We’ve entered Malawi early in the morning through Mulangi border-post, putting Mozambique behind us and the first of Africa’s great lakes in front.
We pushed to Blantyre to meet Graham, a good friend of mine. He and his family took in our dirty group of Nomads and made us feel at home. They also gave us great advice on where to visit in Malawi and how to make blindingly potent home distilled moonshine.
While in Blantyre we were approached by an elderly lady who just happened to be the principle of a primary school. She invited us to speak to her learners and share with them the details our trip, the archaeology and geography of Africa, as well as the understated topic of sustainability in Malawi.
After a few days of recuperation in Blantyre we traveled up the beautiful Zomba Plateau for a beer and then on wards to Cape Mclear, located on the southern edge of Lake Malawi. We went on a boat trip to see the neighboring National Park/World Heritage Site, an unspoiled haven in a over exploited land. Lake Malawi offered us the opportunity for diving and snorkeling with the +/-1000 different species of Cichlid (endemic fish to lake Malawi) and feeding fish eagles along the shores of the great lake.
At cape McLear some mechanical issues rose (Mikes battery and my front fork seals) so, we decided to go to Lilongwe, which is the capital city in Malawi with possibilities of getting Mike a new motorcycle battery. On the way back from retrieving Mikes battery he was cut off by a car and had a small to moderate motorcycle accident, luckily the motorcycle (and Mike) pulled through with minimum damage. With the assistance of Istene’s needlework, some welding and plasters all was fixed. My mother heard of our position in Malawi and decided to fly up with my step father to join our journey for a few days. But first I had to rebuild my front shocks, the fork seal had collapsed and the fork oil was leaking. This took the greater part of the morning before we once again got on the road.
Before leaving we bumped into other adventurers on their way back to South Africa after climbing the five highest mountains in Africa. Team Tane took the time to point out some of the best places to see in East Africa and pose their Suzuki Jimmy with our bikes and little Suzuki Samurai.
We convoyed to Senga Bay to a lovely place called Cool Runnings. Our crew had now grown by my parents rental car.
After a lovely evening we made our way North to Kande Beach, run by Skanky, an old overland legend we met in Lilongwe.
Our next slice of Malawi paradise came in the destination of Nkata Bay at the lovely eco-friendly Mayoka Village, which is set on a hillside overlooking the majestic Lake Malawi with its’ crystal clear waters.
After a few days in paradise we made our way to an remote location, inaccessible except by boat or a 25 km hike from the nearest village. We did the hike.
After 20 km of flat hiking the mountains began, scorchingly challenging due to the steadily increasing Central African temperature. Luckily when we arrived at the remote Zulunkhuni, there was a clear water lake to soak in at the end of a hard days hike.
We followed the stream next to the lodge up to a waterfall we had heard about. Another opportunity for a great hike in the African sun.
We found an epic little cave with ceramic shards scattered around, thus, making it an archaeological site. We tried to document the decorated ceramic (as seen above) for future reference & identification as well as the coordinates to locate the site again in the future. There were also stone tool scatters surrounding the cave, which indicate the presence of forager/bushman communities, whereas the ceramic would have come from a Bantu source.
After two days at this remote location we caught the Lilala ferry that comes to the nearest isolated village once a week, saving us the 25 km walk back home. From Usisya Bay we traveled to the small village of Livingstonia up a large mountain, where we located the permaculture paradise eco-lodge named The Mushroom Farm.
Mushroom Farm is an absolute must to see in Malawi, lovely staff, incredible food, amazing views, yoga, good wifi and happy days to be had. They also engage with the local communities by selling the local woman’s crafts and employing the local villages men as tour guides to the nearby waterfall.
Malawi is not called the warm heart of Africa for no reason, there are a multitude of amazing people and places to see. This accompanied by one of Africa’s cleanest and clearest Great Lakes’ creates a formula for one of the best locations in Africa for an incredible getaway.
& The Nitty Gritty Nomads