird watching destination.   Over 400 species have been seen in this park.   I love the white birds sitting in the tree.

White birds

White birds

Perhaps not rare birds, but a great scene with the white birds, green tree and beautiful blue sky.   There are elephants near the river this morning.

Elephants by Shire River

Elephants by Shire River

Again, large animals that are so comfortable here.   I, Zeb the Duck, like the elephants.   This bird has a beautiful blue tummy.

Pretty bird

Pretty bird

Of course, as a duck, I like birds.   It is time to head back across the Shire River to meet our driver, guides and chef.

Time to cross the Shire River and leave the part

Time to cross the Shire River and leave the part

I like this bridge.

Nice bridge

Nice bridge

We will cross the bridge and leave Liwonde National Park, but we will have another adventure soon.

Boat Safari at Malawi’s Liwonde National Park with Zeb the Duck

Wow!   I am going to camp at Mvuu Wilderness Camp in Liwonde National Park.

Liwonde National Park in Malawi

We drive to the Shire River and wait for a boat to take us across the river to the lodge and camping area.   We see these hippos on the edge of the river.

Hippos on the bank of the Shire River

Hippos on the bank of the Shire River

Here comes our boat.

Elephant in the Shire River

Elephant in the Shire River

It is passing an elephant in the river!  This is fantastic.   Today will the first safari for this Colorado Traveling Duck.  Mom and two of the humans have been on safaris before, but I am so excited for my first time seeing the animals in the wild.

Shire River from lodge

Shire River from lodge

After getting settled in, we will go on a boat safari.

On the boat for river safari

On the boat for river safari

We are on the Shire River, looking at a resort.

Lodge from river

Lodge from river

Isn’t this monkey wonderful?

Cute monkey

Cute monkey

We passed several crocodiles, but check out the teeth on this one.

Big teeth. And many of them.

Big teeth.  And many of them.

Several waterbuck are along the river; I like mom and child here.

Waterbuck with young

Waterbuck with young

There are so many hippos here.

Hippos with birds

Hippos with birds

They are really big!   The hippos seem to prefer the water.   I think these three, watching, must like us.

Hippos are watching us

Hippos are watching us

I like the warthogs.   They have long shaggy hair on their neck and upper back.

Warthog

Warthog

Our Bradt guidebook for Malawi, says Liwonde is one of the top sites for bird watching in Malawi.   The book also says there are about 2,000 hippos along the river and several crocodiles.   Some of the crocodiles are “terrifyingly large.”   I believe the book.   This bird has a beautiful bright blue head.

Beautiful blue head

Beautiful blue head

Here is a tree full of Malawian birds.

So many birds

So many birds

Another great bird.

Regal bird

Regal bird

There are so many, but I can’t post all the photos.   The sun is getting lower and I like the way the sun’s rays come through the clouds.

Rays of sun through clouds

Rays of sun through clouds

As the sun sets, we return to the lodge and our tents for the evening.

Sun setting over the Shire River in Malawi

Sun setting over the Shire River in Malawi

I know I am going to love safaris.   Tomorrow we will drive in a safari vehicle to look for more animals.   This is a great African day.

Camping on Malawi’s Zomba Plateau with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, and the humans spent the night in a tent on the Zomba Plateau.   According to Bradt’s Malawi guidebook, the plateau is an isolated syenite protrusion that extends over 130 square kilometers and reaches an altitude of 2,087 meters.   That is about 6,500 feet above sea level.   This is where I slept.

Our tent

Our tent

This tent held 2 human ladies and one duck.    This is more of our campground.

Nice campgrounds

Nice campgrounds

Much of the Zomba Plateau is protected in Malawi’s oldest forest reserve which supports significant patches of indigenous riverine and montane forest, as well as areas of tangled scrub and Brachystegia woodland.   Shortly after arriving at our campgrounds, we took a hike.

Let's go for a hike

Going for a hike

I really liked the thick vegetation near this stream.

By the river

By the river

We hike past a stand with many wood carvings.   Look at these huge carvings.

