Epic Air Safari: Malawi to Zambia
A long 640-mile day. We left beautiful Kaya Mawa at the crack of dawn for a short one-hour flight to Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. Winds were favorable enough for us to make a bold decision: fly from Lilongwe to Livingstone without going via Lusaka. A long 520-mile leg, which we covered in 3 hours and 45 minutes, ending with 60 liters of fuel in our tanks. About 35 minutes’ worth… not much. It was a nice flight in which we went with the wind, allowing it to carry us up or down. All we monitored was our ground speed.
This straight journey saved us time, so we spent the afternoon on a wonderful cruise on the Zambezi River. Our lodge, Royal Chundu, was a magnificent Relais & Châteaux property where hospitality is unmatched. Antonella and I were staying in the portion of the lodge on an island in the middle of the Zambezi. Simply stunning. The bubble bath on the bank of the river is a classic not to be missed!
We were woken up by the elephants, who decided to have a noisy breakfast on the river bank. The hippos contributed to the concert….
Pierre then invited us to join him on an Apocalypse Now experience: We took a scenic flight over Victoria Falls by helicopter, which was magnificent. But what was most breathtaking was the gorge flight, in which the helicopter flew just a few feet away from the rapids, making turns on a 70-degree bank and pulling a couple of G’s. I loved it. Antonella is still unsure whether she loved it or is just in shock from the adrenaline rush.
After the flight, we walked to the falls. Nature’s show there in indescribable. Even Livingstone did not know how to put it and simply said there was nothing like it in England! Livingstone had porters and a canoe, but I have an iPhone and can share with you the magnificent view. The falls drop 500 million liters of water per minute… nearly 1 million per second. Simply unbelievable!
A sundowner by boat on the Zimbabwean side of the river with hippos, bee-eaters, fish eagles, and crocodiles was the perfect ending to a perfect day.