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  • "jhcolclough" started this thread

Posts: 60

Date of registration: Oct 21st 2013

Location: Hout Bay, Cape Town

Occupation: Retired

Car: Fortuner 3.0D-4D sold after 11,5 yrs 11 countries and 322 000km. 2018 Fortuner 2.8 GD6 Auto 4*4

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Tuesday, September 22nd 2015, 4:26pm

Africa Trip June 2015- 7 Countries, 3 Months, 18 800km – Lake Malawi 11-19 July 2015

After a stressful drive from Ruaha, roads good but busses, trucks etc. keep you on your toes, arrived at Kasumulu border post – just drive through crowds trying to stop you and through the boom – cleared Tanzania quickly and through to Malawi. What a pleasant change in attitude.
There is an ATM at the border so could get cash. Unfortunately the power went out so had to wait a good 1 ½ to get TIP – customs specifically kept the border open for us. It was now dark so first camping spot we could find was at Mikoma Beach Lodge near Karonga . Camping was on the front lawn which made us feel a bit conspicuous but just great to stop and relax. The beach area is a busy fishing bay so not very clean. Quick swim in the morning and back on the road to Nakata Bay. The drive is beautiful with a stunning mountain pass right on the lake shore.
The roads in Malawi are mostly good with little traffic but bicycles, people and animals are a danger. Busses as usual have right of way. Road blocks are numerous but not worried about tourist. We arrived at Makuzi Beach lodge (6 ½ hrs drive) to find no camping available as only have 2 sites (book ahead as it is worth it). Luckily we negotiated to stay one night as campsite not crowded but could have stayed a few days – the most beautiful bay with clear clean swimming and very private.
Next day we drove to Cape Maclear (6 hrs) – roads fair with sections of potholes. Camped at Chembe Eagles Nest Lodge at the western end of the beach. Fair place but Cape Maclear is a dirty beach with plenty of people so bilharzia is a problem. We did take tablets when we got back but buy them in Malawi as much cheaper than SA. The next morning we took the boat to Mumbo Island (Kayak Africa). This was our pampering stop, 4 nights in the most amazing place. Swimming, kayaking, walking and lounging on the beach was heaven and with 3 stunning meals a day including early morning coffee delivered to the chalet, it was hard to leave and go back to the tent.
Spent a night at Fat Monkeys Camping and then up to Lilongwe to drop the boys off at the airport. Without thinking I searched for airport at Lilongwe on the GPS, selected and when we arrived realised we were at the military airport and had to back track 30km, much to the amusement of the family, to the international airport outside town. The departures has no entrance for non-passengers so it was a quick goodbye and then on to Mabuya Camp in town. This is a cheap backpackers place which is living off its reputation. We met allot of people in the 4 nights we were there and most could not wait to get out of Lilongwe – ourselves included but due to public holidays and very poor service from Toyota Lilongwe we had no option.
On the Tuesday we dropped the Fortuner off for the brakes to be fixed and when we got it back on the Wednesday had to turn around and go back as they had not even tightened the brake callipers. Needless to say 100km down the road the brakes were as they had been before. We decided that we would push on as the level of work done was not worth the money.
jhcolclough has attached the following images:
  • Makuzi Beach Lodge.JPG
  • Chembe Eagles Nest Lodge .JPG
  • Cape Maclear Beach Front.JPG
  • Mumbo Island - our room with a view for 4 days.JPG
  • Mumbo Island.JPG
  • ON th eway to dinner Mumbo Island.JPG
  • Swimming spot on Mumbo Island.JPG
  • Malawi Roads.JPG
  • Charcoal bags off to market.JPG
  • Typical Taxi truck.JPG



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Tuesday, September 22nd 2015, 4:57pm

Some nice clear swimming water and some natural pools. Reminds me of FIsh Hoek Beach in Cape Town.:)

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