Nov 23rd ; Woke up at the normal time of 6am, only to find that it was realy 5am!!! Ooppps, that time change can realy mess with you!! Oh well, we were both awake in time to watch the sun rise over the lake and slowly set the valley on fire with reds and oranges.
After coffee with Mick, the owner, it was time to hit the road.
Mick suggested that we took the road right out of the drive, instead of going back down the "10km road". It would take us through the moutains and valleys and was a much nicer road that the tar road.
So, taking his advise, we turned right out of hte drive.
Well Im so glad we did, the road was a newly graded dirt road, which took us through some of the most picturesque valleys we have seen since Burundi.
After a brilliant 60km drive we were back onto the tar.
The plan was to get as far as Nkarta Bay today and sit on the lake for the afternoon.
Well for once, everthing went to plan and we arrived in Nkarta Bay around 1pm.
After driving to and looking at several camping sites we decided to go to Njaya Lodge. It is the only site in the whole of Nkarta Bay which has got land put aside for roof-top tents!!!
After a look around Patrick went very quiet, then said "I have been here before".......
Out of all of the different sites we had looked at, we manged to go to the same site Patrick had been to 12 years ago, when he came here with friends from Varsity!!!
The hut they had stayed in was still there, unchanged - but everything around it had!!!
Even the staff were the same!!!
After much laughing and joking with the staff, we settled on the veranda, over looking the Lake, to relax for a bit.
Nov 24th ; During the night, the worst thunder storm I have ever heard, shook the tent whilst the rain tried to flattern it!!
A roof-top tent, parked under a large mango tree, is the worst place in the world to be during a thunder storm!!!
Njaya Lodge is owned by 2 English people, who have gone back to the UK with their daughter. This means that the Lodge is now run by the employee's for most of the year. Although the Lodge is beautiful, it is starting to look in need of a bit of TLC.
This was the main reason that Patrick decided to move on today, well that and the fact that there was no way to get all of his kiting gear onto the beach here!!
So it was off to Kande Beach, to chase the wind!
Kande Beach Resort was just what we needed after the rough few weeks we have had. A relaxed atmosphere, a bar right on the beach, hammocks under the shade and clean strech of beautiful beach - perfect!!
Much to Patrick's horror, there was no wind for the whole day, so we just had to lounge in the hammocks and read.
There ware 2 overland trucks camping, filled with, mostly, Australians. Great we thought,a chance to meet new people and talk rubbish whilst drinking beer!!
But no it was not to be - much to our shock, they kept themselves to themselves and did not talk to us at all!! What sort of overlanders as these?!!
Well, I found out later that night. They were the nocturnal type!!!! As soon as the sun went down, they appeared from every corner of the camp, drank lots of beer and made a heck of a lot of noise until well into the night!!
I saw "I found out" beacuse Patrick had been drinking, what I thought was coke all afternoon, but after 1 brandy and coke with dinner said he was off to bed and passed out!!!
Well it turns out that he had worked his way through nearly 1/2 a bottle of brandy during the afternoon, with the coke!!! No wonder he passed out in the tent and did not hear a peep from the overlanders!!!
Nov 25th; After putting it off for over a week, today I had to do some washing, I had run out of undies!!!
So off to the sink I go with a large bag full to the brim with stinky colthes.
As I getting more and more bored I look off over the mountains behind the camp, to see a very very large back cloud coming towards me at a rapid pace!!
Patrick went to kite surf first thing because there was a heck of a wind blowing - now I know why!!
I abandoned the washing and ran to the beach to get Patrick off of the water before the storm hit. He was already on the beach, hands on hips, not happy with life.
The static had already started to come down the lines and shock him, just as the wind dropped to nothing!!!
By the time we had packed away the kiting stuff the strom was on us.
With nothing better to do I carried on doing the washing, watch an amzaing storm blow through, hoping it would clear quickly. Well it took all morning to move over, leaving behnd an overcast dull afternoon.
Neither of us were to pleased, but not much we can do!!
Nov 26th ; It took us a while to get moving this morning, but we were not going far so it did not matter too much.
Finally packed, we drove towards Cool Runnings in Senga Bay and into another thunderstorm!!
We arrived at Cool Runnings, cold and fed up with the weather.
As I got out of the car I looked over at the other people in the campsite, and reccognised one of them.
It looked like someone we had meet in Namibia, but I could not be sure.
After a bit, he came around to the lounge area where we were sitting, then the penney dropped. He was Kees's friend who came and joined him whilst we were at The Cardboard Box!
