A hard day’s travel

Trip Start Sep 29, 2010
Trip End Nov 30, 2011

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Where I stayed
Chitimba Camp

Flag of Malawi  , Northern Region,
Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday didn't start particularly well as we prepared to leave camp – the truck had flat batteries after two nights of sitting in the campsite with music blaring, and the interior lights and fridge on. It caused a bit of additional work for Gino and Hannah, but it wasn’t anything that a jump start from one of the half-dozen other trucks in the campground couldn’t fix.

Sunday was another transition day as we began our journey from Kande Beach on the shores of Lake Malawi, north towards Tanzania. It was a day that was only supposed to take a matter of six hours at most, with a stop for shopping in Mzuzu, but what we expected to be a relatively simple day turned into a marathon. The flat truck batteries ended up being only the start of our problems. Everything began to go wrong as soon as we arrived in Mzuzu. Our hour and a half stop turned into over two and a half hours, as we searched all over town for a petrol station with any diesel – there was a severe diesel shortage in Malawi at the time – and for an ATM that worked so that Gino could get more Malawian kwacha. Even the shopping didn’t prove to be straightforward as the supermarket didn’t have any electricity! Kerry and I were able to find an internet café that was open to entertain ourselves for half an hour, but for everyone it was an excessively long stop….in the middle of the day….in a town in the middle of nowhere.…on a Sunday when all the stores were closed….with nothing to do. After three long days in the truck to get to Kande Beach, and with three relatively long days to Dar es Salaam still ahead of us, understandably no one wanted to spend any more time than necessary on the truck.

After eventually finding diesel – three jerry cans bought on the black market - and collecting our shoppers from the fruit and vegetable market, we were on our way again. Unfortunately our lengthy delays meant that we had to change our plans for lunch. Instead of having a late lunch as soon as we arrived at our evening’s campsite, as had been our original day’s plan, we were forced to stop and have a roadside lunch, delaying our arrival even further.

We finally arrived in Chitimba around 4.30pm, with our afternoon to relax just about gone. Kerry and I only had enough time to enjoy a quick walk on the beach, before I had to go and take my turn to help with dinner preparations.

Our campground was again on the shores of Lake Malawi, but with not quite as nice beach or swimming as at Kande Beach. Fortunately, although there were two or three other overland groups there as well, it wasn’t as busy or quite as noisy as Kande Beach. Having not slept well the past two nights due to the late night/early morning partying, I was hoping that even with another ridiculously early start in the morning, that I’d get a decent night’s sleep finally.

Our next stop, after another longish travel day, is Iringa, across the border in Tanzania.

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