Meeting and seeing animals in Africa stays with me. I didn’t expect that. Maybe it’s seeing them in their natural environment with their families. They aren’t performing on-demand or stuck in small, enclosed spaces for my enjoyment (not theirs). They are just living their lives. And I get to be a small blip on their radar. Refreshing!!

Recording my experiences for both our enjoyment

This story records my incredible experience so I can re-engage with these animals whenever I need to. And I want to share pictures and videos of the animals in Africa we encountered with you. Enjoy them! Experience their energy, their lives!

We met most animals at two locations – Game Haven Lodge near Thylo and Mvuu Camp, in Liwonde National Park, Southern Malawi.


Mvuu Camp, Liwonde National Park


Lions, Hippos, and Zebras, oh my!


Male lion

We snapped a picture of this young lion in Liwonde National Park from the safety of 30 yards and the interior of a Range Rover. At night, we could hear lion roars, and they seemed REALLY CLOSE. It was clear why we were escorted by an employee to our chalets after dark.

Want to be serenaded by a lion?

Close your eyes so you’re in total darkness with this incredible sound a few yards outside your chalet…just like it happened to us.

Wild Lion Roars | African Safari Spectacle


Nicknamed “Angry Vegans” by my daughter, Andy, the hippos spent their days in the water near the banks of the Shire (pronounced Shear – AY’) River. They climb up to land to sleep – we know that first hand because they came out of the water about 20 feet from our chalets. It sure seemed like they were sleeping close to our chalets.

Listen to them getting ready for bed. (You can’t see anything, it’s totally dark!)

Listening to hippos getting ready for bed


Watch them enjoy the river with their pod.

Hippos in the Shire River


Hippos are clearly territorial. Our excellent guide, Justin Ngulube (JB), explained that they respect our space, so we should respect theirs as well. When we didn’t, one followed the boat. Yes, we moved on.

On another boat ride, I heard a hippo tell me “GO AWAY.” That’s because he thought we were too close to his pod. Again, we moved on.

Antelopes Galore!

We encountered so many types of antelopes in Africa –Waterbuck, Eland, Impala (they’re small!!), Wildebeest, Nyala, Sable, Kudu, Steenbok, and possibly a Klipspringer.

Eland and Wildebeest in Africa

Zebras, too!

They’re beautiful! We got to pretty close in Game Haven, since there are no predators there. We were just another herd moving through the landscape.

Monkeys and baboons

Baboons lived in and around the villages, so we saw them on our drive from one location to another. People ignored them like we ignore squirrels.

There were a bunch of monkeys living around Mvuu Lodge. In the past, the monkeys were so brazen, they’d come up to peoples’ tables in the restaurant and steal food off their plates – while they were still eating! (Restaurant is outside.) Finally, the lodge had to start a monkey watch so that people could eat in peace.

Here’s a great video my son Pat took of the monkeys near our cottages.

A bunch of monkeys

Water Buffalo – hiding in plain sight

Water buffalo animals in AfricaI had to crop this picture so you can find the water buffalo. If not for our guide JB, we’d never have seen her.

Have you seen an elephant shrew?

African wildlife elephant shrewJB and Tom were amazing when we drove through the bush at night. (Tom was armed.) They pointed out an elephant shrew, impala, and even chameleons! Our guides told us they had “bush eyesight” and boy, they sure did!

Black-backed Jackal – another animal in Africa I encountered

We saw two jackals racing towards the Shire River as we waited for sunset.



What’s it like to wake up, go outside and see warthogs eating grass outside your chalet? AWESOME.

Warthogs at Mvuu Lodge

How was animal communication with animals in Africa?

I sent love, delight, and respect to all animals I encountered in Africa. My family and friends were in their home and I wanted them to know we were just visiting. I connected frequently, but we didn’t have many conversations… other than the hippo who told me to GO AWAY from his pod.

From my current perspective, I believe wild animals are primarily focused on living their lives. They’re not focused on interacting with humans, especially since our track record has been less than stellar. It humbles me; we aren’t the center of their universe.

But I’m OK with that.

View more videos of Africa on YouTube.

Read my blog, Saving the White Lion.