Love the masks

Love the masks

This store has a big variety of items.

Some of everything here

Some of everything here

This stand belongs to our hiking guide.   I love these tables and the wooden cars behind the tables.

Great tables and cars

Great tables and cars.   Great elephant.

Our guide tells us about the carvings, but there is no hard sell tactics.   We like our guide.   These trees are a little different than we usually see, and the sky is so blue and bright today.

Beautiful blue sky

Beautiful blue sky

Remember that the Zomba Plateau is almost 6,500 feet or 2,987 meters above sea level, so we had many great views from the top.

View from the top

View from the top

This dam was completed in 1999 forming this pretty reservoir.

Dam and reservoir

Dam and reservoir

The waterfall was a short distance from the main path, but it is beautiful and looks so clear and clean.

Pretty waterfall

Pretty waterfall

Remember that we are in the tropics, between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, but it got cold at night.   Our guides built a fire.   We all took our chairs and ate a delicious dinner sitting around the fire.   We could even see our breath.   In the morning, after breakfast and a little time for wandering around the area, we headed down the road, back to Zomba.

Heading down toward town

Heading down toward town

We liked the Zomba Plateau.   It was so pretty, but a little colder at night than I expected.   I think you will like what we see next time, so don’t miss our next post.

Zeb the Duck is Heading to the Zomba Plateau in Malawi

This morning as we prepare to leave Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, our group of six women is forever split.   Two women will climb Mount Mulanje in southern Malawi.   Mom and I, Zeb the Duck, and 3 other women begin a trip with Kiboko Safari Company.

Preparing to leave Lilongwe

Preparing to leave Lilongwe

Today we will ride to the Zomba Plateau.   Tomorrow we will hike and camp here.   Then we will visit Liwonde National Park for a safari.   We will also spend a day and night camping at Cape Maclear.   After a visit at Chongoni Rock Art, we will return to Lilongwe and this group of women will all leave Malawi to resume separate lives.   Today I want you to see every day scenes of Malawi, from our vehicle.   Fire wood provides heat and fire to cook and heat water.   This is one way wood is moved across Malawi.

Really big load of firewood.

Really big load of firewood.

These bikers carry so much wood.   That requires much work, balance and talent.   We are riding toward some of Malawi’s mountains.

Toward the mountains

Toward the mountains

If people are able to acquire a bike, they can travel faster and further than those that only walk. I really like this tall mountain.

Tall mountain peak

Tall mountain peak

Of course, living in Colorado, I always appreciate mountain scenery.   We saw several carts like this one.

Cart

Cart

Many people use transportation that is not powered by machinery.   Looking through the window, we were captivated by the markets and all the activity on both side of the road.

Road between Malawi and Mozambique

Road between Malawi and Mozambique

This road is on the border of Malawi and Mozambique.  The right side is Mozambique and the left side is Malawi.   Mozambique borders Malawi on much of the east, all of the south and some of the west.   This truck, like most motorized vehicles, carries much cargo and many people.

Vehicles are loaded

Vehicles are loaded

Along the side of the road, we often saw these white bags.

Bags of charcoal

Bags of charcoal

This is charcoal.  Most charcoal is produced illegally in Malawi.   The production of charcoal leads to more deforestation.   Many people understand the problem, but still keep some charcoal to burn during power outages.   We stopped in the town of Zomba.   Zomba was founded in 1891 as the capital of the British Central African Protectorate.   Zomba remained the capital until 1975, about 10 years after independence.   In 1975 Lilongwe became the capital of Malawi, but Zomba is still very important.   This girl demonstrates that the females learn to balance and carry heavy loads on their heads at a very young age.

Young girl carrying heavy load of wood in Zomba

Young girl carrying heavy load of wood in Zomba

This is a big load of firewood.   We walked through the market and I posed for this photo with some distant Malawian relatives.

Some of my distant relatives in Zomba

Some of my distant relatives in Zomba

Even though I am not in many of these photos today, I, Zeb the Duck, was there looking out the window with the humans.   We passed some markets along the road.

