Trout Farm

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Malawi  , Southern Region,
Friday, November 2, 2012

Zomba and the Plateau

What a lovely drive to Zomba in the cool weather!

Zomba is a much smaller town than Blantyre but is vibrant. A lot goes on here and it is clearly popular with tourists to Malawi.  Driving around one can almost play "spot the nationality" as many Europeans can be seen going about their business.

Zomba has a golf course (although bone dry) the first one in Malawi. The government has several important offices and one most impressive state is the home of one of the politicians.

On either side, going up the mountain, most of the forest has been cleared for farming.  A great pity.  Although the forests are supposed to be protected, numerous people descended the pass on foot with a load of wood on their heads. In some instances, big logs.

Lake Chiwa lies to the right, going up the pass, in the valley. Looking down at Zomba is also special.  We wondered just what one might see on a day when it was clear.

Locals sell berries of many kinds in the pass.  It is a good time to visit the area as the yellow berries were in abundance. We bought some next to the road and then discovered that they were just about a pest in the region.  We could feast to our hearts content. We made what was supposed to be jam from it.  It turned out more like a kind of candy, so I added some cashews and so we have a healthy (minus the sugar) snack for the road.

The old forest up at the Trout Farm is memorable.  Some of these trees were planted in 1930, not that long ago but they are impressive. The Trout Farm offers camping as well as a few rooms.  The trout operation is however at a standstill.  When we asked the caretaker explained that the water was poisoned some two year before and that they have never recovered. The place has a new owner and he seems to be putting in a lot of money to get it up and running again.  Focusing more on the accommodation side than the trout farming side at this point.

It is a lovely setting and to make it even more special on the misty day that we arrived, was the exquisite horses feeding in the camping area.  It completed the picture.

The horses belong to a Lady that brings them here to feed during the week. Two on the horses are ex-racing horses and the other ones are truly magnificent beasts.  Huge, high and inquisitive. They came to investigate the new arrivals and could not get enough of the car and trailer.  Sniffing and tasting the dust on it.  Carlos had to stop the one from chewing the tents ropes. LOL

The owner came to round them up later.  She told us that the big white one is the biggest horse in Malawi.  The youngest, not by far the smallest, is her 3 year old son.  I could not help think about Alta and how she would have loved to be here with all the horses.

Later that evening people arrived from Blantyre for the weekend.  They are expats working in Blantyre and come here all the time. We asked the caretaker if we could buy some wood to make a braai, little did we know what we were going to get.  Carlos started the fire and soon we were intrigued by the smell of the wood. The most wonderful fragrant smell.  We had a number of pieces left and packed it in the space provided on the trailer.  For days – even weeks afterward the wonderful smell travelled with us.  Now for the sad part, the wood, as we were told by the care taker, is Cedar wood! I know! I could cry, but he assured us that is was old dry wood.  I thought of the Cedars of Lebanon mentioned in the Bible – the ones they brought to build the temple.  If a few little sticks smell this good – imagine what those mammoth pillars smelled like. It made that story come alive.

Next morning we explored the area on foot following the mountain stream.  Eating berries, as far as we went. We were told not to go to the lookout or falls as there are bandits there and one's car is not safe.

We left by late morning.  Just as well as the locals started arriving to picnic here.  I can well imagine the rest of the day would not be as quiet.  Down the pass and trough Zomba towards Liwonde we go.
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