Malawi is a small landlocked country in southeast Africa. It’s famous for its beautiful fresh water lake, Lake Malawi, and its beautiful landscape. Malawi is home to some of the friendliest people I have ever met and hence the country has the nickname “The Warm Heart of Africa”. This country is ranked as one as the poorest countries in Africa. On paper Malawi has a very high unemployment rate, but from what I saw this is not really the case. Each family seemed to be sustainable with their own small farms. People also created their own opportunities, such as learning a trade like wood carving. We were fortunate enough to spend five nights in Malawi, four of which were on Lake Malawi and one in the capital city, Lilongwe.
After two amazing nights bush camping in Tanzania we crossed the border into Malawi and made our way to our first location on Lake Malawi, Chitimba. When we arrived we setup our tents on the soft sand approximately 200 m from the lake. We spent our time in this village having wood carvings commissioned and playing volleyball. The locals in this area are famous for their wood carving skills. They also taught us how to play the local game, bao, which is similar to checkers. I bought a bao board and had a map of Africa (with all the country’s we had been to and are still going to carved into it) commissioned. This helped me decide that I would be extending my trip by three weeks and doing the full 75 day trip (starting in Nairobi and ending in Cape Town). On our last night in Chitimba we went to one of the wood carvers sisters house for a local meal. This meal consisted of a tomato soup, cassava chips and cooked banana leaves. Delicious! After this, half the group went to the local bar where we found the other wood carvers and played a couple rounds of pool with them. This was a really fun experience to have with the locals and a day we will never forget.
After a lovely few days in Chitimba we packed up and headed to our next destination on the lake, Kande Beach.This location was even more beautiful. We were closer to the lake and the beach was nicer for walking. Again, there was a volleyball net so we played some more “friendly” matches and enjoyed a dip in the lake. The first night in Kande Beach was well spent as we had a fancy dress party. Earlier in the day we had been assigned someone we needed to dress and bought them an outfit. At this party we enjoyed a delicious punch and an even more delicious pork spit. The next day was spent recovering with long walks on the beach, unfortunately it was very windy so we couldn’t snorkel. We were all sad to leave the lake as it was a great place to rest and recharge the battery’s.
After a long drive day we reached Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. All of us went to the local pharmacy to get medication for bilharzia, a parasitic worm that is found in both the Nile River and Lake Malawi. After playing some pool, we all had a relatively early night in order to prepare for two long travel days.
Traveling from Malawi to Zimbabwe
After a tedious day crossing the border into Mozambique and a long drive we found a spot to camp. Beautiful! We had an amazing sunset, blood moon and sunrise. What a privilege! The next day we crossed over in to Zimbabwe, which had an even longer border crossing process. We couldn’t wait to get to Harare!
Our time in Malawi was short, but it was fascinating to see how substainalbe the so called poorest country in Africa was. Every household grew there own vegetables and so called unemployed people taught themselves trades to ensure that they had a fairly regular income. The standard of English was incredible as was the way the local people presented their arguments. This was the most friendly country I think I have ever visited and the landscape was just booming with agriculture. What a pleasure being to visit, I’ll be back Malawi!