Patrick went a spoke to him and yes it was Mo!!!!! What small world!!!
After a catch up, Partick said we should go for a drive and look at the curio stalls we had come past - good idea since it was still early.
There was some very nice stuff there put the people selling it were far too pushey. If they had left me to look then I would have got some stuff, but the followed you around all of the time, saying - "ask and I will give good price" and the thing that got me going the most was their need to tell you that you were looking at salad spoons, coasters, necklaces etc, as if you could not have worked it out for yourself!!
Oh well, it killed over an hour looking at all of the stuff, and now Patrick is very keen to get a table and some chairs to take back for the home we do not have!!!
Back at Cool Runnings, we had dinner with Mo and Emma, then hit the sack to try and catch up on some missed sleep.
It was not to be!! The heaviest rain came though that night, beating down on the tent like someone throwing tennins balls at us!!!
Nov 27th ; Patrick is now desperate for the wind to blow, so we are off to Cape McClear in search of some wind.
From everything we had been told and read, the road out to the Cape was very bad, and it would take some time to do. Not put off by this, because of the lure of the wind, we went anyway.
The road off of the main road has just been tarred so that was breeze, all was great util about 15km's from Fat Monkey's. It was here that the road fell apart, and became corrigated dirt hell!!
For the next 15km's we wollowed on old replacement shocks and were shacken, bumped and rattled to the point where we thought we were going to blow them!!
Crawling at 5km's an hour we finaly arrived at Fat Monkey's. The walk to reception was fun because my legs were still shaking, I felt like I had just got off a boat!!
Patrick decided we should go for a walk and see if the beach had changed much since he was here last, so off we went.
Apparantly it is unrecognisable!! There are lots of new Lodges, Watersport hire places and a new reataurant. Plus the village which now engulfs all of these new places, was never here!!!
Dissapointed with the encroachment onto the beach, we started to walk back to Fat Monkey's. We could see the camp just around the corner when the heavens opened!! By the time we got to the camp we looked like we were ready to enter an wet tee-shirt contest!!!
Choosing to try some local food, we went to the reataurant to see what was on the menu. Well I must say was dissapointed - there was breakfast/lunch options, and a pizza menu!
NO FISH!! What the heck is this all about, we are on Lake Malawi and this place does not serve fish!!!!!!!!!!!!
I asked for a pizza, only to be told that they did not have the stuff to make that one, they could only do a cheese and tom or veg pizza.
Patrick asked what else there was and was offered fish IF the boat come back in time!!
So we ordered fish and waited with baited breath to see what we would be served for dinner!!
As the cook came out of the kitchen with the dinner, the power went off!! This caused him to run back into the kitchen, with our dinner, and try to find lighting!!
When dinner arrive I was pleasently suprised. It was campano (Cat Fish) - wow it was amazing!!
Patrick asked for so sauce to go with the chips they had served with the fish.
This turned out to be a big ask, they did not have any tomatoe sauce!!
Well that was it for Patrick, this tipped him over the edge leading to a rant along the lines of -
"What kind of place has such poor management that they do not have any food in the kitchen!!! Why cant people replace things BEFORE they run out .............". The reply he got di dnot help matters, "This is Africa, there is nothing we can do" - well this did not help the mode!!!
Oh well, after dinner, there was still no power so we went back to the tent and watched a movie.
Nov 28th ; The weather abviously is trying to give me a heart attack because we awoke to blue skies and sunshine today!!! WOW this was great, for the first time in a good few days the day had not begun with a rain storm!!!
Wanting to make the most of the sun, I washed the sheets etc from the tent and hung them before the weather had a chance to change its mind!!!
The lake is magnificent when the sun is shining. It changes from the steriotypical black of a horror movie lake into a clear torquise blue by the shore, slowly melting into a deep dark blue as it get deeper.
So today was spent making to most of the sun, and enjoying the beauty of the lake.
In the afternoon, Patrick was so bored he drageed me off for a walk around the village to find some fish for dinner.
The whole way alone the lake edge and at random spots in the village, they were drying fish. I have never ever smelt something that could induce vomitting so quickly!!!
I had to hold my breath as we went past so that I did not vomit but Patrick did not seem to be bothered by the smell!!
The hunt for fresh fish, which had not been dried, was fruitless and we returned to camp emptyhanded.
A South African couple (Nick and Kerry) were at the camp, they are cycling from Tanzania home, we got talking to them and ended up cooking dinner for them too.
It was a great night, and all the talk started to make the SA's a bit homesick!
Not far to go now though.
