The last stretch is always the best bit

Trip Start Apr 09, 2008
Trip End Aug 30, 2008

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Where I stayed
Lukewe Eco-Lodge

Flag of Malawi  ,
Monday, April 28, 2008

We woke up to a fairly intense rainfall (our first since the start of our journey) which soaked all of the clothes hanging on our line that we had just washed the previous day. Once the rain subsided and the sun peeked through, I took them over to the beach and slung them over the volleyball net in hopes it would dry before we had to leave.

After a refreshing yoga stretch and last swim in Lake Malawi for me, we packed up Foxy and headed out.

After arriving at night a couple of days ago, we promised we would always look over tomorrow's schedule and set a time to leave for the next day so we wouldn't have to drive in the dark again (too dangerous with no street lights, speeding trucks and random people and animals strolling on the road).

We aimed to leave at 9am this morning, and pretty much on schedule, we left Kande Beach 18 minutes past 9 - this time in daylight, making it much easier to navigate the narrow paths and passageways back to the main road. Even so, we made one wrong turn and had to do a U-turn to take the other path. Kande village appears to be comprised of 99% children, and they ALL came to scream, holler, shout and wave to us and Foxy as we drove by.

Malawi is a gorgeous country. I had not expected it would be this beautiful.
Stopping in Mzuzu to refuel and pick up some bread, cheese and meat for lunch at People's Supermarket, we continued on the M1 towards Chitimba where we turned up onto the dirt 4x4 track towards Livingstonia.

At that junction were two German girls looking for a lift up to Livingstonia. We moved some of our bags and boxes around, rearranged the washing that was hanging in the back drying, and they lay across our suitcase for the bumpy ride up. While we were fussing around, someone stole the brass padlock from Foxy's backdoor.

We realized this when we were closing her up and immediately asked one of the many kids who had gathered around us who had taken it. If one of them had indeed taken it, no one admitted it. I had a hunch it was perhaps one of the other random people walking by while we were too busy to notice. This was the first thing that has been stolen on our trip and it makes me more disappointed than anything. This also serves as a little warning for us to be a bit more cautious while we are distracted in big crowds. Hmm.

Anyway, off we went, up up the hill, 15 km of crazy hairpin bends and sheer drops. It took a while, but we made it! When we got to the famous Stone House in Livingstonia at the top, we could see poor old Foxy panting. It was the first time we had taken her up on such a track, but she did it - and rather admirably as well.

After dropping the girls off and taking a quick peek in the museum, we decided to head back down the mountain and stay at Lukwe Eco-lodge which we passed on our way up.

Cobwebs are abundant here at Lukwe Eco Lodge. With a continuously stoked boiler to heat hot water for showers and a very tidy and very smell-free compost toilet, it is a little slice of heaven here in Livingstonia. The view is simply breathtaking, crickets and birds chirp around the clock, a lot of care and maintenance has gone into making the pathways and gardens immaculate and there is a sense of peace and tranquillity, even amongst the two staff looking after us, Godwin and Chiso. We were the only guests that night so we had superb personal service.

Luckily we arrived at a good hour because the chicken we ordered for dinner would have to take about 3 hours to prepare. We had a shower in their outdoor bamboo-reed stalls (stunning views of the hills), set up our tent and looked over our Tanzania maps to see which route we wanted to take.

Dinner was taken by lantern-light at the large dining table under the thatch roof. We had the delicious "Irish (boneless) Chicken Stew" for 2 and fresh home-baked rolls.

It was pitch black by then and so our bodies naturally ached for sleep. After reading a bit we turned off the lamp. It was only 19:30, if you can believe that.

Start: Kande Beach, MAL. 9:18
End: Livingstonia, MAL. 15:00
Total Distance: 272 km
Road Conditions: good smooth road with the occasional crater-like pothole. Road from M1 up to Livingstonia is a 15 km stretch of crazy hair-pin bends with the road carved right on the side of the mountain, just enough for one car inch its way up or down. Well worth the trip though.
Temperature: chilly night with slight breeze
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