My border crossing was a dream , changed my last few Zambian notes at the border , 20 minutes later I was getting my insurance and within 30 I was on my way to Lilongwe having had my smoothest crossing yet. From here I had two choices one to cut across and up to Kande in so doing you miss out on Lilongwe , or head down to Senga Bay letting you start your exploration of the lake further down. I chose the later and so our 240 km and 14 roadblock trip started.
The road conditions are surprisingly good , even though President Zuma would not agree , so much so that I managed to collect my first speeding fine by travelling at 63 km per hour in a 50 km zone , Malawians have radar to enforce the law which they do with great stealth and impeccable manners . The continuous licence and insurance stops are a slight bother , but the roads do feel safe with such a strong police presence.
As one travels further into Malawi from the border one is struck by the dramatic change between Zambian and Malawian life . Zambia feels energised , active and colourful , by contrast Malawi has a warm heart but breaks yours as you ride by hard labour , meagre pickings , dust covered , threadbare individuals , etching out an existence , literally . Never have I seen from the youngest to the oldest labour so hard for so little and carry such a difficult life with such dignity . I found pain in so many eyes that after a while I just looked ahead and focused on getting to the lake.
Seeing the lake for the first time is more impressive than you can imagine , so vast that your eyes say ocean and your mind stumbles over itself trying to say lake as the vast blueness takes over . The calendar lake as it is known because it is 365 km long 52 km wide is something to see.
I ended up staying on the lake at a place called cool running’s , just follow the yellow smiling faces which lead you into camp . I had one of two choices to pitch my tent of settle for a tent with three beds in it , which after 14 road blocks made sense , so off for a swim and the rest of my time was just relaxing and chatting to a couple of South Africans Jana and Cloe , who are currently working in Tanzania and Malawi and it was great fun to have home grown company abroad .
I woke up to a fairly windy and choppy lake so I decided to ride up to Fish eagle bay lodge about 140 km from Senga bay and about 15 km before Nkhotakota . I had heard about the unspoilt beauty of this place and after a little off road scootering arrived at my own camp and almost own beach.
I spent the afternoon swimming in the lake and dozing off on the beach to the sounds of lapping water and the laughter and sounds of children playing in and around the lake . As I relaxed in this really beautiful part of the world , I wondered if beauty can only be enjoyed by those who have the luxury to find it , and do those who labour here daily just to survive see any of it?
Tomorrow another day to explore the lake as I head up her shores.
Until we meet again.