Day 26 to 27 - 25th to 26th November - Chitimba
Point of departure : NkhataBay
Point of arrival : Chitimba
Km travelled today: 215 kmCum: 6 173km (gravel 36km cum 1 359km)
Countries so far: 4/16
Where to next? into Tanzania
Total number of photos taken: 96 (cum 1 266)
We left Nkhata Bay early and headed north towards Mzuzu and Rumphi.North of Rumphi the road followed a breathtaking descent of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment (we climbed from 488m at Nkhata to 1 290m at the top of the Escarpment and then back down to 473m at Chitimba) down to Chiweta and then Chitimba on the northern shore of the Lake.
We stopped along the way to buy mangoes - we bought a dozen for MKW200 (about R10).Just about every second tree along the road in Malawi is a mango tree and the season lasts about two months.The locals then sell the mangoes either at markets or along the road to passing traffic.
We arrived at Chitimba Camp Site (run by a Dutch couple, Ed and Carmen, who bought it from a British ex overland truck driver 3 years ago).The camp is very pretty - set on a white beach with an attractive beach bar. The internet here has been the best we have had so far in Malawi and Zambia. This camp site is great and the people friendly and helpful. We also met another young couple, Dominik (Swiss) and Heidi (Danish) who are busy establishing another lodge/camp site further north on the Lake. After checking in we headed out to Livingstonia Mission, 15km from Chitimba.
Livingstonia Mission - founded in 1875 at Cape Maclear by Dr Robert Laws in honour of Dr David Livingstone.Its purpose was to further Livingstone's goal of promoting Christianity and commerce in order to stop the slave trade that was causing such misery along Lake Malawi.In 1881 the mission as moved to Bandawe (just south of Nkhata Bay).Due to the high incidence of malaria around the lake area, Laws moved the mission to higher ground and settled at Khondowe (now Livingstonia), 900m above the lakeshore. The spot was chosen as a result of fertile ground (for crops), a good supply of water and a better climate. The modern mission was built in 1894 and many of its stone buildings are in use today - a college, a hospital, a university hostel etc and the stonehouse houses a very good museum.
Getting there was a mission (excuse the pun) in itself - the 15km road climbs over 900m in altitude along a series of 20 hairpin bends, with spectacular views of the lake.
The museum houses a letter from David Livingstone to his son advising him of his mother's death of malaria in Mocambique (Mary Moffat Livingstone).
The mission church is quite imposing with a fine stained glass window depicting Livingstone on his travels.It appears mainly in its original condition, although the church tower has been more recently renovated, sadly not with matching bricks.
Day 27 (Thursday) started with a bit of excitement in camp as Marina spotted a thin green snake on the roof carrier.Anxious that it should not enter the tent or get into the car, after establishing that it was not poisonous, John and local staff pursued it quite vigorously.They managed to get it off the car onto the grass but it escaped back into the front wheel arch and, we assume back into the engine compartment from where it was not seen again.We hoped it used the space it was given to escape back into the garden.Needless to say all doors are kept permanently closed on the Beast.
The overland truck that we met at Pioneers in Lusaka and Mama Rulas in Chipata came into camp today. It was great meeting up with them again. When we left Zambia, they headed off to South Luangwa. They are also heading up to Nairobi.
We ended the day today with a swim in the lake. Having dinner at the Beach Bar and then early start tomorrow to cross the border into Tanzania.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing in camp and a final swim in the Lake.