Monday, November 10, 2014

Finally Doing African Things

We recently took a vacation to Kuti Community Wildlife Park in Salima, Malawi.  Instead of being a government owned national park or game reserve, Kuti is a nonprofit trust that is working with the surrounding communities to protect the reserve.  The reserve also hosts a Peace Corps Volunteer who is assisting with outreach and education for the communities.  The park is focusing on deforestation since Malawi has the world's 5th highest deforestation rate.  In addition to planting trees, the park is teaching the community how to make fuel briquettes out of waste materials and how to make mbaulas (clay stoves) that require less fuel than an open fire.  These projects help the communities use less firewood and also provide them with some income.  For more information about Kuti go to

Nothing is more adorable than a father and son outing.
Kuti differs from the National Parks and Game Reserves in the lack of large dangerous mammals.  There are no Lion, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, or Elephant.  This is actually a huge benefit.  We were free to hike around the park on our own without a guide or guard, getting as close to the animals as they would allow us.  We were able to see, but not get photographs of all, Giraffe, Zebra, Sable, Warthog, Impala, Nyala, Wildebeest, Baboon and Vervet Monkey.

This is his good side.

Along with all of these wonderful sights we spent 3 days in a beautiful cabin (equipped with hot showers!!) We started our days by waking up at 4 AM having some coffee and trying to see all the animals in the park.  Our days were then jam packed with activities such as cooking lunch and getting ready for our evening ‘safari’.   The highlights of the trip were being able to get within 10 m of the Giraffes and eating wonderful food for a few days.  

The best walks are the ones to the bar

Some extra photos can be found here:

Almost immediately after returning to our site after our vacation, we (along with 38 other volunteers) had an opportunity to assist Liwonde National Park with a Large Mammal Count.  Over the course of two days we counted hundreds of animals mostly waterbuck but we did also see warthog, elephant and wildebeest.  All PCVs split into pairs, accompanied by a pair of guards to spend one morning in a hide, and the other morning walking a transect of the park.  During our hide day, we had to move position to get out of the path of the elephants. Seeing elephants march in real life is just like this: While preforming our transect we got way to close to a group of elephants and startled a small herd of wildebeest.

We're going to need a bigger fence.
More photos here:


  1. Nice!! Glad to see you guys got a little vacation in! Awesome photos

  2. Love it! So glad you got to experience this! I wanna go! :)