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Published: February 8th 2019
Arriving in Dedza by private taxi was great. If you are ever in Malawi and need a long distance taxi, give Ashraf a call.
You won't regret it. We felt relaxed and comfortable, but our poor driver was bemoaning the state of the track from the main road to the pottery gates. You really would have thought that someone would try to improve the infrastructure to such a great, and popular place.
Our room at Dedza Pottery and Lodge
was kind of ready when we arrived. We've become quite used to arguing to get a second towel and then having to dry them out because they were still damp. It seems to be the norm in Malawi. The rooms are lovely with terrific views over the countryside from private verandas. The pottery itself produces some lovely pieces and we did end up buying a souvenir although they didn't have the plate we wanted, and wouldn't give us one from the kitchen which is where we saw it in the first place! It's possible to do a tour of the pottery if you are interested, but we were happy just to browse in the showroom. The restaurant is good too and, if you order your food in advance,
their timekeeping isn't too bad by Malawi standards either. The goat stew was delicious but the jury was out when it came to their famous cheesecake.
After settling in, we went for a walk to the town of Dedza. That involved 1.4km along the dirt track our taxi had come along, and then 3.5km of tarmac into town. We say town, but there's not a lot to it. It's not quite "blink and you'll miss is" but it's not far off. Along the way there were some stunning views of huge rock formations and beautiful countryside. Finding somewhere for lunch was challenging but we did eventually get some rice, beef and beans for about a dollar in a shack full of people. We actually had to wait for a table! The main purpose of our walk into town was to find the bus station, which you could easily miss. Axa Coach Company
sold us a ticket to Blantyre and assured us it would be a big bus with no changes along the way. We have become quite suspicious of such promises! Before heading back to the lodge we had a look at some of the old colonial houses and were thankful
that we didn't choose the hotel we popped into. It seemed so unfriendly! A tuk tuk delivered us safely back to the lodge and we then sat on our veranda watching the clouds descend as the sky blackened and our view disappeared - and then the heavens opened! Add to the bucketfuls of rain pouring from the sky a swarm of flying termites, and we were pleased to be able to eat inside the restaurant rather than outside on their terrace. An hour or so after emerging, they lose their wings and the ground is teeming with termites making their way back to the earth, but leaving behind a carpet of discarded wings. Weird!!
The next day the sky looked threatening from the very beginning. We were going to take a trip to view the nearby rock paintings but at $39 per person, plus the entrance fee, we felt it was cost prohibitive, especially as the weather conditions didn't look favourable for clambering over rocks trying to catch a glimpse of some ancient artwork. We decided to walk out into the countryside and were rewarded with a beautiful stroll. friendly smiles and hellos, and many very Malawian sights. Seeing
the women carrying huge loads of branches on their heads is difficult, especially as the men seem not to undertake this arduous task at all. After about an hour we were getting concerned by just how black the sky was getting and we made it back just as the first spots of rain started to fall. A very relaxing afternoon was then enforced upon us, but that's not a bad thing.
The power went off at about 8pm and didn't return until around the time we were checking out. We've learned to keep everything fully charged whenever you have the opportunity. The lodge manager had arranged for a taxi to come out and take us to the bus station. When it arrived it was clearly just one of his mates looking to make a few extra dollars. 2km along the road he ran out of petrol and told us we would have to walk the rest of the way. He still wanted paying for the portion of the journey he had made though, and by then it was raining so we were pretty cranky and refused to give him anything. He wasn't happy, but then neither were we! We
managed to flag down a tuk tuk and before long we were waiting at the Axa office for the promised bus. We were there very early and anticipated quite a wait. We won't spoil the surprise by telling you what happened until next time!!!!
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