Heading North through Africa

Trip Start Feb 25, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malawi  ,
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Sarah and i have been on the road loads recently, clocking up 4 countries in a week! After leaving South Africa we headed north on a overnight bus journey lasting 16 hours to Zimbabwe. We arrived in a place called Bilawayo where we decided to arrange a 1st class train cabin for that evening for yet another overnight trip to Victoria, famous for Victoria Falls. It should be noted here that 1st class interpretates as western 3rd class, but it was cheap! The falls were truely spectacular and are recorded as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. At over 2 kilometres in width and with the water dropping over 100 metres, it truely was an awsome sight! You could see the spray from miles away! It's also a natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. After Zimbabwe, we headed across the border to Zambia where we spent 3 nights in Livingstone where a booze cruise was on offer up the Zambezi river for 15 US $...... The English lager lout came out in me and i begged Sarah to go on it, putting forward arguments that we would (a) meet people and (b) see great sights and (c) drink loads as we hadn't enjoyed a beer for ages. It was actually good value and we managed to drink our way through quite a few beers and make the organisers think twice about letting Enlgish people on for that ridiculous price! After this we headed to Lusaka for 1 night (nothing really worth a mention) before heading across to Malawi.

Everything about Malawi screamed AFRICA!!!! Whereas places in South Africa could have been any first world country, Malawi was definately a 3rd world one. I could see mud huts with mis-matched straw roofs, i could feel the heat of the beating sun and i could smell the odour of 26 locals! 26 locals Sarah and i were in a mini bus heading through Africa and it was dangerously over-loaded! The actaul term for this mode of transport is chicken bus. When i say chicken bus, it's the term used by locals who use the local bus (lads back home - not chicken as described by Derek and Clive!) We'd opted NOT to get an organised tour across Africa because of a few factors. Let me explain. The tours cost, in 1,300 for transport and accomodation and some food. It's all camping and you are literally told where you go, how long you stay for and what you do - i think you can decide when you go to toilet though! Also, that cost doesn't include visas for countries which do add up! Further to that, the tour from Cape town to Nairobi lasts 30 days, which gives you around 5 days per country, with at least 1 or 2 days of that travelling to the next place! NOT ENOUGH TIME!!!! In my opinion we have covered a lot of ground quickly missing a few things out and leaving a few places a bit early but a tour would be too quick. Also, where's the fun in having everything organised for you? I love turning up to bus terminals, train stations and travel agents and trying (not always sucessfully) to catch the vehicle at the right time. So, Malawi. great place, very cheap and despite not having a coast line, the tourist industry makes up for it with Cape Mclear having Lake Malawi on its doorset. Cheap huts - 5 us$ a night and beer too - less than a quid a bottle. Cape Mclear was amazing!
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