Friday 17 May 2013

Lilongwe to Monkey Bay

I woke up early, around 5 am. I tried to sleep some more until my wake-up call at 5.40 but I couldn't. So I finally got up around 5.20. It didn't take long to prepare myself and my stuff. A quick brushing of my teeth, closing my bags and taking everything out of the dorm. The taxi driver was already waiting outside and we promptly left for the bus station. At some point I realized I had forgotten my toasting bread in the reception area of the backpackers while leaving. Too late.

At the bus station, the taxi driver told me to take either National Bus or Axa. As I walked in, an Axa guy took control of me and walked me past the other guys trying to get passengers. A guy from National Bus tried to win me over, but he was yelling quite loudly, so I just ignored him. When I asked for the price I was a bit perplexed as it was less than half what I had expected. At Mabuya the guy at reception had told me it would cost me MK 5000 for a direct bus. Here I now got a transport for MK 2250 (about CHF 8). I wondered why the price difference. I could have gotten the wrong bus? At 6 the bus drove into the station and I stepped into it. It was a long waiting, but finally, after almost 3 hours, the bus drove off. But as usual, we didn't get far. We stopped at the next petrol station to check tyre pressure or something. After another 10-15 minutes we left for good.

The bus was driving really slowly, so I thought we might just never get there. I was really tired and I tried not to sleep because my head would always tilt to one side and my neck would hurt. I dozed anyway. I tried to find a better position. At some point we stopped in Salima where the bus left out a few passengers and loaded 20 new ones. There were people standing packed like sardines in the walkway. After what seemed several eternities, we finally arrived to the turn off junction which leads to Monkey Bay and Cape Mclear. At each stop I tried to determine if we had arrived. But it was always not there yet. Finally it was and I wrangled myself and my bags out of the packed bus.

From there I was led to Mufasa Rustic Backpackers by two people who work as tour operators around Monkey Bay. They even convinced me to go for a hike on the nearby mountain, walk down the other side to the fishermen village and then to the harbor. But I will tell that story after I have done it.

After a short walk, we arrived in Mufasa's private bay on Lake Malawi. It looks like paradise and its people are totally friendly and relaxed. The sole source of electricity at the Eco-lodge backpackers is a car battery recharged daily by solar energy. They serve cold beer (when the ice is still cooling the contents of the cooler box) and cook meals if you ask for it.

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