A Travellerspoint blog

Zomba Plateau south Malawi Photos

In the south of Malawi is the Zomba plateau, full of pine trees and log cabins. We took a walk with our friend Pilar and our guide Crispin

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Crossing water borders

MV Liemba

Wednesday 25th July 2012 - C´s birthday - 34
There´s a light patter of morning rain, which gets heavier, in the middle of dry season. C says later that this may have been her grandmother saying hello and happy birthday. We do our swim exercise in the Kigoma bay for the last time. Alex returns from town, successful finally to get his cash and ticket for the boat. We chat with the overlanders - C is very impressed with the travels, doing it at their age. By their own admission they are somewhat detached from the locals, going from one campsite to another, compared to us taking the local buses. Maybe when we´re 60?! We take a taxi at 12pm. C negotiates the TSH 8000 price. We internet - C checks the details for plans made to Zambia. Then chipsi mayai and take-away chapatti.
We reach the port where we wait in the crowd from 3.15pm to 5pm when we board. No immigration checks so far. There are maybe 10 mzungus (incl E and C) on board. We set sail at 6pm and enjoy sunset beers, toasting C´s birthday. The Ramadan buffet opens at 8pm and is pretty good. Exploring the ship we sit out on the roof of the ship at the stern, on the life rafts under the slice of lemon peel moon. The ships horn sounds and it´s the first of our stops. Small boats appear out of the dark, heavily laden with people and overstuffed sacks of produce. These colourful boistrous crafts approach in the rolling waves, ropes are thrown to the decks. They form a pontoon over which the bodies clamber, push, shoving, jostling in a cacophony of sharp shouts. Sellers with banana leaves of ugali and samaki flit fertively through the lower deck, which is now a series of streets and alleys between towers of pineapples, plastic buckets, jerrycans, plastic tea pots from China, mattress foam, bursting boxes tied with string (which we see doubled as dental floss) and canvass wrapped bundles. A crane arm moves back and forth above this temporary city, loading long tube-like sacks to the hold. Ugali and Samaki bombs land in the hands of grateful customers on board. A toot from the horn follows, and then we continue, as the floodlights over the city are extinquished. We sleep in our bunk beds. During the night we make further stops. The city din below our front cabin wakes us briefly.
The Liemba loos - hmm, if the door locks, that´s a bonus. Tip: always know where your loopaper is, wait till the boat is rolling less (maybe at a stop), best to go in full daylight, take your moneybelt off beforehand, don´t go after a few beers, warm your legs up for the squat. The fresh smell of paint hast lost out to the odour of urea! But once you get into the swing it´s not so bad at all.
Early morning we take coffee and eat our chapatti + sambusas on the top deck in the sunshine. The coastline of deep green trees and mountains tells us we are passing the Mahale Mountains National Park. Here we make 2 stops, by Lagosa and then at Kibwesa. The same routines of smaller boats racing to meet us, transfer passengers, cargo and live chickens. As the boats pull up, ropes are sent soaring towards the Liemba and are lasked on. Men come leaping and scale the Liemba swiftly and nimbly. We see a man in the water some way off; a boat turns back to pick him up. At Kibwesa we stop for about 3 hours. the French couple are getting off at Ikola, they think about 12pm, but it is after 4.30pm when we arrive. We see them clamber over boats to sit in a small rocking boat, with water in the bottom. They look slightly frazzeled by the ordeal in their backpacks. Ludo lights a well needed cigarette! As they drift away, for the outboard engine seems to have failed, we wave bon voyage! The delays now mean that Alex, Tyler (USA) and others (3 Germans) will be disembarking at a far more sociable hour at Kasanga, the last stop in Tanzania. We have kuku + chipsi and samaki + chipsi for dinner and play a round or 2 of shit-head (no1 backpackers card game). We sleep in our bunks with the fan on. During the night there are more stops and plenty of shouting.

Friday 27th July 2012 - Malaria Pills day - London Olympics Opening Ceremony
Waking early as the ship is rolling in some rougher waters. This doesn´t last too long, but long enough for C to feel travel sick. Two pills, a bunk and patience as medicine. It´s funny how those half waking moments make you think the worst, with shades of the disaster of the Zanzibar ferry which recently sank (again) in bad weather. We have a good breakfast of eggs and donut-like buns plus coffee. The coastline of DR Congo is faintly visible, and the Tanzanian side has small islands. We reach Kasanga about 12pm and say cheerio to Alex and Tyler, and watch them disembark through crowds of sacks and people.Tyler boards an open top truck for transportation, while the others wander up the gangway towards -we assume- the town. E+C go for lunch of fried fish, rice (pilau + plain) & papaya.
We head onwards towards Zambia, and read in our Lonely Planet that we should have a visa for Zambia BEFORE arriving! OOPS, we seem to have overlooked something. So begins much speculation and counterplanning for contingency and cover stories. This is fueled as we speak to the other mzungu, a German lady residing on Zanzibar, wo says she got her visa in Dar es Salaam as the Zambian Embassy advised it was not possible to get one at Mpulungu, the port in Zambia. She said we may be sent back like refugees. C scoffs at this over-dramatisation, particularly as she points out our differences to refugees: we have USD and we are tourists with good intentions. We go through the exit process with the Tanzanian immigration on board who says it is possible to buy a visa when disembarking, but doesn´t know how much it should cost. E has finished filling out the exit form when a man from Burundi hands him his passport and exit form & a pleading smile. So E carries out the administration (Gladmin in his eyes). We put his profession as ´fisherman´. Then a Tanzanian also requests the same assistance. Why a Tanzanian national needs to complete this form is anyone´s guess, particularly as it asks how many nights you have spent in Tanzania - in his case it could be his whole life! The Burundi passport is only valid for 1 year.
We watch the final approach to the port.

Posted by bumble_bee 03:29 Archived in Zambia Comments (0)

At Lake Malawi

We reach the blue Lake Malawi
Chizi Island sunsets!!
We´re pretty happy to be here!


The Illala Ferry is out of action, so we use the smaller boats to travel the lake
On Likoma Island
Taking a boat to Mango Drift
Back on Chizi, life is tough
Possibly the finest looking bar?
Paradise at Ruarwe

Posted by bumble_bee 03:25 Archived in Malawi Comments (0)

South Luangwa National Park Photos

Stayed at Wilderness Lodge on the edge of South Luangwa National Park, and at an early breakfast, this chap wandered through the camp
In the park
Sundowner on an evening game drive
Morning walking safari

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Trip to Vic Falls Photos

Stayed at Jungle Junction on Bovu Island west of Livingston, in a fisherman´s hut style accommodation
We shared the back of a pickup truck with these guys
Placid? Serene? Fat chance, these cheeky and aggressive Baboons at Vic Falls will steal anything!
C enjoys the view


Crossing the bridge to the Zimbabwe border

Posted by bumble_bee 03:13 Archived in Zambia Comments (0)

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