Malawi, cheating touts.

Luwawa Forest Lodge

Luwawa Forest Lodge

The next day we headed east to Malawi, after doing some essential shopping in Chipata. The border crossing was quick and easy except for the many touts trying to change money with us. They first agreed on a rate of 70 Malawian kwacha for 1 Zambian kwacha and dropped it to 50 when it was time to change money. I lost my temper for the first time on this trip. After firmly telling all of them to fuck off, we entered Malawi. Kareen had the idea of coming to Malawi seven years ago and it was great thinking back to the time when we thought off it first, making great ideas a reality is so much fun. As soon as we entered Malawi the pace of economic activity slowed down a lot. The lack of big trucks on the road and organised farm in Central Malawi was noticeable. Therefore the road condition improved a lot. We drove north heading for the Viphya Highlands as Kareen wanted a holiday away from the Mosquitoes. Turning of the tar road we took a small gravel road about 10 km into the mountains.

Beautiful Fireplace

Beautiful Fireplace

The change of the landscape compared to South Luangwa in Zambia was remarkable. Mountains, thick forest and big stretches of hills covered in pine trees. Some people compare it to a European landscape; it’s a crying shame that only about 50 km² of the indigenous forest still remains. We arrived at Luwawa Forest Lodge and set up our tent and gear, Kareen checking the VW Caddy’s nose bleed. (Everything was still ok, jay!!). The night was cold and misty unlike anything we have experience on our trip and NO mosquitoes. The next morning Kareen went on a hike in the hills surrounding the lodge.  We decided to treat ourselves to a warm supper at the lodges restaurant and chilled at the beautiful fireplace.  It was fantastic for her to get a bit of exercise and fresh air after the 3 weeks and nearly 7000 km spent in the car.

Picture from lookout tower

Picture from lookout tower

 

View from lookout tower

View from lookout tower

Ants in her pants.

That afternoon we took a walk exploring the surroundings around the lodge. Lush gardens with big crystals and slate rock that they claim’s are 2 billion years old. We walked to the big viewing platform that was build between 4 growing pine trees and was about 7m high. Kareen decided that the best angle to take a photo from the lookout tower was to lay on her back. Suddenly she jumped up and started digging into her pants and throwing her clothes off, something I normal like. Her screams and face told me this was no joke but I could not stop myself from laughing. She had big ants biting her. Ants we call bal- byters (ball biters) and there where hundreds of them on her. It took us about 20 minutes to get them of her with her screams for Eina!! Indicating when more of them bite her. It was hilarious. We decide to head on the next day and hit the road north to Mzuzu, This would be the northern most point of this trip. We got Kareen connect to the internet as she was suffering from Facebook withdrawal, and headed south east to Lake Malawi and Nkatha bay about 50km away. We followed a meandering road through rolling hills down to the lake. Banana trees and a green carpet of trees as far as you can see. We arrived at Nkatha Bay, a small town set on steep downhill on the lake, and had a lazy lunch  at Aqua Africa, a Padi dive operator while arrange our scuba diving. We found camping at Njaya Lodge the flattest campsite in this hilly town.
The next morning we shopped for local art and took a drive south to get wet in Lake Malawi. The lake is a big expanse of water and with a bit of breeze that day there where even a bit of waves. But no salt.

Colourful Grasshopper

Colourful Grasshopper

The beaches were extremely clean and empty and we could swim sun tan and relax. Heaven in Africa. The scuba diving was very different from all our previous salt water diving. The lack of colour in the plant life, the contrast between the colourful tropical lichen fish compared to the brown rock and bottom of the lake bed. We saw thousands of different fish of all colours shapes and sizes. On the night dive we were followed by the weird dolphin fish all through the dive. These log predator fish have learned to follow the torches to assist them in their hunt. The dark depths were eary and a bit scary but because we have done 2 night dives before, we could focus on observing the nocturnal life and sucking in the experience. Our dive master Kelly, a South African dive master, was very professional and that meant we felt save and relaxed. We stayed below for about 45 minutes which is quite long for me using only my arms to propel myself under water.

Time for diving

 

 

 

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