Published: November 19th 2007October 25th 2007
Our destination following our trek up through South Luangwa was a campsite called “Mutinondo Wilderness”. It’s an area of 10000 hectares which the owners bought from the local chief about ten years ago and have turned into an eco-friendly paradise. The area contains several enormous granite ‘whaleback’ domes rising from a sea of multi-coloured trees which cover the surrounding hills and valleys. A river runs through the middle over a series of waterfalls and natural pools providing a perfect environment for the Kingfishers and other birds which thrive there.
The wildlife is present in incredible abundance and it’s difficult to walk more than a few paces without seeing another type of animal, insect or flower. We saw countless birds whilst wandering the many trails that run through the area, visiting twitchers have apparently racked up about 400 odd, we weren't quite that enthusiastic. Uzi caught a glimpse of a Boomslang down by the river not far from the camp, a vivid green arboreal snake which is highly poisonous but shy and generally hard to spot. One evening we got our first taste of ‘Frogging’ (Sounds rather too much like ‘Dogging’ for our liking) when we clambered about on the rocks
of the river looking for the source of the racket we could hear, it's amazing how much noise such a small frog can make. One afternoon we spotted a long, brown animal which could have been an otter / fox / civet but which disappeared before we got a really good look at it, and a bit further along our walk we spooked a pair of large bats roosting in some trees along the river bank, we think a kind of fruit bat.
You can walk all day along the trails, up the whalebacks some of which apparently have 'rock art' on them (we couldn't find it), and along the river, stopping for a swim in the pools, and never see anyone. Adam had jumped into the ‘Paradise Pool’ for a bit of a swim on our second day when something that sounded quite large started crashing through the reeds close to the pool. Normally it wouldn’t really be an issue, but in Africa there are any number of things which could be picturing lunch and Adam hastily clambered out trying to look like he wasn’t really that bothered. The owners stories of a couple of lions having passed
through before not really helping the imagination. The campsite is great, a large stack of firewood is included in the cost of the camping so barbecueing (or Braii-ing as they call it here) is no problem, there’s a nearby whaleback perfect for sunrise viewing and the open air bar is one of the most spectacular we’ve been in, perfect for sundowners.
We hadn’t really planned it but the timing was perfect as it was also Adam’s birthday while we were there. We started the day by watching the sunrise over the Whalebacks, then went for a walk through the park for most of the day, finishing off with a slap up dinner cooked for us by the lodge followed by a birthday cake! Fantastic! It was really cool to chat to the owners and their friends and family who were visiting about life in Africa. Needless to say it beat the hell out of being on night shift which is where he was for his 30th.
We really couldn’t avoid staying a few extra days and it was certainly one of the unexpected highlights of the trip so far.
Here is our travel map: AdnMaz Travel Map
There are more photos below