Camp Managers, Licia and Marius, are astounded at the green season transformation of Liwonde National Park, which has turned it into an emerald wonderland from the brown landscape of the dry season that has just passed southern Malawi.
The dry season in Liwonde National Park
Southern Africa experiences very dry winters and the bush almost loses all its vegetation with only a few species still flourishing during this time. The waterholes are also normally dried up, becoming mainly cracked clay soil with footsteps imprinted by the creatures that have come down in search of water. A dust cloud swirls behind the game vehicles as they navigate the dirt tracks and walking over desert-like landscapes has you wondering how anything can grow in such an unforgiving environment.
But that changes as soon as the first lightning strikes, followed by the booming sound of thunder and the glorious downpour of rain.
The green season in Liwonde National Park
All the seemingly dead vegetation thirstily sucks in its full of water, regaining its colour and blanketing the dried soil with an assortment of indigenous flowers and other plants. The now brimming waterholes become a lush playground for buffalo, elephant and all manner of wildlife that come for a thirst-quenching drink and to have some fun. The dusty road turns into a muddy mess, which at first makes for a thrilling drive but can quickly come to an end when the vehicle gets stuck in the mud and a rather humiliating call for help has to be made.
Due to the sudden rise of the Shire River, the floodplains in the park have turned into marsh lands and hippos have happily taken up residence here. Kuthengo Camp has had several visits by elephants over the past few weeks and now that the foliage is so dense, the maintenance crew and staff have had some surprises when they have had an unexpected encounter with these tusked giants round a thick bush.
Not only does the wet season bring the vegetation to life, it also brings with it unusual water critters and many bird species that are normally absent during the drier months. Each new day begins with a melodious greeting by the calls of various birds. What a lovely sound to wake up to!
In March, Robin Pope Safaris’ special seven-day Focus on Conservation Safari kicks off at Mkulumadzi Lodge and ends at Kuthengo Camp. It is a unique opportunity to learn and explore the amazing wildlife conservation work of African Parks in Malawi, particularly in Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park.
Make sure you contact Robin Pope Safaris soon if you would like to join this year’s Focus on Conservation Safari as spaces are limited.