October 31, 2014

Malawi: Lake Malawi, Part I

After three nights in Zanzibar, Tanzania it was hard to go back to the truck, camping and the group of twenty two. The group dynamic is not ideal but luckily I have become good friends with Jess, Nicole, Esther, Suzie and a few others. We also had two long ten to twelve hour driving days across Tanzania to Malawi ahead of us. Most of the time I don't mind long bus rides but these two days were brutal.

After a long twelve hour drive from Dar Es Salaam we stayed at Kisolanza Old Farm House, a gorgeous camp near Iringa. We arrived just before sunset and the spa like showers and free wi-fi were greatly appreciated. I am starting to realize the Intrepid itinerary is a little misleading as we never went to Iringa even though it was marked on the trip map. Lame.

{ Baobob Valley }
{ Chris and the truck }
On the second long driving day we drove through Baobob Valley with thousands of baobob trees to the Tanzania/Malawi border. The border crossing to Malawi was straight forward and after we all passed the Ebola temperature check we were easily able to change our Tanzania shillings to Malawi kwacha with the near by change bureau. I was shocked at how nice the border was with no poverty and for the most part clean. I mean we are in Africa, everything is dusty.

Our mood lifted with the excitement of a new country. Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa because of the friendly people. For the most part everyone spoke English which was a welcomed surprise because we had to shop for vegetables at a local market in Mzuzu. Mike, our chef, went to the grocery store and we went to the local market to restock the kitchen. Chris gave each of us 1,000 kwacha ($2) and a vegetable that we needed to buy. Let the bargaining games begin! Unfortunately, broccoli, was out of season but we manged to buy the requested quantity and quality of tomatoes and onions for Jess and Nicole.

{ Lake Malawi }
{ Lake Malawi sunrise }

We spent our first night in Malawi at Chitimba Beach Camp on the shores of Lake Malawi. We were not able to swim here due to bugs but it was gorgeous looking at over the massive lake. There were about four other overland trucks at camp and even though we did not mingle it was comforting to see other travelers on the overland road. After a relaxing evening at camp I woke up early to watch the sunrise with a few local kids who joined me. 

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