Sunday, June 30, 2013

Before arriving at Lake Malawi we set off on a quick flit around the southern part of the country. Blantyre proved to be something of a disappointment [not helped by the first rain we had encountered since leaving home] although it did have a very nice church that we spent an hour browsing.
By contrast, close to the border with Mozambique, we came across one of the tea growing areas of Malawi.
Not far north of the tea growing area of Mulanje we came across the former administrative capital of Zomba. The town was of little interest to us but the overshadowing plateau looked very inviting. This massive block of rock towers over the town at about 1850meters [fairly similar in height to Mt Ventoux, part of the Tour de France, that we climbed whilst doing our shake down trip in Europe]. Although similar in that there was a tar road almost to the top, the interesting part of the drive was on some fairly rough dirt road with steep drops to one side. An exciting day, some spectacular views and in the closing stages and encounter with a tree that had fallen across the road. No prospect of reversing or turning back! How glad we were that we had our chain saw…. And it worked, first time, well the first time after I had remembered to switch on the electrical switch!
One of the oddities on this plateau, remote as it was, is that if you stop moving someone will appear to try and sell you something; quite possibly something like this:
  From there we went to a National Park, Liwonde, renowned for its elephants and waterbuck.

There was a fantastic drive all along the river with masses of waterbuck, great numbers of warthogs which always make us laugh as they run away with their tails stuck right up in the air. There were also some good birds, though we haven't done much birding this trip, yet. The fishermen were all out throwing their nets over the side of their small mokoros, and then hauling them in again.  
The hippos didn't seem at all bothered by the fishermen, though they might be more interested if a fisherman fell over the side!! We didn't see any elephants, but we did see them in our campground!!! they came to visit each evening a distance away..we did hear one stripping a bush just a few yards from us in our truck....door and most windows were shut, so no danger there!!

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