The border experience was far better than on the previous visit. Better control was in place and the touts had been prevented from entering the official area. Everything was dealt with quickly and efficiently and it was wonderful to be back.
However there seemed to be more police checks than before. Many of the small towns we passed through had a barrier. Police were friendly but at one of the stops, after chatting, he mentioned he was hungry and wanted something to eat, or some money to buy something to eat! We were shocked by his statement and replied that he was lucky to have work and could surely afford to buy his own food. The begging left a bad taste. The incident didn’t change our overall impression though. We just love Malawi and it’s people and wonder why more South Africans don’t visit.
We returned to Hakuna Matata where Willie, an ex South African from Pretoria, and Maggie, who has since sadly passed away, used to run the place. Willie was both sad and angry. Angry as he felt Magie might not have died had she been treated in a better medical facility.
It was good to chill again after our long drive through Tanzania and enjoy our chats with Willie and his assistants, Martha and David. We stayed there for two days and nights.
Later, we passed through a plantation of rubber trees on our way to Makuzi, and a young man on the side of the road selling balls he’d made from the latex, and it reminded us of the boy at Hakuna Matata.
We visited Chitimba next door to Hakuna Matata to see where Scott and Helena had managed the camp while the Dutch owners, Carmen and Ed, were visiting family in Holland. Theit camp is more upmarket and chic than Hakuna Matata.
The weekend after we visited, Chitimba was hosting about 100 cyclists riding from Cairo to Cape Town in the Tour d’Afrique. A pity we missed them!
We bought some Mazuzu coffee beans for home, and ground coffee for the rest of our trip, at a coffee shop in Mazuzu on our way to our next campsite.
Makuzi Lodge and Campsite was on the lake about 60 kms south of Mazuzu.
With its magnificient beach it is one of the best places to stay on the coast. Be sure to book, especially if you are camping during season and not staying in a chalet, as there are only three campsites and 11 chalets.
Our campsite at Makuzi
The owner, Lara, a born and bred Malawian is married to an ex South African from near Howick. We spent two glorious days days there. Her husband Brett, who was recovering from malaria, told us of a great place to stay just outside of Lilongwe; Barefoot Safari Camp on the route towards Zambia. Being on the correct side of town we were able to miss the traffic on our departure in the morning……