Cape MacLear

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June 29th 2012
Published: September 30th 2012
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I got quite lucky, when I got back to Salima after leaving Senga Bay, as there was an Axa bus, which had come from Lilongwe going to Monkey Bay, at the station, waiting to pick up passengers. Even though I had to stand for the first part of the journey, this was a much better option, than the minibuses I had to take the previous day. We got to Monkey Bay just over 3 hours after leaving Salima and I was hopeful of spending the afternoon by the beach at Cape MacLear. I should know by now not to get my hopes up like this when relying on transport in Africa. Between waiting for a pick up to fill up, then go driving back and forth through the town looking for more passengers, getting all their luggage on and off the back of the pick up, I didn't arrive in Cape MacLear until 3 and half hours after getting into Monkey Bay, despite the fact that they are only 18km apart.

I checked into a lovely spot called Malambe Camp, which is right on the beach and is perfectly chilled out. I was there just in time for a quick swim before sunset. Bizarrely, I bumped into Brandon, who I had couchsurfed several months previously in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He was staying at the same camp as me. It is fair to say that the vibe in Cape MacLear and Hargeisa is fairly different! We watched the semi final between Italy and Germany in the Euros, but it was fairly quiet so I had an early night.

I had been lead to believe that Cape MacLear was a very touristy, party place, but the few days I spent there were very quiet, even though it was a weekend. I spent most of my days reading and swimming on the beach, then going for a walk through the village. The village is very basic, but unlike what I had been lead to believe, was full of locals living on the main street, with their various stalls set up outside. Malawi is significantly cheaper than its neighbouring countries. A bottle of beer generally costs less than a Euro and one day I got a lunch of fried sweet potatoes with salad for 130 Kwacha (€0.34), which was really filling. The Malawian people are also exceptionally friendly, living up to the country's title as the 'Warm Heart of Africa'.

It is easy to see why Cape MacLear is so popular with tourists and I would say if there is enough people in town, there are quite a few parties. Having had a lot of beach and chill out time already in Malawi, I decided to move on after a couple of days, with my last night there spent playing a Malawian board game called Bawo, which pretty much involves moving stones around a board until someone's row is clear and the other person wins. It was definitely a sign to move on.

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