8.21.2012

Ntchisi Forest

My adventures in Malawi began as soon as I arrived in Lilongwe. After a day of getting settled at our lodge in New Area 12 and touring a local market in Old Town, my new friend Iris and I woke up before sunrise for our journey to the Ntchisi Forest Reserve. The forest contains some of the last indigenous rainforest in Malawi and is home to a variety of beautiful plants, flowers, insects, and animals. We were eager to explore the forest on our four and a half hour hike. 
We arrived at the Ntchisi Forest Lodge a little after 8:30 am and sipped on coffee as we reviewed a map of the forest. Petal, the manager of the lodge, pointed out the major sights to see on our hike and gave us some tips for our walk (watch out for the ants!). After second cups of coffee were poured and enjoyed, we were off on our hike! 
The beginning of the hike was beautiful. After walking down a long dirt road, we entered the forest and were immediately surrounded by lush, green forest. I was in awe as we climbed higher and higher, admiring the tall trees and unique plant life. And Iris was the perfect hiking companion. She encouraged me the entire time, eased my nerves when the path got rocky, and was just as excited as I was to stop and take it all in. 
The views from the Ntchisi Forest were breathtaking. The reserve was surrounded on all sides by rolling hills and valleys that were dotted with small villages and farms. Off in the distance, Lake Malawi blended into the blue, hazy horizon. We stopped at every view point, found a comfortable rock to sit on, and admired the amazing scenery. 
As our hike continued around the reserve, we walked through patches of cedar trees, observed the landscape change from green and lush to dry and rocky, and stood inside the giant tree. 
After our hike we were tired and ready for lunch! We made reservations to eat at the lodge that afternoon. The food at the Ntchisi Forest Lodge was absolutely delicious. We dined on a perfectly prepared spinach and onion quiche, fresh tomato and avocado salad, and the most amazing freshly baked tomato and onion bread. Oh, that bread... I had read about how amazing it was in the guestbook before our hike, and couldn't wait to try it. It exceeded all of my expectations! I continued to eat pieces of it long after I was full; the bread was too good to pass up. Iris and I enjoyed a second pot of coffee out on the patio before heading back to Lilongwe. We couldn't have asked for a better excursion to start our time in Malawi!
A very special thank you to Petal at the Ntchisi Forest Lodge for making our day so wonderful. Her hospitality made our experience all the more amazing, and our meal at the lodge was the perfect way to conclude our day at the Ntchisi Forest. Also, thank you to Masa for being such an excellent and reliable driver.

4 comments :

  1. Thank you for sharing! As always, your pictures are amazing. Your hike looked incredible!

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  2. Thank YOU Daina for your beautiful photographs and writing, and wonderful companionship. I love your blog!

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  3. Wow, what a beautiful place! I'm amazed. And what a wonderful way to start your time in Africa.
    I'm so looking forward to all the other posts. And it makes me want to be there myself :)

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  4. I have to say when I think of Africa -or Malawi to be more exat, I do not think mountains & forrest. I mean call me naive LOL - but that is just beautiful. I picture africa being a big flat lands or like when you see the safari on TV. Yup - I have never left the US other than to go to islands in the Caribbean. Can you tell? haha!
    These are beautiful shots -great way to document everything - can't wait to see more!

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