Sunday, 1 July 2007

LAKESIDE HOLIDAY







At this time of year the SE breeze blows across Lake Malawi. This made cycling down the Lake shore a tough job, as well as distracting from some of the unprotected beaches. The fact that I had a cold for more than a week also didn't make cycling any easier. However, there are many nice places to relax, and I stayed over for more than one night at a number of them. Other than Nkhata Bay, I also enjoyed Ngala Beach and Cape Maclear the most. The cost of camping at all these places is dirt cheap when compared to SA. Around the Southern part of the Lake I encountered some bad roads, causing damage to the luggage rack on my bike. After limping to the next village, the local "welding shop" did a remarkable repair job (it's still holding). I'm now in Blantyre waiting for some spare parts for my bike, and thanks to Grant and Amanda for organising that from Cape Town. On my way South from the Lake I stopped over at Zomba, camping up on the Plateau at 1500 m in the temperate rain forest (reminds me of Knysna). There are also plantations and a catchment dam up there (see photo with bike). The 9 km from the town to the top took me 1 hr 40 min - cycling! Of course, it is entirely my own fault that I followed local directions and took the difficult route. Something which continues to amuse me is the effect which my different appearance has on the locals. One day in a village market a character walked around me 3 times before informing me that I looked exactly like Jesus. In another town there must be a priest who I resemble, because wide-eyed people were greeting me with "Hello Father". As I was leaving the town one woman nearly fell off her bicycle as she exclaimed in an anxious voice: "Father, where are you going?!" (she probably couldn't believe that her beloved Padré had discarded his robe and was taking to the hills in cycling shorts). A teenager along the road, who was selling cooked mice on a stick, called me something which most likely comes from a Chuck Norris movie (I'm often affectionately referred to as "Chuckie"). When I stopped to confront him he ran away, and he's probably still running! Distances since Nkhata Bay have been: Kande Beach 63 k; Ngala Beach 67 k; Nkotakota 95 k; Senga Bay 134 k; Chipoka 68 k; Monkey Bay 109 k; Cape Maclear 25 k; Liwonde 145 k; Zomba 69 k; and Blantyre 81 k.

3 comments:

Lois said...

Hi Ernest

Great to get your SMS.
Are you getting lonely out there?
Lois

Janet said...

Hi Ernest
Wow! What can I say? Our Meridians really are turning into the big adventurers. Go, go, go... I will be following your and Leana's travels with huge interest.
Take care out there
Janet Fitt [MHC]

Leana said...

Your trip seems a lot of fun. I'm still in the Uk (Cant get out) waiting for a visa!!! Got one for Hungary will be off next week. Stay well
Leana