Malawi
Fukamapiri

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10 travelers at this place:

  • Day37

    Kande Camp

    December 31, 2019 in Malawi ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Chui shudders to a halt. We're here, at our New Year's Eve campsite. We're here for 2 nights. Jemma, our tour leader, comes up the steps and opens the back door. "we're the only ones here" sez she. "ah" I think to myself "chance of an upgrade, then" I'm really going off camping now, due to the rain and the humidity at night. We go to reception and a beach cabin costing 7 €uro a night is mine. OK, it ain't the Ritz but it's not a tent and has a big fan blowing delicious cool air all over me. It also almost on the beachside itself. Perfecto.

    I get myself ready, bring my night bag to the hut and have a snooze until around 5ish. I consider having a shower but decide against. I had one earlier today so not too whiffy. At least, no more so than the others. Ramble around the camp and along the beach so get a sense of the place. Really nice relaxed place. I notice a whole suckling pig being spit-roasted over a charcoal fire. It even has an orange in its mouth. It looks delicious. I push my vegetarian consciousness deep. I chat with the guys cooking and buy them a beer.

    At 6pm we all meet with Jemma, our tour leader. She tells us how the evening will pan out. Herself and Often, our driver, are cooking a New Year's Eve dinner for us. It too looks delicious.

    But first, to kick off the evening, we have a fancy show. Yesterday, we were invited to pick a piece of paper out of a brown. On it was written the name of one of our fellow travellers. We were invited not to divulge that name but to buy some fancy dress at today's lunch stop. Today, we would buy that fancy dress. I chose a blue art deco style dress for a woman. To tell the truth, I wouldn't mind wearing it myself. It looked very me!

    We go around in a circle and present the surprise to the person we had bought for. It's great fun. I am presented with a brown shapeless dress whick would have easily fitted a 600lb mom, with room to spare for a weeks shopping. It is topped off with a shapeless scarecrow type hat. Not the height of elegance. It's a great laugh.

    Then the call to dinner and what a spread is laid on for us. The spit roasted suckling pig is the piece de resistance and there are many other dishes. All this is cooked on 2 gas burners. Silence reigns as we tuck in and go back for seconds. The roast pig is delicious. One of the local guys who cooked it said he started cooking it at 8sm this morning so it was on the go for 11 hrs.

    In the meanwhile, most of the others make a huge bowl of pretty lethal looking punch based on the number of bottles of gin and vodka poured into it. It's really fruit flavoured neat gin and vodka mix. Then they get stuck in and start to get slightly sozzled, leading to great craic.

    After dinner, the party drinking games start and 'never have I ever; starts. I bow out and go to made some phonecalls to friends and family back home. I rejoin the group an hour or so later and the volume has increased in direct proportion to the wideness of the grins. All great gas.

    A new game starts. An empty giant cornflake box is put on the ground and you are invited, in turn, to bend down and pick it up with your teeth. Then you tear a strip off the top to make the box a bit smaller for the next person. And so on, tfe box getting smaller and smaller all the time. The older ones start to drop out; I get around halfway through and feel quite proud of that. Near the end, the ones with the elastic hips and flexible knees won the day. It was really enjoyable.

    Then a lull. It's about 1015pm and we retire to the bar where a New Year's Eve party is in progress. We stay there until midnight and count the New Year in with a fireworks display. We all hug each other and stand around chatting. I keep a weather eye open, as always, for lively lads of my particular persuasion. Alas, my gaydar stays silent all night and doesn't even ping once.

    A local guy starts chatting to me and I welcome having contact with an African person to learn more about his culture and world view. He had some contact in the past with Irish people and knows some of the Irish expressions. I engage with him. He starts to tell me a story about his difficult family circumstances and how he wants to study to be a kindergarten teacher but has to support his family and could not pay the fees. He says he has a little shop where he sells his art and carvings and would like me to visit.

    I have heard this story, or various versions of it, before. It's all a ruse to get me into his shop where he will sell me overpriced rat I can buy all over Africa. I'm disappointed but also understand the economic imperatives at play here. I make a vague promise and move on.

    I hang around until 12:30am-ish and then head off to bed. I read for 39muns and then to sleep, perchance to dream.
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  • Day38

    Another Day, Another Decade

    January 1 in Malawi ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    I wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with a slight sense of satisfaction at the schadenfreude to come as my travelling buddies stumble around, later on, with hangovers from the excesses of the previous night. But I won't be smug and and I probably won't tell them.

