Chris’ birthday was a few weeks ago. I love buying gifts but without malls, Amazon and easy ways to take things home in a few months, a regular gift didn’t seem like the best idea. And after all, Chris isn’t really a “gift” guy and would prefer an experience to a new “thing” (unless, of course, that “thing” is a Logos lexicon or commentary… he doesn’t seem to dislike those at all!). So I decided to plan for a vacation for his birthday (ok… and our Christmas presents to each other, it was a splurge trip!)! After planning and researching a different trip, another missionary wife let me know about a special offer available at a place called Chelinda Lodge in Nyika National Park and we decided to go!
The drive to Nyika is about 10 hours, 3-4 of them over poorly maintained dirt roads. We split the drive there into two days and stayed in Mzuzu (which, interestingly, is named after a white person’s mispronunciation of the Chichewa word for mosquito). It was still a long drive but, oh my, the drive was so worth it.
After entering the park (2-3 hours from the lodge), we saw an elephant from a distance! It was so cool! And then about 30 minute from the lodge, this herd was in the road.
Interspersed with the zebra were roan antelope which are almost cooler than the zebra, I think. We found one on a later drive… I love their black & white faces!
We stayed at Chelinda Lodge for three nights. We went on three game drives and saw more roan, bushbuck, eland, reedbuck, duiker (all different species of antelope – and so beautiful), zebra, warthog, hyena, an owl, other cool birds, wildflowers (like orchids, lupine, gladiolas and iris all growing in the wild) and such breathtaking scenery and sunsets! We went on a few walks as well but really enjoyed the amazing quite and solitude (we were the only ones staying at the lodge) and getting to rest and read by the fire in the evenings and spend time together.
We really needed that time. The semester (4 modules) finished on November 30 and we were both really tired, disconnected and distracted. We needed to see a beautiful side of Malawi and get away from the noise and interruptions of the city. We needed time to spend together and be refreshed.
This was our view when we arrived at the lodge for the first time. It reminded us of Psalm 23 (Chris’ translation):
A Psalm of David
Yahweh is my shepherd
I shall never become needful
In pastures of green grass, He causes me to lie down
Beside waters of resting places, He escorts me
My soul He restores.
He leads me in firm paths of correctness for the sake of His name
Even when I should walk in a valley of impenetrable gloom,
I shall never be fearing harm because You are with me
Your rod and Your staff, they are comforting me.
You set and order before me a table prominently before my attackers
You refresh with the oil my head, superabundance is my cup.
Surely good and steadfast love shall pursue me all the days of my life
And I shall return into the house of Yahweh for length of days.
God is so faithful to give us what we need and we are really grateful to have been allowed the resources to be able to take this trip. He used it to refresh us in so many ways, mostly in Him!
Here are a few more pictures from our trip!
Last one, I promise! A normal sight in Malawi…
Thank you for taking time to read about our trip and keep up with us!