Another painful 4.45am morning, tents down, back on the road. Another long drive day. Today we were driving through the last of Tanzania and across the Malawi border.
A few hours into the drive the truck gave up! So we had a roadside break for about half an hour while the driver and the boys fiddled about! We were stopped fairly near a school, it must have been break time as lots of them came by to stare at the mzungus!
We stopped for lunch in a small town shopping area. Bought some bread and some fruit (mangos and weird African peaches) from the little pavement market. Was good!!
Just outside of the border, we stopped to re-fuel. Apparently diesel in Malawi is expensive and rather sporadic. So 320 litres (and almost £300!) later, we were all set! We also met a pre-arranged money changer here at the petrol station, as again getting cash in Malawi – and at the border – is apparently a bit hit-and-miss. So a guy with a cardboard box rocks up! He had a pretty good rate, so all stocked up on some Malawian Kwetcha – very large sized notes!
We arrived at the Songwe border around 3pm. A quick stamp out of Tanzania, before we drove across the border!
Country number 3 – Malawi
Unlike most other African countries, Malawi is free to enter (for most!). Unfortunately the Swiss guy travelling with us hadn’t checked out the visa status and needed a visa in advance (no visas at the border!). However, fortunately after about an hour of waiting, they let him through. So we were back on our way. We also gain an hour here, with Malawi being an hour behind Tanzania.
Malawi is frequently described as the ‘warm heart of Africa’. Almost on arrival, it’s very clear why (and not just because it’s landlocked and fairly central – albeit it southerly – in Africa) – the people are so friendly. However, it is visibly poorer than Tanzania – the houses look more basic and much more sparsely dispersed, villages rather than towns. A lot of the land is flat with large areas of crop farming (rice and corn).
After a 3 hour drive South through Malawi, we arrived at our lake side/beach campsite in Chitimba at 6pm. This morning we left in the dark, now we have arrived in the dark!
Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa (after Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika) and the eight largest in the world. With a 29,600 square km surface area, it certainly is pretty large! Looking out from the beach, it may as well be ‘Ocean Malawi’.