    All this goes out of my mind when I put my nose outside my cabin to find the weather stiflingly hot and humid with not a puff of wind. I go down and made some coffee and have some cereal and then retreat back to my cabin to take refuge from the heat and sit in front of a coolish blast of air from the fan in my bedroom. It is 7:30am!

    I venture out again a few hours later and, although it just as hot, if not hotter, a slight wind is present and it's less humid. Bearable to walk around, but not for great distances; no more than 50 metres or so for someone as unfit and heat-adverse as myself. Luckily, everything is within range.

    Today is one of those days where I really do nothing in the company of others doing the same. There's a certain sense of lassitude about the pkace and very few people around. I think most are sleeping off hangovers. Down, schadenfreude, down; bad dog.

    I use the day trying to assimilate all that's happened to me during the past month. A lot has happened. Ireland seems a long was away now and I'm just a third of the way into my trip. I sometimes wonder if I'll be able to complete the trip but then think I just have to yo keep on doing what I'm going and I'll be grand. Pacing myself is the key so days like today are really important..

    Overland expedition travel is such an intense way of life and very demanding on so many levels. The benefits greatly outweigh the cost though. Because of the sensory overload, it can be difficult to assimilate all the new stimulating and exciting things we see and experience. I find myself forgetting what I did a few days ago. It like a totL amnesia. And no, it's not a senior moment thing. The young 'uns have it too. I think it's just the vast amount of new data our brains have to process. I find writing this blog very helpful as does organising my photos into folders so I can review them later.

    I notice some strange clouds on the horizon. They are dark and move it a way I don't recognise as cloud movement. They also seem thick at the bottom and wispy near the top. Somebody mention that they are Lake Flies; billions of tiny flies swirling around.

    Lake Malawi is famous for the huge swarms of these tiny, harmless lake flies,  Chaoborus  edulis. These swarms, typically appearing far out over water, can be mistaken for plumes of smoke and were also noticed by David Livingstone when he visited the lake. 

    The aquatic larvae feed on zooplankton, spending the day at the bottom and the night in the upper water levels. When they pupate they float to the surface and transform into adult flies. The adults are very short-lived and the swarms, which can be several hundred meters tall and often have a spiraling shape, are part of their mating behavior.  They lay their eggs at the water's surface and the adults die. 

    The larvae are an important food source for fish, and the adult flies are important both to birds and local people, who collect them to make kungu cakes/burgers, a local delicacy with a very high protein. I though that burger I had last night tasted a bit strange.

    Having a dip in Lake Malawi looks a very good option but there's a nasty parasite in the water. It causes a disease called bilharzia, also known as schistosomiasis or snail fever.

    Bilharzia is a disease caused by parasitic flatworms called schistosomes. The parasites are carried by freshwater snails, and humans can become infected after direct contact with contaminated bodies of water including ponds, lakes and irrigation canals.

    There are several different types of Schistosoma parasite, each of which affects different internal organs. Although the disease is not immediately fatal, if untreated it can lead to extensive internal damage and ultimately, death.

    Lakes and canals initially become contaminated after humans with bilharzia urinate or defecate in them. Schistosoma eggs pass from the infected human into the water, where they hatch, then use freshwater snails as a host for reproduction. The resulting larvae are then released into the water, after which they can be absorbed through the skin of humans that come to the water to bathe, swim, wash clothes or fish. 

    The larvae then develop into adults that live in the bloodstream, enabling them to travel around the body and infect organs including the lungs, liver, and intestines. After several weeks, the adult parasites mate and produce more eggs. It is possible to contract bilharzia through drinking untreated water; however, the disease is not contagious and can't be passed from one human to another.

    So, no swims in Lake Malawi.

    The beach is empty for most of the morning and early afternoon. Then hundreds of locals come and party in their exhuberent African fashion, it's unusual seeing a beach where everyone in black. Even in Thailand, most people there were of European heritages. We are worried that the thumpa thumpa might go on all night but I don't hear a thing from my cabin.

    We're off early tomorrow morning. From here we continue on to the capital Lilongwe in the south of the country.

