Our traditional British Boxing Day walk usually involves a brisk long walk with our dog along Sizewell beach or similar in the few hours that a UK December gives you between dawn and dusk. We were determined to do something different in Malawi!
A 15 min drive from the centre of Blantyre is the beautiful Michiru Nature Reserve that we had already sampled a couple of times. However, with the morning of 26 December dawning warm, sunny and clear we determined to be more adventurous this time and headed off on a 3 hour circuit up into the richly forested slopes of Michiru Mountain.
It was a lovely adventure through country made lush green with the recent rains and full of strange wildlife and plants. The unusual birdcall’s reminded us of our time walking in the forests of New Zealand, the warmth and rocky outcrops reminded us of our walks in Yosemite, and – if it had only been silver birch rather than exotic native species – the wooded vistas could have been Perthshire in a warm August haze.
We walked cautiously past Hyena lairs, startled a troop of baboons in the trees who noisily told us off for disturbing their solitude, marvelled at the exotic colours of lizards sunning themselves on rocks, dodged toads and centipedes on the track, wondered at the most vivid scarlet wings of talkative birds, and were buzzed by bright dragonflies that seemed to be the size of Google drones!
Even if Ruth’s legs ached after the climb down, it was a wonderful day. Next stop – the summit!