Day 298, Sunday 28 October 2012 – Kande Beach, Malawi
I had another great sleep, that is two in a row, it cannot last. It was of course ruined by the need to be up at 5:00 to continue yesterdays attempt to make Lake Malawi. We are getting good at early mornings now and everything was cuffed and stuffed and we were all on the truck well before the 6:00 am departure.
We reached the Zambia/Malawi border at 6:45, it was a long process again as there was only one person working in immigration in each country. We got held up for an hour on the Malawi side waiting for the insurance paperwork for the truck. It was a Sunday so nothing was happening fast, TIA – this is Africa.
We were taking a new route to Kande Beach on Lake Malawi, Will had been talking to some Malawians at Wildlife Camp and they suggested a route that avoided a massive dogleg through the town of LLongwe. The new route was on a very good road and I knocked off a couple of emails on the phone in the (ultimately futile) hope of having wifi at Kande Beach.
We stopped for a roadside lunch and I mooched around and I wandered off and took a couple of photos. I need to do spend some time doing some stuff on my own I think, it has been too long since I had some decent solo time. Much as I moaned about it in the past I think I have gotten used to being able to spend time by myself. I missed myself !
We were about an hour and a half from the camp site when we stopped for lunch at mid-day, however the afternoon really did turn to custard for a couple of hours. About an hour after lunch I was dozing away in the truck when there was a massive bang from under my seat and the sound of a tyre thrashing itself to death on the underside of the truck – rear tyre blow out! Will took a very slow approach to pulling the truck over to the side of the road and we stopped safely. He is a very safe and capable driver, I have massive respect for his abilities.
The tyre blow attracted a massive amount of local attention, especially from the kids – I counted 41 of them at the end, they were very friendly and posed for loads of photos for the strange white folk standing on the road side. I snapped a couple but helped out where I could with the tyre change. The kids love pulling marshall arts poses.
We stole some bricks from this deserted building to use for chocks.
The tyre was really shredded and did a bit of damage to the rear mud guard and a storage cage behind it, the tap from the drinking water tank was completely missing.
It took three quarters of an hour to change the tyre as well as bash the guard out and get back on the road.
We were soon back on the road and well down the sandy, bumpy road to the lake side when we had to take a long way around an ambulance parked in the middle of the road, as we were negotiating a ninety degree bend the front tyre dropped into a small ditch in the sand and we were stuck!
This of course attracted lots of local attention again and we had loads more kids and quite a few adults watching the action. The Malawians were lovely, very friendly and chatty, very keen to practice their already good English and learn about where we are from.
The taller girl took a shine to Leonie and wanted a photo of just the two of them, the smaller child had other ideas.
Once out of the sand we were a further ten minutes to our campsite for the next two nights at Kande Beach on Lake Malawi. Lake Malawi is the second biggest lake in Africa – after Lake Victoria, and the ninth biggest in the world. It was windy when we arrived so the lake was quite choppy, it didn’t stop me from getting straight into my swimmers and jumping in the lake, it was nice to get the dirt and dust off from changing the tyre. The lake temperature is around 27 c all year round, so it was like jumping into a warm bath.
The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging about – in my case drinking beer either by the lake or in my room with my computer until dinner time, we had a prepared dinner in the campground cafe for a bit of variety from the normal camp dinner. I had a vege pizza, I loved it – very similar to how I make pizza at home – maybe without the peas though ! Ebron (our cook) and I left the dinner as soon as we finished eating to go and watch Chelsea v Manchester United in the bar. It was a noisy crowd and good fun watching some decent football.
The evening and night was then spent on the lake side drinking G and T’s with Leonie, Ewa and Simon (the young couple) until we went down to the beach for a while and someone took my jandals from where I left them in the bar. Apart from that, it was a good night – the latest I have stayed up since the trip started – 12:30 am – wahoo, finally made it past midnight.