    Happy New Year to you all.
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  • Day325

    Tag 35 - 37: Lake Malawi

    June 24, 2019 in Malawi ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Mer händ drü nächt uf ehmene Campingplatz am See verbrocht und händ chönne mache was mer wänd.

    Ich bi am erste Tag uf ehn Tour dors Dorf wos üs viel über s Läbe und Kultur vo de Lüüt do verzellt händ. Mer händ de Brunne, d Schuel unds "Spital" ahgluegt. De Fakt, dass sowohl s Spital als au d Schuel werklich um jedi Form vo Spänd bitte händ, (also au Stifte, Moslitonetz oder übrig bliibnigi Malariapille) hed üs no meh zeigt wie fest sie tatsächlich uf Hilf ahgwiese sind.

    Am Nomittag hämmer es Ruederboot gmieted und sind zu de chline Insle diräkt vor ehm Campingplatz paddled. Det simmer im Lake Malawi (de See mit de wältwiit grösste population ah tropische Fisch ih Süesseasser) go schnorchle.

    De zwoiti Tag han ich nüt gmacht. Ich bi nor ih de Hängematte gläge, ha gläse bi chli go schwimme und ha mit de Lüüt gredt. Ich ha mer au no es Bild loh zeichne vo de Lüüt wo üs amVortag dors Dorf gfüehrt händ - das esch es tollsSä Souvenir und ged de Iheimische gliichziitig es Ihkomme.
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  • Day29

    Kande Beach Resort

    July 7, 2017 in Malawi ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    We arrived at Kande Beach Resort at about 1:00pm so that left us plenty of time to explore after we had checked in. I decided to upgrade again as the price was very reasonable for a beach front room as you can see in the photos the room is average but the view is beautiful - we are lucky enough to be staying here for two nights.

    Carrie and I had taken a liking to skirts that one of the girls on our other tour was working, we asked her where she got them and this was the place! We had been looking forward to this for a couple weeks.

    After lunch we got some directions from Hesbon our tour manager and started making our way to the village shops. Hesbon said as we were leaving 'don't worry you will find plenty of friends' we didn't quite understand this until we walked out the gate of the resort and we were met by about three men. The three men weren't trying to sell us anything, they were simply asking us our name, what we did for work, how big our family was, where we came from etc. I felt like they were taking the opportunity to talk to a 'mozuma' and find out how we lived, they were just as interested in us as we were in them.

    We continued walking with one of the males Shud who was studying as well as an artist with his own Malawian hip hop band, he invited us to the local pub that night to come watch him - we told him we would think about it. He continued to walk with us quite a while just making general conversation before stopping and leaving us to walk alone. The walk to the village shops was about 2.5km long and took about half an hour to walk, the path took us through the village, crops and a forrest.

    We were greeted by a man named James as we reached the shops, he asked us what we wanted - we explained to him that we were after material and a dress maker. He immediately showed us to a store with material, we found one each that we liked but we wanted two skirts each made so he took us to another store where we found another pattern each that we liked. What I liked was that there was no 'tourist price' or bullshit they told us the price and it was cheaper than what we had been told by our guides to pay. Once we bought the material James then took us to a dress maker who was sitting underneath a veranda of a shop on the side of the road with his singer sewing machine, James acted as a translator and explained to him what we were after.

    We then began walking back to Kande Beach Resort. Along the way many people, young and old spoke to us - everyone was so welcoming and friendly. It was great to be able to walk through the village, seeing the way that they live and speaking to the locals - a lot better than just driving past in the truck.

    That night I had an ant infestation in my bed, I went to sleep at about 12:00am and woke up at 1:30am in a sea of ants. I tried everything (even stripping the bed) to get rid of them but they just wouldn't budge so at 4:00am I am calling mum because I am in pain from the bites and emotional. The next morning they ended up moving us into a different room.

    The next day, after lunch Carrie and I went for a walk with Chris, Vig, Archana and Nicole to pick up our skirts. We wernt walking for long before Shud and James began walking with us again, they told us that they enjoyed walking with us because it gave them a chance to practice their English. The skirts had to be altered slightly so Shud and James took us for a walk about a kilometre down the road to a wood carving and painting stand on the side of the road. I ended up buying a bowl with the big five carved into the side of it, it was nice because they didn't hassle us and we were able to look.

