Our First Self-safari Expedition

One of the great things about Blantyre is that it’s centrally located.  You can get to the lake in two hours, Zomba in 45 minutes, Mulanje mountain in an hour, and there are about three national parks within an hour’s drive.  Saturday, a group of us decided to venture down to Nyala, a very small park, but one of the only places in Malawi you can see giraffes.  We loaded up in two vehicles: a Toyota land cruiser nicknamed The Beast, and a minivan, or people carrier, named Daisy. 

Shire River in the Distance

It only took an hour or so to get there, traveling along a winding road down a huge embankment that took us from the Shire highlands to the lowlands.  We crossed the Shire and were in sugar cane country. 

We started by having a huge picnic lunch.  Everyone brought different dishes to share and we were stuffed by the end.  The monkeys were gathered behind the picnic hut, hoping for any leftovers we might leave them. 

The Beast

A minivan, the perfect safari vehicle.

The Beast was made for this kind of adventure.  Our friends had placed a large piece of wood over the luggage rack so we could ride on top, giving us a better vantage for animal viewing.  We had a good team: Sam was a considerate driver, warning us to limbo beneath low-hanging limbs, and Rick has a sixth sense about where the animals are hanging out.

The boy’s car, Daisy, handled the roads well and with her two sun roofs, they were able to get good views.

Talk about a good perch.

Dodging Branches

We had an amazing afternoon – we saw monkeys, giraffes, zebra (including a baby!) impala, nyala, sables, kudu, and wildebeest.  Sandy swears up and down that the Daisy crew say a black cobra – but there is no photo evidence and we’re not sure if there are cobras in Malawi.  But still, they swear they saw it and feel sorry for us for having not seen it…


The baby could barely stand up.

A herd of Wildebeest

There were beautiful views on the drive home as the sun was setting and thunderstorms were moving in.  It was one of those perfect days that made us really happy to live in this amazing place!


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6 responses to “Our First Self-safari Expedition

  1. Ginny

    Wow, awesome pictures! I’m actually glad you didn’t see the cobra – I would have freaked out!

  2. Ginger

    So beautiful! 14 weeks and counting!

  3. Susie

    Perhaps a sideline is developing: Designing new vehicles for safari? LOVE the board across the luggage rack on the Beast.

  4. barb

    Sorry to tell you but from what you have been sending it looks like EVERYDAY is a day that makes you glad you are there…….your group of friends is amazing and glad you have them to share these wonderful excursions with. Our life really tames compared to yours – a zoo outside every window with no fences…….

  5. 2frugalfoodies

    wow – awesome pics. i stole some of them for my background and work…hope that’s cool with y’all! I love you!! and kate – get ready for Meatless May….

  6. Sharife

    Kate, I don’t think you are truly describing how amazing Daisy was. I am sure that the next installment from your weekend up at the Lake truly captures her majesty and versatility!

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