28 July 2008
Chitimba (Chitimba Beach Camp S10 35.073 E34 10.541)
SARAH: We needed to do heaps of washing so spent 2 hours in the morning doing that. The sun was out and once all the chores were done we could relax. There are about 10 local carving shops outside the campsite and when driving in we saw that the carvings were magnificent so we went to have a look. We weren't disappointed and the carvings are by far the nicest we've seen anywhere in Africa. I could have bought everything but we restrained ourselves to a mask, bowl and salad servers. It's always difficult to barter things down when we've just arrived in a new country and don't know the value of the kwatcha or the carvings so we pretty much paid Tim what he was asking. We did some blog typing in the evening around the bar and another overland truck arrived which is good because we like a bit of a buz around the campsite.
STILL LIVING AFTER LIVINGSTONIA
29 July 2008
Chitimba -Livingstonia - Chitimba (Chitimba Beach Camp)
BRUCE: Well were not supposed to be camping back here but events conspired against us and after some hectic driving up on the mountain we're back. We left in the pouring rain this morning to drive up to Livingstonia which is on top of the escarpment and only about 15km away. We were expecting a tar road and were surprised when we turned off onto a small track. We hastily checked the guide book and it said that it was strictly 4X4 only and under no circumstances should it be attempted after rain. Well, as it was still raining we decided to give it a go! The pass itself is not too bad but there were 18 hectic hairpin bends to negotiate as the track forced its way up the escarpment. The trouble only started when we got to the top and the road changed from gravel to slippery sodden clay- it was now pouring with rain. We started sliding all over the place and decided it would be a good idea to reverse back to a cross road that we had passed and try another route. We almost made it all the way but ended up sliding off the road into a ditch. Luckily we slide off on the mountain side of the road because on the other side there was just a cliff! We managed to get our of the ditch without too much trouble and wheel spinning and we took the easier route to Livingstonia. When we got there we were a little disappointed as there are only a few ramshackle buildings along muddy streets and the rain was still belting down. We slid and slipped our way back down the first section out of the village, at one stage being completely broadside down the little track so decided to stop where we were and wait for the rain to stop and the track to dry out a little. The rain stopped after a while and the locals came out and all said hi as they went about their business. We got chatting to a bee keeper called Hudson and went and bought some honey from him to pass the time. By now the sun had been out a while and the track was a little drier and less treacherous so we made our way back to a backpackers called the Mushroom Farm that we had passed on the way up. The idea had been to camp here but they are perched on the cliff and there is no way to get the Landy to the campsites. We had heard that the food they do is quiet good and can confirm that after having a great veggie omlette for lunch washed down with a nice cold Carlsberg. It was a good thing that we headed back down the mountain cause the clouds are building again and if it rains hard tonight there is no way we would get back down the mountain in one piece!
BODY SURFING LAKE MALAWI
30 July 2008
Chitimba - Chinteche (Nkhwazi Camp Site S11 53.670 E34 10.026)
SARAH: It was just as well we drove down the escarpment yesterday because this morning there was big rain! It was raining so hard we couldn't even see the mountain and there was no way we were going to try pack up camp and get soaked. I was in trouble for not waking up earlier and packing the tent before the rain started so we sheltered out of the rain for 2 hours until it passed. I thought it was the dry season in Malawi? It was still pouring when we stopped in a town called Mzuzu and it must have been pay day as we waited 1 hour in a queue for the ATM in the rain. Malawi strikes me as being a much poorer country than Tanzania or Kenya as the supermarkets and shops are very basic and a luxury like cheese was way too expensive for even us to buy at £4/block. Next stop was Nkata Bay which didn't have great camping for us so we skipped it and found an absolutely stunning secluded campsite at Nkhwazi. Lake Malawi is bizarre as it has full on waves and looks just like the sea with lovely white beach sand, yet green trees grow on the beach! Quite strange and beautiful and the best part is the water tastes fresh! We enjoyed a drink on the deck and made a great Lentil Dahl bunny that was the best Lentil Dahl made to date. After lots of laughs and wine we called it a night.
31 July 2008
Chinteche - Kande Beach (Kande Beach Camp Site S11 57.100 E34 07.327)
BRUCE: Awesome weather today. We had a morning swim in the lake and the waves were big enough to body surf! Strange place this Lake! After breakfast we packed up and headed to Kande Beach which is only 10km further down the lake. Kande is a huge sandy campsite geared up for overland trucks. There were only 2 trucks there so we helped ourselves to a nice thatched cover and had some lunch in the shade before heading to the beach. The beach here is really awesome. It must be about 3-4km long and is fine white sand with small waves rolling in. It looks like we could have been back in Tanzania.
That evening 2 kiwi bikers, Gareth and Helen, who we had met at Jungle Junction pulled in. The last time we saw them was in Uganda on the road up from Lake Banyoni and it was good to have a catch up with them and hear about their adventures on Lake Tanganyika.
WHEEL, DOWN AND OUT
01 Aug 2008
Kande Beach - Senga Bay (The Wheelhouse Campsite S13 46.668 E34 37.104)
SARAH: We're getting so fussy with campsites and they can't just be beautiful, they need to be stunningly beautiful for us to be happy. It's funny how times have changed since Ethiopia. After looking at a few only ok camps on the Lake we decided to push on to Senga Bay only to find the famous Cool Runnings campsite fully booked! The other camspsite was too expensive so we ended up at the Wheelhouse, a bit of a building sight and dive, just as it was getting dark. To make things worse we discovered that our auxillary battery wasn't working so we had no light or fridge which was a real pain. Luckily the campsite had power sockets, but it's generally been a bit of a crap day and to top it off I cooked an instant pasta that smelt of paraffin.