Kande Beach and Nkhwazi Lodge - Jan 27th to Feb 2nd by SusanArriving at Kande Beach at dusk it wasn't immediately obvious where we needed to check in so we had a look around and finally found reception, which was in the front of an old boat no less.After signing in we were free to camp wherever we fancied which was easier said than done, we knew that the camp was popular with overland trucks but having seen very few tourist on the road to date we weren't expecting 3!We eventually pulled up in a sandy corner under some trees, thankfully not mango trees, these seemed to be the dominant tree in the area and the walk to the bathrooms was a gauntlet as mango's were falling all over the place! The trees would provide some shade not that we really needed it with all of the rain and clouds we'd been experiencing of late but the days always seemed to brighten up so it was always good to have.We had also conveniently pulled up next to a shelter with a large table underneath it that we could use. We set up the tent, pulling out the damp mattress and used the heat from the bonnet to dry it off while we headed off to the bar for a well earned beer!!The bar area was pretty impressive, supposedly the bar was carved in the shape of Africa but if it was I couldn't see it but they did have lots of hammocks and little chill out coves.We had thought we'd cook for ourselves but after a long day we decided to head to the Soft Sand Café and check out its menu. I was in heaven for the first time since leaving South Africa they had veggie burgers on the menu and home made at that!It came with a yummy fresh salad and on the not so healthy side chips, as I dug in Paul got his teeth into the meaty equivalent.The next day we were very lazy and just chilled out.We got some laundry done, hand washing double sheets is not too much fun and one of the handy men around camp offered to wash Kal, by now covered in mud again after the road from Lilongwe!It was painstaking to watch this guy hand wash the car, we went to the bar to chill out and read and came back two hours later to find him still at it, he even got all of the mud off of the underside of the car!We also decided we should sign up for a horse ride the following day and opted for the 3 hour ride through local bush and the beach ending in a swim in the lake, it was for intermediate and experienced riders only so we were hoping we'd be the only ones and weren't disappointed.In the late afternoon we watched as a group returned from there ride and took pictures as the horses and riders waded into the lake, it looked amazing. The pictures in the album are of this, sadly we forgot to get someone to take pictures of us the following day but the grey mare is the horse Paul ended up on, not sure if my one is in the shots as he was a bay.As the riders went down to the water Paul went over to say hi to Jonny the English guy who owns Kande Horse Trails the outfit that runs the rides, Jonny was a keen Polocrosse rider and since Paul played in his youth they had a bit to talk about.They didn't really run polocrosse lessons any more and unfortunately Jonny was going away for the next couple of days so he and Paul wouldn't be able to take on one another although I could tell both would have really enjoyed the opportunity.We were really looking forward to the ride the following day and the horses looked amazing.We cooked up our own dinner and enjoyed another early night.Next morning we had a nice big fry up for breakfast and then relaxed until our pick up time of 2pm for our ride.The stables were a couple of kms away from the beach so they drove us up there. We were very impressed at the set up when we got there, there was a lovely barn style house with lots of big dogs and over 20 horses enjoying a feed in separate stalls - I was really impressed, I'd love to have something similar one day just maybe not in the isolation of Malawi!!The Bradt guide had written "Kande Horse Trails has the most impressive stable I have seen in Africa", we couldn't disagree!!After a false start,Jonny's wife realised her horse was lame as we set out from the stables we were on our way.There were just the three of us, Paul was on a grey mare who loved to eat and I was on a bay male who had the odd white speckle on him.We first of all headed out into the forests in the undulating hills that surround the lake in this area, it was good to be out and about and we passed through many little villages with lots of hello's and how are you's and only the occasional 'give me money'.The countryside was truly beautiful.We got to do a couple of long canters, my horse had the comfiest canter I've ever experienced I think, in low gear that is but if pushed he could fly along.All too soon we were back on the beach and ready for our swim, as we both dismounted to go get our swimmers on though neither of us were sure we'd be able to get back on, two and a half hours in the sadle is a lonnnnngggg time!I was right, as I was given a leg up I realised that although my horse was very healthy and looked like he had a lot of meat on him he still had a spine, I couldn't wait to get into the water so that I could get off and have a swim next to him rather than on top of him.Never the less getting into the water was a lot of fun, the thing that surprised me was how much noise these horses were making sort of a low rumbling/snorting, very odd.As we got to about chest height I decided it was time for my refreshing swim so slipped down beside my horse and held onto a bit of mane.I don't think the horse really actually swam as the water just didn't get deep enough but it was lots of fun all the same!On our way back up thankfully I was leading him by now my horse decided that a roll in the sand was in order, it was great to see him enjoying himself and with that our ride was over, we both kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn't be too stiff in the morning!! Covered in horse hair we decided to head back into the lake to freshen up before hitting the showers.That night we were lazy again and decided to eat at the restaurant before heading to bed, the next day we would head a little bit further north to a place called Nkhwazi Lodge which I'd read about in my Go magazine's before leaving south Africa, it promised to be a very different experience and didn't disappoint.Before talking the sand track off the main road to Nkhwazi we decided to drive a couple of kms more to the village of Chintheche where we hoped we'd get some supplies.In the market we got some awesome looking tomatoes, some yummy red onions, eggs, bread and four huge avocado's, it was amazing each avo was only 10 kwacha, that's about 4p and they were delicious!!Heading back to the car we noticed they had a stall selling chips which we'd read was a very popular thing in Malawi so thought we'd try them out, you get to taste before you buy so we both took one, they weren't bad so we decided to buy a portion just the one though, they had been cooked earlier so weren't the hottest and boy was there a lot of grease, it was 10 times worse than a fish and chipper back at home in Scotland!Paul was also adventurous and tied a couple of the 'meat' balls they had on offer, they were quite dry looking and I'm not sure all that appetising but Paul managed to eat them but I don't think he'll be back for more!!After picking up some drinks at the People's Supperette (local supermarket, not sure I'd call it a supermarket but they are everywhere!) we headed back towards Nkhwazi.The camp lay a couple of kms down a sandy track right on the beach and was very different to Kande Beach, the owner Jim for one thing didn't allow overland trucks.Again it was a very chilled out place and the campsite was beautiful compared to Kande. There were grassy lawns and lots of woodland which then opened out onto a small beach.It was pretty quiet with only one other couple there who were from Switzerland and had been a couple of time, they were obviously old hats as they had set up camp with there bright orange land cruiser right on the beach.Paul and I opted for a shaded spot on the grass close to the beach.We spent the next couple of days chilling out, enjoying some locally caught fish and listening to Jim's stories of life in Africa.We also had some friends in the form of two dogs, Boz and 2-dogs (she'd been the second puppy out).These guys were very happy and were amazing to watch as they entertained each other, at one point they were playing hid and seek round one of the big tables in the restaurant!They also made me feel good at night I knew if I needed to get up to go to the bathroom they'd be there at the bottom of the roof tent ladder waiting to escort me, better than any night watchmen!I was very tempted to steal them both!!If you ever get the chance to travel along Lake Malawi this place is a must if you want to get away from it all and was definitely my favourite spot since being in Malawi.