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Jul 24 2013

Wandering in circles

OK, I definitely don’t want to sound ungrateful – and even a boring day of travelling beats a day in the office – but we have been circling a bit while waiting for our bawo board to be delivered.

After our less than successful stay at Cape Maclear, we headed down to Mangochi – partly to buy some food, partly to take a drive and partly to have a look.  It was an interesting little town.  After stopping at every supermarket and suprette, we managed to stock up on some basics – breakfast cereal, porridge oats, tinned pilchards.  Then, a kind lady pointed us in the direction of the central market – a place we knew existed but couldn’t find.  It was very impressive.  This is the first formal fruit and vegetable market we have come across since Lilongwe: it is all housed under one big roof, with concrete benches available for vendors to sell their produce.  The selection was excellent, the quality high and we managed to even buy some ‘luxuries’ such as lettuce and aubergine!  (Tomatoes, onions and potatoes are abundant on the roadside everywhere in Malawi).

After a quick stop for lunch at a local restaurant – interestingly called ”Possibilities Restaurant and Take Aways” – we were back on the road in search of a campsite for the night.  We settled on Nkhudzi, about 20km before Monkey Bay.  It was a strange little set up, and in its heyday I am sure was charming.  It overlooks a sheltered stretch of Lake Malawi, with a lovely restaurant, bar and deck all with gorgeous views of the lake.  But, the rook on part of the reception building collapsed when a branch fell on it in December last year … and still hasn’t been repaired.  In addition, with the owners based in South Africa, a local family has been slowly moving into said reception building – and especially enjoying the TV which seems to run continuously through the day.  We camped on the grass, and used the bathroom facilities of 1 of the 2 chalets on site.  Not sure I would have enjoyed the site of a 4×4 with rooftop ten outside my chalet if I was staying in a chalet!

Moonrise over Lake Malawi – spectacular!

 

Anyway.

Slowly we made our way back up to Monkey Bay.  There was a weekly fabric market we were interested in visiting, primarily to buy some fabric but also to look at what clothing was available.  It was an interesting excursion!  The market had lots of displays around the outside – vendors who took the time to erect displays for their clothes and fabrics.  In the middle?  Pile after pile after pile of second hand clothing.   Most of it in excellent condition, even with tags on.  These are sent from Canada, USA, UK, Australia … and even from Norway!  There was a pile of clothes which had a bag bearing the Norwegian flag, and a few brand names Viking Explorer recognised.  Despite a good hour or so browsing, we came away empty handed.

 

Our campsite for the night was Mufasa Rustic Backpackers.  Rustic it was – by backpacker standards.  But by our standards, it was a relaxing place to stay for the night.  It overlooked a tiny bay, which was angled so that the prevailing wind (which buffeted the rest of the coast) was absent.  It was simple.  It was peaceful.  It was ideal.

Next day we returned to Sumbi Beach Lodge to collect our bawo board.  It is stunning – everything we had hoped it would be, and personalised for us.  Ludwe really outdid himself.  Well worth the wait!  We met up with Carol and Kevin and their kids Connor and Shannon.  They were the ones who put us in contact with Sumbi Beach, and it was great to meet them in person.  They are visiting from the UK for a month, and are very actively involved in another project related to a nursery nearby.

 

Board in hand – we were off!  Time to head to Dedza.


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