The Day of the Mamba
Trip Start Sep 29, 2010
159Trip End Nov 29, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Getting to the Game Reserve proved frustratingly slow. Having first to register with the government office in town, we only left for the reserve around 1pm. A shared taxi ride later, we were dropped off with our guide at a road block which marked the edge of the reserve. Before we set off on the long hike to the camp site, our guide disappeared for an hour and a half to get geared-up (read: armed – there are dangerous animals in this reserve) and gather supplies for himself. Okay, so he needed time to get himself ready, but we had spent six hours to this point trying to first organise and then get to the game reserve, and daylight was running out
Everyone we had asked had said we would have to walk either 8km (5 miles) or 14km (~9 miles) – naturally we hoped it would be the shorter of the two. Ninety minutes of brisk walking (remember, dusk was fast approaching) and we were still not close; 'just some metres more' should always be taken with a pinch of salt!
We finally arrived at the rather basic camp just as the dusk was setting in. By the time we’d fetched water from the spring and decided where to pitch camp, it was dark. Our guide – whom we were decidedly unhappy with – seemed not to understand our frustrations at arriving in, frankly, the middle of nowhere in the dark. After all, he had a hut to rest and sleep in, while we were left to pitch camp in torchlight. Not ideal.
Our moods were lifted quickly though when the camp minder’s wife came to us first with fire (a relief for us, given that collecting firewood in the dark is no easy task) and then water. We settled down to cook.
Now over the course of the two weeks Des and Grace spent with me, we cooked on open fires many times
The next day we climbed the nearby hill. I touched a mahogany tree, Des searched for snakes and Grace ended the trek with a new bracelet. The rest of the day was spent cooking dinner again and finishing off the delicious brandy and coke (didn’t really want to carry all that liquid back again!).
The next morning, we rose and set off early for the roadblock we had walked from two days previously. The day before we had let it be known to our guide that we wanted to do this ourselves, an exercise made easier by suggesting he go and see his family who live near the roadblock. This he did, so we set off on the long (but straightforward) walk back to civilisation. After perhaps only 20 minutes, we all shared an experience I doubt any of us will forget.
Walking three abreast in a straight line along the wide path (four-wheel vehicles obviously use it occasionally), we happily chatted away while clearly only watching what our feet were doing
The adrenaline from what we had just happened carried us swiftly onwards to the roadblock, where we relayed our story to our guard who had come to meet us on our return. He listened eagerly and sorted us out with a lift on the back of a pickup to the nearby town of Kasungu. From here, we made our last journey together back to Lilongwe.