The crazy Christian

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Flag of Malawi  ,
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Up at 5:30 for my matola (pick-up truck) ride to Monkey Bay. Funny how your sleep pattern changes, 5:30 seems normal now.

The 30 minute trip wouldn't have been too bad but we had to do a couple of bumpy circuits around the village first to pick up passengers, so it took over an hour to get to Monkey Bay.

I must have got on the oldest rickety bus of my whole time in Africa, but a nice lady on the street was selling fresh hot donuts so that made up for the bus somewhat. They were so nice I had 4!

I waved goodbye to the 1,500ft, 3rd largest lake in Africa before heading off in to the land of endless maize fields and baobab tree. This was day 1 of what was going to be a 3 day cross country journey to get to Vic Fall.

The usual array of sellers appeared at every stop. 20 tomatoes would set you back the princely sum of 70c. I got some peanuts. This was the third time I'd had peanuts and they had always been soft and moist. I don't know if this was because they were under ripe of because we normally dry them before eating them in the west.

The day started with what was quite an amusing incident that turned into a distressing one. A lady who was clutching a bible and singing for the first few hours of the journey started shrieking and walking up and down isle of the bus shouting a word that sounded like Satan. Next she started whacking people on the head, and eventually started spitting at people. In the end one guy had to physically restrain her and we ended up driving into a town a few miles off the main road and depositing her at the police station. It was a bit sad to see, but the locals handled the situation very well.

As we got closer to Lilongwe we started to climb up to a plateau, Lilongwe is Malawi's capital but I have to say it's not a very appealing city at all. It's very spread out with no real centre and like most Africa large cities a reputation for crime.

I headed for Kiboko Camp, the most popular backpackers in town and what I though would be a 5 minute walk. It turned into a 30 minute slog in the heat and by the time I got there I was ready to polish off my last few Special Brews before moving on to a new country and a whole new selection of beers.

Luckily an overland truck had arrived and there was a crazy Kiwi called Brett who had the same idea as me. His whole trip from Cairo 4 months earlier seemed like it had been a complete drunken blur and Brett had absolutely no idea where he was going next. Sounded like another good reason to stay away from overland tours and I decided the trip I was contemplating doing from Vic Falls to Cape Town was definitely a no go!

I hadn't really enjoyed Malawi as much as the other countries I'd been to and couldn't work out why. Maybe I'd been on the road to long. Maybe there were too many similarities to Uganda. Maybe it was too touristy. Maybe it was because it seemed like the country had grown into a hand out society and the muzungus were charged at a different rate to the locals, and the was considered OK. I was hoping Zambia would put me in a more positive frame of mind.
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