    We walked back and the skirts weren't ready yet so we were taken to a local pub to have a beer. The pub literally had a few wooden benches, speakers, one fridge, television and a pool table.

    Our skirts were ready and they are just what we wanted! James began walking us back but at about half way he introduced us to his uncle William who walked with us the remainder of the way. Along the way we spoke to several children, one group showed us their soccer ball which was made out of a condom, plastic bag and string (very creative).

    This has been one of my favourite places to explore, majority of the places we have stayed we haven't been able to leave the resorts or camp grounds as it isn't safe for us. It was nice to be able to go out on our own, socialise with the locals, getting an understanding of the way they live and their culture.
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  • Day365

    MALAWI

    March 30, 2018 in Malawi ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    After another long day drive from Zanzibar and a overnight stop we crossed the border into Malawi and arrived at our campsite in Kande beach on the edge of Lake Malawi! We thought we would posh it up somewhat and paid for an upgrade from our tent to a beach front cabin for $10/night each.
    Most of the time here was spent relaxing, playing football on the beach and swimming in the lake. Our guide Wilson made us a alcoholic punch in the first night and we spent it chatting around a camp fire on the beach!
    The next day was another highlight for us on the trip, but was also very eye opening. We took a guided tour around the local village next to our campsite. Initially they tried to sell us stuff which was a bit annoying but when we got to the village they left us well alone. We met all the local children, they were so excited to see us and just wanted to hold our hand and walk with us. As 'payment' they just wanted to borrow our sunglasses, get their photos or videos taken and look back at them on our phone screens which amazed them. The concept of a touch screen meant I had about 6 children around me at one point all trying to play with my phone.
    It was also quite a sad visit, we went to the school where we learnt that usually there was 100 children/teacher. The small school had 1000 pupils in total and very little equipment mostly relying on donations for books, paper and pencils. We were told by our guide to ask before giving the children anything. When one child asked for our 2 litre plastic bottle we didn't know why, but we found out it was just so he could take enough water to school for the day. As the nearest water pump was over half a mile from the school. When we gave it to him a fight broke out between the children all trying to get the bottle off him so they could have it for themselves.
    We visited the local health centre (nothing like ours at home) which services 4000 people. At which there was not a single doctor, but a few health assistants (we think nurses) and if they needed any other healthcare they had to go the the regional health centre over 20km away, obviously none of these people had cars and the ambulances wouldn't normally do anything other than emergencies so they had to somehow get there themselves.
    That night we were cooked a local meal in the village, at the only house with electricity, which cut off after 10 minutes. Then the school children have us a display of African dancing and singing which we had to join in with. They were far better then any of us!!
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  • Day37

    Chitimba to Kande - New Year's Eve

    December 31, 2019 in Malawi ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    I had a slow build up of tiredness through the longterm camping experience that started causing me to do clumsy things like flood my tent by tipping over a water bottle. I also woke up with my tent filled with tiny insects again and had to brush them out before I packed up my tent. The insect populations are very dense by lake Malawi with dozens of bees buzzing around the honey on my breakfast pancakes, ants everywhere and large moths of all possible varieties sheltering on available surfaces. As we left the campsite, waving goodbye to the children who ran after the truck, we headed up into the hills and saw the huge plumes of lake flies rising like living smoke, in their billions, above the sunlit lake.
    We had fantastic views across the forested hills as we climbed. We passed small villages and towns with vibrant markets which are always a riot of colour and activity. We stopped by a shopping mall in a local town to buy lunch and some fancy dress clothes for the New Year's celebrations that evening. The clothes were arrayed on nearby stalls and sold by funny and characterful young men which made it a fun experience. We headed on through more green hills and a large rubber plantation where young boys were selling large balls made of rubber bands. We arrived on the shores of Lake Malawi who's extensive coastline we had been following for the entire journey, and found ourselves in a beautiful campsite on a long golden beach with a small island just off shore. Lake Malawi has the 4th largest volume of any fresh water lake in the world and is over 700 metres deep at its deepest. It is fed by many rivers and over spills at one end to help form the great Zambezi river that we will witness spectacularly at Victoria falls. I booked a single cabin at the campsite with a view onto the beach which would be a welcome relief from the miserable camping experience the previous night. As I settled in to my bamboo wood and tin rooved cabin, a large rainstorm passed over beating a heavy and persistent rhythm with large rain drops on the roof. After the storm, I walked out onto the beach to take in a lovely golden sunset over the deep blue far hills with the stormy clouds providing an impressive backdrop.
    Next it was time to begin the New Year's Eve celebrations with my fellow travellers and welcome in a new decade. We had a nice meal, involving a hog roast, which I passed on in favour of some vegetarian sausages, roasted cabbage, vegetables garlic bread. Punch was made and everyone got drunk very quickly on that. Drunken games were played with much hilarity, until we walked over to the campsite bar to wait and see in the New Year. As midnight struck, fireworks were set off into the dark skies from the sand as distant pink lightning lit up the horizon, reflecting in Lake Malawi's calm waters. As is usual, everyone hugged everyone including local people who had joined the party. I had some funny banter with local young men who follow Premier League football. The celebrations continued until the early hours until I retired to bed to face the inevitable hangover the following day.
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  • Day38

