Entering Malawi

Chitimba Travel Blog

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Giraffe by the side of the road
We had a new truck for the rest of the trip.  It had been delivered to Dar es Salaam whilst we were on Zanzibar.  This one had forward facing seats, arranged in pairs with an aisle down the middle.  It was a little less sociable but we all preferred this design as it was more comfortable and it was easier to see over the sides of the truck.

From Dar es Salaam we had two days of driving to get to Malawi.  The first campsite we stopped at had no electricity but did have what were supposed to be the best long drop toilets of the whole trip...  We also had dinner cooked for us and we finished this off with a brownie and hot chocolate with Amarilo. The next days drive also passed without incident and we bought food from a roadside market along the way.
Trying to sell us fruit
  It was good fun haggling and we would get more and more experience of this.

Just after crossing the Malawi border we experienced the corruption the is rife throughout so much of Africa.  Our driver was prosecuted for not having enough reflective material on the truck and had to pay 3000 Kwacha ($US20).  He also paid the same fine for a French family who had also been pulled over but had no money to pay the police, who simply told them they could not go on.  This meant they were stuck with a young girl in the heat.  There is of course no law about having a certain amount of reflective material on your vehicle.  It is just the excuse of the day for the police to make some money.

At Chitimba campsite I went for a run alongside Lake Malawi, the third largest in Africa and the second deepest.
Banana anyone?
  In fact, it is so large that it has a small tide.  After a shower a couple of locals took us to watch the Man United vs Chelsea game.  We were lead through small villages and across fields to a resthouse completely packed with Malawians.  We squeezed into a corner and watched the game as we dripped with sweat.  Unfortunately Chelsea won but it was an amazing experience and it was so nice to talk to the the locals as equals, rather than them constantly seeing us as rich people and therefore trying to sell us something. 

We have now sorted out cook teams of four so each day it is up to the team cooking that night to make sure they have everything they need.  It was my groups turn tonight and we made a chicken stir fry with chapati, although we had to guess at the recipe a bit and some were on the sweet side.
The Malawi border


The next morning some of us went on a tour of a local primary school, which was really interesting and the kids were very intrigued by us.  There were 1200 students at the school shared amongst only 14 teachers!  Later in the day I bartered for some woodwork that I wanted and ended up buying a chess table and a jewellery box with a personal engraving for my girlfriend.  At first he produced the box and and the design was upside down.  He tried to sell it to me by saying it was a security feature so thieves would be fooled.  Yeah, right.  Make me another one please or no money.

There is now a new strain of malaria present in Malawi that is resistant to all the current medication so I am being really careful, making sure I cover up when possible and use plenty of DEET.  So far I have hardly been bitten so I was not really worried.
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Giraffe by the side of the road
Giraffe by the side of the road
Trying to sell us fruit
Trying to sell us fruit
Banana anyone?
Banana anyone?
The Malawi border
The Malawi border
Tents at Chitimba campsite
Tents at Chitimba campsite
The truck
The truck
Chitimba
photo by: vickie-lou