Items made of straw

Items made of straw

There is a lot of straw products in this part of Malawi.   We saw many houses of this style.

House in Malawi

House in Malawi

Some houses, like this one, had goats.

House with nearby goats

House with nearby goats

Remember the goats are important for their milk.   Milk is consumed by humans and sometimes made into goat cheese.   Excess milk and cheese can be sold, also.   The goat is eaten when it no longer produces baby goats and no longer gives much milk.   Previously I showed you scenes from near Lake Malawi.   Today we are viewing a mountainous area of Malawi.   We love the many geographic regions of Malawi and hope you do, also.

 

From Ripple Africa to Mua Mission, Malawi with Zeb the Duck

Today we are leaving our two week home with Ripple Africa, but we are not leaving Malawi.   I, Zeb the Duck, and the humans enjoyed our time on the shore of Lake Malawi with Ripple Africa.   We all learned so much and met such warm, friendly people.    I said goodbye to my friend, Dan.

Dan from Ripple Africa

Dan from Ripple Africa

Dan is the Volunteer Projects Manager.   As we leave, the children follow our vehicles, waving and smiling.

Children from Ripple Africa

Children from Ripple Africa

We will be back in the capital, Lilongwe, tonight, but we will visit Mua Mission on the way.   Sights along the road include this truck driving in front of us and a biker also on the road.

Riding through Malawi

Riding through Malawi

The passengers seem happy and friendly.   It is July, the winter in Malawi, so it is not too hot for gardens.   We see produce stands like this one, with such beautiful tomatoes.

Fresh tomatoes available today

Fresh tomatoes available today

Mua Mission is one of the oldest Catholic outposts in Malawi.  The Mission was established by the “White Fathers” at the base of the Rift Valley Escarpment in 1902.   Our first stop is the Chamare Museum which opened in 1999.   This museum is said to be the finest ethnographic museum in Malawi.   Let’s go through the gate and visit the museum.

Let's go through this pretty gate

Let’s go through this pretty gate

Isn’t this a great mask outside?

Mask at museum entrance

Mask at museum entrance

I, Zeb the Duck, love it.   We will pay our entrance fee and meet our guide.

Chamare Museum

Chamare Museum

The first room has an overview of Malawi history and we are allowed to take photographs.    Photographs are not allowed in the other rooms of the museum.   I examined these items and wandered around the room as the guide explained what we were seeing.

Artifacts inside museum

Artifacts inside museum

You really would enjoy visiting the Chamare Museum.   Remember that this is a Catholic Mission, so this panel with the Resurrection is very important.

The Resurrection

The Resurrection

The other rooms contained items and information about the three major cultural groups of the region, Chewa, Ngoni and Yao.   The last room was perhaps the most impressive.   It contains the world’s largest collection of Gule Wamkulu masks, around 400 total masks.   Photos are prohibited to preserve the masks and other items, but it is sad that I could not share some of these with you.   When you are in Malawi, this museum in Mua Mission, is worth a visit.   The outside of the museum is decorated with several colorful murals, such as this one.

Colorfull murals on outside of Chamare Museum

Colorfull murals on outside of Chamare Museum

The Art Gallery is near the museum.

Art Gallery

Art Gallery

We visited the show room, and made several purchases.   I loved the wood carvings.    I also like the fresh look of the church.

Church

Church

Choir practice was being held outdoors.

outdoor choir practice

outdoor choir practice

The mild weather is wonderful for outdoor activities.   We walked behind the museum to see this amphitheater.

Amphitheater

Amphitheater

This would be a wonderful place to enjoy a performance.   Our short visit to Mua Mission was pleasant.   If you have more time, you could spend a couple days here, enjoying the mission and the surrounding area.   Next time we will show you more of Malawi.

Chapel on a Rock and Rocky Mountain National Park with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Today I, Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck, are going with our moms toward Estes Park.   We all love Estes Park.   It is a great mountain resort town near Rocky Mountain National Park, about 90 minutes from home.   Chapel on a Rock, or Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel is our first stop.

Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel

Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel

In 1916 Monsignor Joseph Bosetti was on a quest to find the impact site of a falling star when he found this rock formation.   Remembering the Bible verse Matthew 16:18, upon this rock I will build my church, the Monsignor wanted to build a church here.   But he had no funds.   For 20 years he prayed and struggled with the Colorado Highway Department to keep his Rock intact.   The land was purchased and then donated by Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Malo.  In 1936, twenty years after first seeing the rock, the chapel was completed.   The statue is very prominent, also.

Statue near chapel

Statue near chapel

This chapel is beautiful with Mount Meeker as a backdrop.   The sanctuary is very nice.

Sanctuary

Sanctuary

Here are some stairs.

Let's go up the stairs

Let’s go up the stairs

The stairs lead to the loft.   This view is also nice.

View from loft

View from loft

The official name of this chapel is Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel.   This Franz Mayer stained glass window, depicts  Saint Catherine holding the body of Christ on the cross.

View of loft and window

View of loft and window

The statue of soft wood was made in Giacomo Mussner Studios in Bolzano, Italy.

Statue from Bolzano, Italy

Statue from Bolzano, Italy

The chapel was part of the Camp Saint Malo Catholic Retreat, Conference and Spiritual Center. The main building burned in 2011, but the chapel was not damaged.   In 2013 during the floods, debris from a mountain slide destroyed much of the trails and other buildings, but again, the chapel was not damaged.   The chapel is open to the public and available for weddings and other occasions.  In 1993 Pope John Paul II visited this chapel and hiked some of the mountain trails.    Next we visited Rocky Mountain National Park.

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

This is a favorite place for us.   Today we drove to Bear Lake.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

There is a half mile trail around the lake.

Hiking trail

Hiking trail

This is our favorite short hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

Soon it started to rain, so we went into Estes Park and had lunch at the Stanley Hotel.

The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel

Our moms said we could come back here soon and spend the night at the famous Stanley Hotel.   When we do, we will tell you about this hotel and if we see any ghosts.

Music and Dancing on the Beach in Malawi with Zeb

It feels like a party on the beach on Lake Malawi.   I think we are ready for a party.

Our beach. Ready for a party.

Our beach.  Ready for a party.

Here is the drummer.

Drummer

Drummer

He is fantastic.   I, Zeb the Duck, don’t think he ever stops playing.   We love him.   People are dancing.

Let's dance

Let’s dance

The smiling children are joining the dancing.

Children dancing

Children dancing

We like many dancers.   Everybody should try dancing on the beach to the beat of the drum.

Many more dancing

Many more dancing

If not dancing, many play on the beach of Lake Malawi, in Malawi.

Many people on beach of Lake Malawi

Many people on beach of Lake Malawi

These children love to have their pictures taken, or they really like to see their pictures.

Children love the camera

Children love the camera

Someone is leading the conga line.

Join the conga line anyone?

Join the conga line anyone?

This is fun.   Of course, no party is complete without food.   Esther cooks for us, using this three burner wood burning changu changu moto.

Esther cooks on a three burner wood burning changu changu moto

Esther cooks on a three burner wood burning changu changu moto

Deborah seemed to disappear for awhile.   She was helping Esther.   That was very nice to do.   It is getting dark now; the drummer is stopping and the dancers are stopping.   All the Ripple Africa volunteers, some of our Malawi friends and Ripple Africa employees gather for dinner.   For dessert, a chocolate birthday cake is presented to Linda.

Birthday cake for Linda

Birthday cake for Linda

This cake was baked on a changu changu moto wood burning stove.   And the cake is delicious.   We are all happy that Linda has a birthday while in Malawi, and that she shared her cake.    The humans and Zeb, the Colorado Traveling Duck, will always smile when remembering our farewell party.   We will miss all our new friends at Ripple Africa.   Once again, the people have shown us why Malawi is called the Warm Heart of Africa.