Sightings, showdowns and safaris at Mvuu – lots to see this winter

Lions back on the radar in Liwonde: This month, we enjoyed the very first sightings of the lions that were recently reintroduced to Liwonde National Park. Having observed lion spoor near the Nangondo River for quite some time, Mvuu guides carefully studied the tracks and managed to spot a lion near the Chinguni Hill, just a short distance away from the lion boma. A few days later, lions Sapitwa and Chimwala were spotted lying side by side in a tranquil, shady spot at the old Skimmers’ Bank. The lion brothers remained there for most of the day, allowing for guests to observe them on several game drives. We spotted them again on a night game drive a few days ago, lying side by side in a clearing.

Ample elephant and sable sightings: Due to the dry winter conditions, scattered herds of elephants and antelopes have regrouped and are moving together in bigger herds, in search of water and grazing land. As a result, guests on boat safaris have been able to enjoy regular sightings of large herds of elephant swimming, playing and drinking by the river. We’ve also seen lots of herds of sable, in large herds with their new born calves along the Masanje Road.

A rare showdown by the Shire: On a recent boat safari we saw a rare showdown of an African fish eagle attacking an open-billed stork in mid-air, causing it to drop down into the water below. The eagle then swooped down, fished the injured stork out of the water and began feeding on it. Following the incident, the guides explained to the guests that in addition to fish, African fish eagles are also known to feed on carrion and other species of birds.

Scavenger alert: During a recent night drive, four spotted hyenas were seen feeding on a young male kudu carcass near the sewage area at Mvuu Camp and Lodge. The next morning, on a game drive, we saw a kettle of white-backed vultures, along with a few lappet-faced vultures, African fish eagles and a bateleur, scavenging on the remains of the same carcass left behind by the cackle of hyenas.

Liwonde’s flowers: Vibrant, brightly coloured impala lilies (also known as sabi stars) can be seen blooming across Liwonde and adding a little colour to the park’s dry landscapes. Set against the contrast of dry woodlands and floodplains, these flowers are a sight worth stopping for during a game drive or nature walk across the park.

Fantastic birding: A recent birding safari in Liwonde National Park yielded fantastic sightings of an endless array of birds, allowing a group of birders visiting Mvuu to tick off 87 species from their checklists. Among the species ticked off were: green malkoha, palm-nut vulture, crowned eagle, Livingstone’ flycatcher, racket-tailed roller, western-banded snake eagle and pink-backed pelican. The birders also had the luck of seeing an extremely rare white-headed vulture north of the Ntangai River. We’ve also seen large numbers of pink-backed pelicans by the waterholes within the sanctuary.

Rare black rhino sighting: A highlight of the month, we were able to spot a black rhino out on a game drive during the day. This is an extremely rare sighting and after crossing the road, the rhino quickly hurried off into the nearby thickets.

About Central African Wilderness Safaris:

Central African Wilderness Safaris (CAWS) offers the finest quality safari experience in Malawi that enable travellers to enjoy the ultimate holiday getaway in the warm heart of Africa. CAWS offers both up-market tailor-made luxury safaris as well as more affordable budget safari options. The company is dedicated to offering personalized and authentic travel experiences that have a minimal impact on the planet and a lasting impact on people.

Photo Credits: Chris Bunch, Sam Sankhani & Stefan Schmid

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