A large elephant emerged from behind one of the chalets. We heard one of the owners of the South Luangwa lodge we were staying at say “Oh, this elephant is quite unconventional, stay still. Don’t move!” From our seat on the very edge of the patio we watched silently as the elephant moved toward us. As it stopped in front of us the scale was apparent. It’s head was larger than our head and torso combined with tusks stretching on for what felt like forever. I stayed frozen as the huge beast sniffed all over Leckie, brushing its trunk against his arm. Then, knocking Leckie’s wine glass over, it moved on to me. My heart pounded as it sniffed me and I closed my eyes to quell a moment of panic.
I’m not going to lie. We drank A LOT of beer in Tanzania, especially on the beaches of Zanzibar. I almost feel overqualified for this review thinking back on it. The fact that we spent a couple of weeks in a beautiful, sunny, island paradise made them go down easy, and the fact they were cheap every night during the 2014 World Cup games certainly didn’t stop them flowing.
Travelling from Cape Maclear to Dedza was quite a challenge despite the relatively short distance seperating the two. With no regular public transport between them we once again resorted to the ancient art of hitchhiking. Unfortunately the first four cars to pass us were other white travellers, and even though three out of four had empty seats, they turned us down because they were ‘full’ or simply tried to ignore us as they slowly drove past us at the crossroads. Thankfully car number five was a Malawian with an empty ute tray. No problems.
My what a trip! Nkhotakota to Cape Maclear is probably the most challenging journey we’ve completed to date, but was not entirely unenjoyable. In fact, the first minivan (share taxi, often with 24 people or so in its 11 seats), to Salima, was a great time.
There are so many times when driving through Africa on public transport that you fly past things you would love to stop and take a photo of but can’t. The drive to Nkhotakota had some real treasures. The men sprinting out of the rubber plantations trying to sell human head sized rubber balls which they bounced at the car. The signs for Tom and Jelly Daycare, and a Prumbing Speciarist (Malawians often mix-up their R’s and L’s). The world’s worst Rambo painting on a DVD shop, and the world’s best Randy Rhoads shirt. Even the ‘Kanye River’, which I would have really quite liked to have sullied. The road to Nkhotakota was yet another interesting journey to yet another special place in Malawi.