Here’s a quick progress update.
The roads along the lake in Malawi have been Paradise compared to the terrible driving of Tanzania. There are just far fewer vehicles here and far more bicycles.
28th March Chitimba 90 km
It was all flat and there were beautiful scenes as we reached the lake. We stayed at the fantastic Hukana Matata campsite with the ever so friendly Willy and Maggie. It was right on top of a sandy beach. So relaxing. And the lake is not salty so it’s great for swimming. Apparently the crocodiles have never eaten anyone.
29th March Rhumpi 84km
This involved the first hill of Malawi and quite a big one. After 15km more along the lake, there was a 10km climb and it was very very steep. There were baboons playing by the side of the road who ran for cover as we went past. It was extremely hot. I was covered in sweat and my clothes were clinging to me by the time reached the top. And then it descends but only to about 700/800m and undulates to Rhumpi. Rhumpi is 9km away from the main road so a detour worth avoiding if you can cycle the 135km to Mzuzu. Unfortunately we hadn’t left early enough as we had been enjoying our time at the beach in Chitimba.
30th March Nkhata Bay 111km
There was a climb into Mzuzu and then a long lovely descent to Nkhata Bay. But a big downpour slowed us down as we stopped for a while to let some of it pass. We arrived in the dark at Nkhata Bay, which is much more touristy than other places we had been to. We stayed at the popular Mayoka Village which was a nice place to meet travellers but it was up the side of the hill and everything was on a precarious slope. Lots of steps was a big hassle for moving the bike and the bags. And they failed to mentioned the kitchen closes at 8.30. They did make an exception for us after I told them how hungry I was. The electricity wasn’t working and the next day the wifi network was not working. And the toilet is also a pain as it’s not near the dorm and you have to walk up steps. And generally the place is quite expensive. Other campsites like the Big Blue are cheaper and closer to the bay but at least our site seemed quite secure.
Anyway, today is 1 April 2014 and we are heading further South as we make our way towards the capital Lilongwe.