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.
The road to Nkhata Bay brought us through Mzuzu, a large town with a South African supermarket. What wonders that store held! Not only was I able to purchase conditioner after going without for the last month, but there were even hot, fresh sausage rolls. As we devoured our treats outside the store, pastry flying everywhere and sticking to our faces, a man came to us and asked, “Is this a Christmas party?” A confusing conversation ensued and it turns out that the only reason you would be standing while eating/eating at 10:30am would be because you were at a Christmas party. I’m still a little confused!
Whilst staying by the lake in Chitimba we had planned to make the trip up to the old Scottish mission town of Livingstonia in the hills above. We considered leaving our packs at the base and maybe spending just one night up there. After hearing several rave reviews from fellow travelers on their way down, we were also told by a friendly South African couple “Take your packs and go to Mushroom Farm… It’s a special place, you won’t want to leave.” Here we are a full seven nights later, very reluctantly leaving the most relaxing place in Africa…