Tuesday, 16 September 2008

11th September 08

Date: 11th September 08
Location: Karonga, Malawi
Weather: Hazy skies, very warm but happy smiley weather again! 34°c
Status: Last day in Malawi, lets go explore!!

Had a really early escape to bed yesterday so got up bright and early as the sun rose out of the lake and watched a poetic sunrise, the sounds of the waves lapping the shore and the distant cockerel crowing were so African and left us speechless as we watched from the entrance to the tent.

It was perfect timing as the boys I’d arranged to make some keyrings for my nephews arrived just as we started the engine but this time they had our bananas for us! Love the locals here, Hudson and John two very enterprising young boys who’ve brought us tomatoes, eggs and papaya! Typically Manchester United supporters from this part of the world though!

Left the camp and drove south for a few clicks before turning onto the track up to Livingstonia….oh boy what a fun road, the map on the gps showed a route up the side of the escarpment which twisted and turned with multiple hairpin bends. The surface was a mixture of rock and gravel with concrete in sections and made for a really exciting drive.

The locals have even numbered the bends up to 16 so you can count the fun on the way up, lock to lock turns with sheer drops off the sides make it a road that’s comparable to the Sani Pass in South Africa and the best route for a while. The Colonel revelled in it and got us to the top with no problems, even managing to stop halfway up and give a lift to 5 local girls who were struggling up the hill….and they loved it laughing the whole way whilst clinging on the back.

Livingstonia is a village isolated from the rest of the lake up the 15km track to a group of houses and large church set up by the missionaries in 1875 and has retained its charm, we visited the church, museum and drove through the town. Then with the help of our newly recruited guide drove 4kms back out to the top of a 50m high waterfall which cascades into the valley below.

Another few metres down the road and we walked to the bottom of the falls and into the cave which is hidden from view behind it. It’s said that the locals hid here from the slave traders 100 years ago, we had a dip in the cold water and then back to the truck.

Some local kids had been looking after the Colonel for us so I gave them each a pair of the wraparound shades that Island Tribe had been kind enough to give me and we then started the slow descent back down the hill.

Back at the main road we headed north along the shore of the lake to the dusty transit town of Karonga, one of the last before the border with Tanzania, and found the run down little camping site called Mufwa Lodge. Nothing special just a site on the beach but it does remind me that we’re heading back into the real Africa and getting off the backpackers circuit finally. Comfort and luxuries are not what I came here for…..so we cooked Spaghetti Bolognese and watched a movie before going to bed, well I have to have some still don’t I!!

End of day location: Karonga, Malawi
Distance covered: 128kms

No comments: