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Published: October 24th 2008
Campsite Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi from Campsite
No water in the showers when we awoke so off for a dip in the lake to awaken us properly. It was not long before we were away back down the dusty road towards the tarmac highway to the border. This road was surrounded by well watered, dense farmland. Mostly bananas and vegetables but we also noticed lots of cocoa bushes with their rich brown fruit ready for picking.
Formalities at the border were reasonably fast and efficient and we were through in about an hour. Money changing was a novelty - we got 148 kwacha to the dollar at the Forex but, from the black market, one could get 155, or even better if you approached the really shifty looking guys who would probably fleece you of all your money by some sleight of hand!
There was hardly any traffic on the road south. It was fast and uninteresting and the only other traffic were bicycles by the myriad and pedestrians. To the west of us we had the distant wall of the Rift Valley which gradually converged with our road.
Where the two met we came to the Lake again with lovely looking sandy beaches seemingly
Campsite Lake Malawi
Campsite at Lake Malawi Lutheran Centre
unspoiled and very like what one would expect on the Indian Ocean - except of course there was no evidence of any tide. We had read about Livingstonia
, and the old Scottish Missionary establishment some 15 kms to our west which we were encouraged to visit.
The road was appalling. It wound up a near vertical mountainside via tortuous hairpin bends and near vertical drops to the side until we reached the plateau at the top. The Missionary site is now a university, along with a hospital, and there are some very old buildings where the early missionaries had lived which were of some interest. Otherwise, the view was rather disappointing (because of the haze) but we found some stunning jacaranda in full flower.
On our return down the mountain we stopped to look at a rather spectacular waterfall where a river falls some 700 metres in near vertical leaps and bounds. The walk to the site certainly concentrated the mind and we were very careful with our footwork! In the rainy season, when the river would be full, the sight of this waterfall would be most dramatic. The trees in the light forest on this hillside had
Lake Malawi fishing village
wonderful leaves of different colours - copper, dark red, some with yellow flowers - all very picturesque.
Rejoining the main road it now wound inland and after some 50 miles we arrive at the small town of Rumphi
, well inland from the Lake with one petrol station and various unexciting small shops along the main road it straddled. We were guided to an orphanage, clearly supported by overseas charity, which provided camping facilities for the likes of us against a small payment which went towards the charity.
All good stuff and we had adequate shower and loo facilities against a rather public site on which to camp. Nevertheless we had a good night, punctuated this time by the odd mosquito and braying donkeys nearby. What the poor animals were up to left much to the imagination.
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