Our camp under the Mango tree
The afternoon sun over Lake
Nov 29th ; I was very rudely awoken by a sudden torrential down pour around 4am today!!!! It took a few seconds to registe that it was rain hammering down on the tent, then a millisecind to realise that the table and chairs were out!!!
I have never got out of the tent so quickly EVER!!!
In the short time it took me to put the stuff in the car, I was soaked!!
I crawled back into bed, not very happy with life, and listened to the rain run its course.
Within 30 mins of the rain stopping everthing was dry and thre was blue sky and sunshine as far a the eye could see!
Glad the rain was not set in for the day, we packed up and moved on.
Patrick is desperate to get some carved wooden chairs to take hone, so we stopped at the craft stools just outside of Monkey Bay. Well niether of us have benn so disapointed with carvings as we were looking at these ones!! The wood was cracked and badly filled, you could not tell what animal the carvings were supposed to be and the prices were mad!!
Needless to say, we left without anything, and carried on the drive with both if us keeping out eues peeled for more stalls.
Inevitably, the purr of the engine slowly coaxed me to the world of slumber!! Just as I have drifted off Patrick shouts "oh there's some". I woke with a start to see 10 craft stalls lined up, most of them selling chairs!
Stopping "for a quick look", after nearly an hour, we came away with 2 large chairs!!
These stalls are about 10km's north of Zomba, I would reccommend going and having a look, they have got some really nice stuff.
With a very happy Patrick herded back to the car, before he filled it with more charis, we were off agian.
The drive up the escarpment to Plateau was stunning, with panoramic views on most of the turns.
Getting to the top, we were enticed into a Trout Farm Campsite, by the idea of fresh Trout for dinner.
After talking to the staff, Patrick was keen to get the fishing gear out and walk up the river to catch some dinner.
So kit in hand we wanfered up the path next ot the river, looking for a clearing big enough to use the fly rod. We walked and walked for nearly and hour and did not find a single clearing that was big enough!!!
Frustared with life, it was back to the camp to start dinner, minus the fresh Trout!!
Us on the friutless fishing trek!
Nov 30th ; Patrick was awake just before 5, keen to try his hand at fishing again. He was back within an hour, with a long face and no fish!!
We packed the car and started what would be a very slow drive down the escarpment - with the car being an automatic, it makes decending steep inclines very interesting!!!
Finally down in one piece we bumped into Nick and Kerry on their bikes!! They had just climbed the windey road to Zomba and were in need of some breakfast!!!
We were all planning to stay at the same camp tonight so we wished them good luck and left them to find some breakfast.
The drive to Blantyre was enchanting, we passed through small villages surrounded by their crops, which were just starting to push bright green shoots out of the red earth.
A we got closer to Blantyre, the crops truned into masses of Tobacco plantations as far as the eye could see!
Doddles was easy to find, so we booked in and went for a walk aorund town. We were in need of some fresh fruit and veg supplies and hoped to find a market in town.
Well, we found one!! It was like walking into a shanty town rather than a market!!! The stalls were cramed together so close I could just about get past them, there were people eating and cooking food everywhere and millions of children running around like headless chickens!!!
A quickly as humanly possible we got the hell out of there and retreated back to Doogle to recover over a cold beer!
Nick and Kerry arrived very worse for wear, but still in good spirits.
After we had dinner we cahtted to them for a bit and hit the sack.
Dec 1st ; It is monday morning and I have to do battle with the morning traffic to get to the Mozambiquan onsulate to try and get my visa.
We go to where the books say it is and the whole building is now a Zain building!! We are sent to the Sunbird Inn - they did not ahve a clue what we were talking about and sent us to the Old Mutual building next door.
The people in the Old Mutual building ignored me for a good 5 mins before they acknoledged I was there! Finaly I was told it had moved to some other building and was given directions.
Eventually we found the Consualte. They were very helpful and after paying MKW7920 and waiting for 20mins I walked out with my visa!!
And so started the trek to the border.
The raods were good and there was not too much traffic, the only problem was the weather - it poured with rain for most of the drive through the picturesque tea plantations at the base of Mt Mulanje!!!!
The border crossing was the easiest we have even done!!! We were stamped on both sides and driving again within 20mins!!!
With good dirts roads from the border, we made it to Macuba and checked into a hotel just as the sun was setting.
We had to take a hotel room because there was nowhere along the way to bushcamp and there are no camping faciltites in Macuba.
We were lucky to find a hotel which had secure off road parking!!!!!
Pooped ofter the drive we had dinner and crawled into bed for an early night.