    New Year's Day in Kande

    January 1 in Malawi ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    I woke up early at 6am and decided to go out onto the beach to watch the sun rising before my hangover began in earnest. It was a beautiful view of the beach with a bright yellow sun slowly inching its way into a hazy morning sky. I retired to the veranda of the cabin to do some more writing. I then walked over to the Oasis Overland truck to get some light breakfast and returned to my cabin to sleep off some of my hangover and woke up 4 hours later at mid-day. I skipped lunch and spent the afternoon trying to keep as cool as possible away from the blistering heat of the day by sitting in the shade. I did go down to the beach to take some photos of the huge lake fly plumes rising above the lake looking like an insect tornado, but I didn't last very long and retreated to the shade again. Later in the day the weather began to cool and thousands of local people filled the beach and many started to take boats out to the nearby island. There was a big party atmosphere for New Year's day and local bars were pumping out heavy beats across the beach. The sun set behind the far hills and a blue-gray dusk settled across the beach contrasting with the pale yellow sands retaining the last of the light. The sky turned shades of pink and orange before darkness descended on the revellers.Read more

  • Day39

    Kande to Mabuya near Lilongwe, Milawi

    January 2 in Malawi ⋅ 🌧 23 °C

    The night was long, hot and disturbed - I woke up in the early hours with my mind turning over and with a tangle of thoughts and experiences preventing any further sleep. I therefore got up early, had some light breakfast and walked out onto the beach, where the troubled skies with dark storms and emerging clouds of lake flies seemed to match my mood.
    Some people say that travelling is an escape from the problems in your life. However, my experience on this journey has been the opposite - that the multifarious experiences of travel are more like a reflective lens that focusses a light as intense and unforgiving as the African sun on the issues in your life. Without the shade of rest and sleep you can easily get burned. All your feelings and emotions are magnified and expanded like the great African plains where your thoughts wander like herds of wildebeest and zebra, often falling prey to loneliness, exhilaration, hope, pain, loss, wonder, happiness, misery. All your emotions reach a high pitch, resonating in rhythm with the epic scenery, which can be intoxicating but also unbearable.
    We boarded the truck once again and headed back along the tree lined track up to the main road with the branches of trees crashing through the open windows of the truck and causing us all to duck down to avoid a swipe from a tree branch. Insects and even a small tree frog were momentarily stranded on the truck and had to be returned to their natural habitat.
    We headed out into the green and lush countryside with tree filled, misty mountains rising up above the road. We followed the lake again, up into highlands with expansive views up to the mountains that lined the road for many miles. At certain points the landscape opened out into huge plains leading all the way to dark, distant mountains.
    We arrived in Malawi's capital city, Lilongwe, around mid-afternoon and were shopping for food for our evening dinner when a huge thunderstorm hit the city and torrential rain came down flooding the streets. Suffice to say, we got drenched running back to the truck and then got caught in the Lilongwe rush hour. Once again, the weather reflected my own mood and I began to wonder if I was sickening for something.
    We finally arrived at a very wet campsite in pouring rain and there was little choice but to upgrade to a room as the campsite was flooded. I continued to feel tired and miserable, and after dinner I retired to bed for an early night with the rain still bearing down. I managed to go to sleep quickly, but had many, now forgotten, dreams of Africa as if the large African raindrops were somehow seeping into my soul.
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