28th – 30th November 2013 – Liwonde National Park, Malawi   Leave a comment

After an interval over Christmas and New Year I can return to the saga of the Malawi and Zimbabwe trip in November/December last year.

One of the highlights of the trip was time spent at Liwonde NP which lies just south of Lake Malawi. The Shire River that drains Lake Malawi flows to the Zambezi through the park. We traveled up the Shire River by boat and arrived at Mvuu camp about lunchtime. The area around the lodge was not fenced and you had to have a guard with you when you went to the chalets, especially at night as Elephants were often seen nearby. Pictures of the Liwonde chalets and of the Pel’s Fish Owl can be seen on earlier posts.

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This African Fish Eagle was seen on our boat trip up the Shire River.

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This Yellow Baboon seems to be surviving in spite of having a broken tail

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Hippos aren’t just common along the Shire River, they are abundant.

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Are we keeping you up?

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As with my trip to Uganda earlier in the year, a large flock of African Skimmers was seen along the river.

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The three species of Skimmer (one in the Americas, one in Africa and one in Asia) have a unique bill shape. The lower mandible is much longer than the upper and when feeding in flight, is dragged through the surface of the water (described as unzipping the pond), if it makes contact with a fish the  upper mandible snaps shut.

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The view from the dining area. The grassy lawns on the banks of the river were favoured by Hippos in the early morning and Elephants and Waterbuck could also be seen whilst eating lunch.

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Also visible from the dining area was a pair of Saddle-billed Storks. This bird can be sexed as a female on the account of its yellow eye.

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After an early morning game drive we were astounded to find the lodge staff had prepared an alfresco breakfast for us out in the bush.

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The surrounding mopane woodland was studded with giant Baobab trees, but many of their trunks had suffered from extensive elephant damage as the leviathans know that below the bark there is a supply of water.

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There have been a lot of taxonomic changes among the antelope, for example there are now six species of Kudu., rather than two. This is a male Zambezi Kudu.

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We only saw a single Sable Antelope, this magnificent male was in the mopane woodland.

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Do Warthogs get sore wrists? I strikes me that having to shuffle along like this to feed is a bit of a design fault.

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Eastern Bearded Scrub-robin

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No wonder the Bohm’s Bee-eater on the left is looking away.

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At the end of an afternoon’s birding we stopped by the river for a sundowner but we arrived a bit on the late side, so it was more of a ‘sungoner’

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On the second day we took a boat upstream to try and find Rufous-bellied Heron but the river levels were too high and  they appeared to have moved on. These young male Elephants were having a scrap in the river ……

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…. as our boat approached they took their flight onshore ……..

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….. but they upset the Hippos in the process !

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From the boat we were able to time our sundowner to perfection.

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Ewan and I saw the rare Mellor’s Mongoose feeding in the creek at the back of our chalet. Also in the photo is a young Black-crowned Night Heron


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