Farewell to the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’…

That’s what Malawi calls itself in its publicity material, anyway. It’s mostly true. People in Malawi are friendly and helpful in a sincere way, like most citizens of small countries. In other places we’ve been, people often only want to talk to you in order to part you from some money.

We continue up the lake. Our next stop is Nkhata Bay. I was here in 1987. Things have changed a lot. At that time, there was virtually nothing here.

The Beach House

Now it has scores of guesthouses. The population has nearly tripled.

It’s still a hippy mecca of sorts. We stay at a lodge called the ‘Butterfly Space‘. We’re in the Beach House, a spot so relaxing that I barely leave the hammock for two days.

You can’t get much closer to the lake than this

We know a place is right for us when we don’t leave the property because we have everything we need. There are even a few friendly dogs to pet.

In the restaurant

We do manage to pry ourselves away to go for another snorkeling excursion.

Keep the lifejackets handy

We are ferried to a rocky bay in a rustic wooden boat by Captain Andrew.

Andrew and his first mate, Leonard

Finally, we wake at 5:00 AM and make a ten-hour dash back to Cape Maclear to spend our last few days at the Chembe Eagles Nest resort before leaving Malawi for South Africa.

It’s the weekend, so we no longer have the resort to ourselves. But we manage to soothe our jangled nerves (after a pothole-tormented road trip from the north) anyway.

Goodbye, Lake Malawi

Sight or Insight of the Day

While driving up to Nkhata Bay, just before entering a small village, I see a man dressed very much like this walking nonchalantly down the road, coming in our direction. Big wooden mask. Strange costume.

Gule Wamkulu dancer – photo by Patrick Mullen

This guy must’ve been a Gule Wamkulu dancer, on his way to or from a gig.

Maria was asleep, so she missed the whole spectacle. (This makes up for the time we were on a bus in Sumatra – a very conservative Muslim island – and Maria saw a naked man walking along the highway. I was asleep.)