S. Luangwa National Park -> Chipata -> Namitete ->Nathenje -> Golomoti -> Cape McClear (Lake Malawi)
Average milage/day: 63.2 miles
Days on the road of this stretch: 5
Marula Lodge in S. Luangwa was a wonderful place to spend two days/nights to celebrate our anniversary. It was a real treat to have all our food provided. If you are a touring cyclist we highly recommend staying here – for free! We saw all types of wildlife on the two game drives including elephants (lots of cute babies), hippos, giraffe, water buffalo, impala, mongoose, zebra and a huge variety of birds. But the best was saved for last with a rare leopard sighting on our night drive!
We felt refreshed and reinvigorated from our break in S. Luangwa, so much so that we set our new daily record distance the day we left – 79 miles (125km). It’s not something we are in a hurry to repeat, though, the last 15 miles (into a headwind) was tough. Going forward, it just gives us confidence knowing that we can reach, or go beyond, that distance if necessary (Logan’s Together Strong!).
After a smooth and straightforward crossing into Malawi we noticed a number of things that had changed compared to Zambia. They include:
- Children no longer shout/chant “how are you”!? They now yell a variety of either “give me… money, ball, bike, sweet” etc. Most children demand your money – we’ve been told this is a fairly recent trend prompted by tourists handing out spare change instead of donating to recognized organizations – but we were still surprised how even children in very rural villages knew to ask. While we don’t want to be insensitive, it is tough being screamed at constantly by every passing child – hundreds over the course of a long day in the saddle. One encounter with a large group of children was especially memorable. As we approached some houses we heard the regular “-azungu” chat ring out like alarm bells and a large group of children ran to greet us on the road. One particularly enthusiastic child sprinted towards us, jumped 360 degrees and while in midair farted on Simon – quite an inventive young chap! He had obviously been storing that one for a chance encounter with us azungus. Needless to say we were in stitches laughing (after we recovered from our shock and were out of the cheeky child’s earshot – we wouldn’t want to give him the pleasure!).
- Accommodation is very cheap and even small towns have lodges and guest houses for as low as USD $5 for a room. That’s cheaper than campgrounds in Zambia.
- The mountains and landscape in Malawi is beautiful, particularly from Dedza to Lake Malawi.
- Picking good bananas in Malawi is an art, not a science.
- Lake Malawi feels like a small piece of paradise. A great place to rest up for a few days or so, and get some home comforts.