Monday, December 28, 2015

Elephants and Crocodiles and Hippos OH MY!

With all the work the team has been putting in in Kumponda, we decided it was time to take some time and explore Malawi!  Daniel, our NGO, picked us up in the morning and we ventured south.  The drive was absolutely beautiful as we drove down the mountain with picture worthy landscapes everywhere!

We ended up at Majete Game Reserve where we would embark on an African Safari!  We climbed into our expedition vehicle with the coolest ranger in town, Jimmy!

Within minutes we spotted wild water bucks…

...prancing impalas...

...mischievous monkeys...

…warthogs along with their beyond adorable babies (and one random water buck)…

….then Jimmy declared he saw fresh elephant tracks and sure enough…

We saw two families of elephants crossing the road directly in front of us!  I asked Jimmy if we can jump out of the jeep to which he said, “Sure, if you want to die quickly.”  I took that as a no and kept all limbs inside the vehicle.

We drove down next to the river which soon turned into a game of “Whoever Finds A Crocodile First Wins.”  Jimmy found it first, of course.  Try to find the crocodile in the first picture before looking at the second!

Yes the crocodile is that little log-looking thing!  Did you get it right?!

Jimmy also found hippos that our eyes failed at doing at first.  Fun fact: hippos are Daniel's favorite animal...NOT!

We continued through the African jungle brushing overstretched branches, coasting along the river, diving into steep slopes, flooring it on the way back up.  We felt like we were on a roller coaster!

We stepped aside to take some group photos (photo cred goes out to Jimmy) and of course brought along our holiday spirit!  Christmas never ends, right??  The best photo will be saved and not posted yet to compete for most awkward holiday photo (that’s right Thailand team, watch out!).

The safari was so awesome and gave us a chance to explore a little bit while spending time with Daniel!  We stopped off for lunch on the way home and found MILKSHAKES!  It was tasty :)

We ended the night planning for tomorrow which is the first day of surveying community members!  So excited to see more of Kumponda as well as get a chance to talk with community members and learn more about them.

Thinking about everyone back home and hoping you all are enjoying the holidays!  We are all so grateful for the constant support (thanks Dad for all the comments on the blog posts!).  Shouts to the other teams as they continue doing wonderful things in Thailand, India, and Nicaragua!

Much love,

Cate Kraska


  1. Awesome update, Cate! I'm glad you took your guide's advice and stayed in the car. I'm also glad that you and the team enjoyed a well-deserved break.


  2. Awesome pics! Thanks for taking us on safari with the team, Cate! Love those elephants!....crocodile...hmmm...not so much :)


  3. Great stuff! Really happy you all had time to see more of the country. Looks like a wildlife region as rich and diverse as Yellowstone, albeit quite different.

    Wishing you a most successful conclusion of your onsite journey and setting the stage for follow ups for you and future team members. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  4. (From Nana Carolynne) So very proud of you all!!! You all have worked so very hard and have been so dedicated in accomplishing your project and helping your fellow brothers and sisters in Malawi. This has been such a magical journey for all of you and for all of us at home . Congratulations everyone for a job well done!!! Can't wait for you all to come home.