Generally speaking, Malawi is peaceful. However, since the election in May, there have been a number of demonstrations that are best to avoid. Unfortunately, the day we had planned to drive to Thyolo and Blantyre a demonstration was called, so we had to reschedule our plans.
We left early (5am) to get to Blantyre before the demonstrations started later in the morning, and we had hoped to get checked into our hotel. Unfortunately, the guest house refused to honor our Airbnb reservation and wanted to charge us an additional $360 to stay there. After three hours negotiating with the guest house and talking to Airbnb customer service we were able to get a refund, and we booked elsewhere. It wouldn’t be Malawi if something didn’t go awry.
At 4am the next morning we departed for the Majete Wildlife Reserve, because of the demonstrations the day before many of the gas stations were out of fuel, so we had to drive around a good half hour before we found an open and stocked station. Then, it was a two-hour drive on windy mountain roads to the park… it was at the park where we discovered that the alternator in the vehicle we hired was going bad and we couldn’t turn the car off. It’s probably better that way, the temperature was 111 degrees Fahrenheit, the air conditioner was definitely our friend.
Majete Wildlife Reserve has the most variety of animals of all the reserves in Malawi. We didn’t see any lions, giraffes, or rhinos, but we did see a wide array of animals. They included: impala, greater kudu, waterbucks, bushbucks, warthogs, crocodiles, hippos, elephants, mongoose, monkeys, baboons, monitor lizards, geckos, and a bunch of birds. We were able to see several parades of elephants, it was definitely a highlight of the trip.