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Embedded Photos: 1.Preparing Food 2.Laundry Lady w/daughter 3.Cassava4.Playing5.Local Girls
Two Years & Twice Around the World...  

Malawi Flag MALAWI


July 4. KANDE BEACH, LAKE MALAWI  Everyone was up early in the morning and ready to go.  On our way to Kande Beach we made another stop in a rather large town for groceries and to use the bathroom. It had a supply of banks as well. At the gas station we were bombarded with young boys selling a variety of things including batiks and bracelets made of black tubing and electrical wire.  We walked across the street to the moderately stocked little grocery store where Lucinda was doing some shopping.  The variety of things available in the markets of Africa never ceased to amaze me but now that we were in Malawi there was a noticeable reduction in some of the overseas luxuries like chocolate.  We stocked up on some drinks since the overland campsites always extracted a heftier sum.  The Hooligans always Village Walk, Lake Malawi stocked up on loads of beer.  They were frugal over the smallest things but never compromised on their alcohol.

There wasn't much farther to go to the lake once we were back on the truck.  We made a stop at a curio market on the way.  Malawi had some of the best curio crafts we had seen in Africa and at very reasonable prices.  This market had some really nice things but we opted to wait until we were leaving Malawi to buy anything.  Soon after the curio market the lake came into view, an endless stretch of blue to the south, north and east.  Danie made a quick stop to load up on firewood.  A family had stacks of it lined up along the road and we took most of it.  

The Khande Beach campsite was a great improvement over Luwawa forest and after all of the days of long driving it was a big relief to finally be somewhere stationary for a few days.  The campsite was right along the lake front and the soft white sand beach covered the area, more like an ocean beach than any lake shore I had ever seen.  The tropical themed bar was mostly open but had small areas covered in thatched roofs for some cooling shade.  The furniture could have been more comfortable but overall it was a very nice and relaxing place. We put in our request to upgrade to one of the waterfront bungalows but they were full for our first night.  The camping thing was starting to become tiresome and the moderate upgrade cost was easy to overlook.  

The weather was beautiful, deep blue skies against the equally blue lake horizon.   A tiny island stood not far off the shore of Khande Beach, directly in front of the local scuba Village Walk, Lake Malawi outfit.  Andres, Matt, Rob and I went to check out their gear and sign up for a dive the following morning.  Fresh water diving was not known for its colorful fish life but Malawi was supposed to be an exception.  At any rate it was unique to Malawi.  

Reveling in some time to relax the group spread apart to enjoy the peace and quiet.  It was good to get some space after so much togetherness.  At meals we all came together again but it was mostly Andres, Anke, Rob and I eating together. Matt kept to himself and the Hooligans, thankfully, did their own thing.  They usually dropped around long enough to complain about something but then took off to drink.   Danie and Lucinda were around at dinners but generally just set everything up for us at lunchtime and let people come and go at their leisure.  The group dynamics must have been a turnoff, not a nice trip to deal with after coming off of a vacation.  Still, when we got the chance, Rob and I really enjoyed chatting with them. Five years of life on the road in East Africa yielded some good stories, not to mention helpful advice.   

There were only a couple of other overland trucks in the compound so the the evening never got very loud.  The whole atmosphere was really one of the most relaxing we'd experienced in Africa, almost too relaxing.  At moments it was easy to forget you were in Africa at all, which wasn't really the goal.  Local people did wander back and forth on the beach and tout the tourists a bit, and guys selling pot (Malawi Wowie) hung out on the end of the beach playing bongs every night.  Otherwise, if you didn't leave the camp you felt like you could be almost anywhere. 

July 5. KANDE BEACH "Fresh Water Scuba Diving"  We met at 9:00 for a morning dive in the lake. The equipment was all in good condition and the South African guys who operated the dive center did a great job.  A dinghy took us out to the little island.  Our dive slowly took us around it and we were surprised at the volume of fish life.  Swimming over and around the large rocks that made a "reef" around the island we encountered schools of siglets, varied in size and colors.  They were quite tolerant of divers.  At times the large rocks Cassava, Lake Malawi squeezed together to make tunnels and narrow passageways, schools of the little fish dispersing as we made our way.  Near the end we visited Malawi's wreck, a submerged jeep, that was home to a unique siglet that held her young in her mouth.  As we approached we saw the school of tiny fish jet into their mothers mouth, not quite all of them making it before she got nervous and headed away from the car.  The dive master later told us that she could fit them all in when she had time, even though they weren't such tiny babies anymore.  The sand in the lake was white and soft like the beach.  Large davits covered the floor, a kind of nest for one of the fish but they looked like something had exploded in the sand.  The largest fish in the lake was the catfish but we weren't fortunate enough to catch one of those.  The dive master told us there were much more attractive in the water.  The weather was getting windier so we held off on signing up for another dive in the afternoon but were considering a night dive.

The bungalow became available and we lucked out with the only one that sat at the end of the beach, between the camp and the scuba center.  It was primitive with a thatched roof and wooden walls, a bright blue mosquito net hung over the bed.  A small deck looked right out onto the lake with two wooden chairs for lounging.  We were glad to say "good-bye" to our tent.  

For dinner Lucinda let Danie fire up a braai, a South African BBQ.  He had been itching to grill all week and his eyes lit up at the opportunity. There was much heated debate between Rob and Danie about the Braai vs. the BBQ. Danie's image of a BBQ was a gas grill in someone's backyard used exclusively for flipping burgers.  That 1950's America stereotype.  We had to let him know that BBQs were originally charcoal and that any real BBQer could cook just about anything on Village Walk, Lake Malawi a grill.  He wouldn't hear of it.  No self respecting South African would call his braai a BBQ. BBQs were for sissies.  All the same, it was a really good BBQ. 

The Hooligans took about every chance they could to shirk the sharing of duties.  They moaned and groaned about dish duty, having to be constantly reminded when the responsibility fell on someone in their family.  The mother whined to me how the guides didn't explain all of the duties.  I could only shrug. It was fruitless to point out that they had gone over everything on our first night. All five of the Hooligans were there and all five them missed everything.  The odds were against it but they were that dense.  Any group had a slacker or two and their shortcomings are generally absorbed easily by the group.  But, when slackers and whiners comprised half of the group it starts to become really tiresome.  

At breakfast Danie and Lucinda had asked the daughters, twins but not identical, to redo the dishes from the night before.  They had just gotten tired of scrubbing and simply left  bits of food in the pans and on the silverware.   The were appalled to be asked to redo them.  The alpha twin, the "older" of the two, was especially whiny.  She was the would-be lawyer of the family.  The supposed bright light of the bunch that never knew that America was once a British colony.  This was news to her when we commented on our July 4 holiday the day before.  The dad just made an arrogant remark about how things would have been different if that tea thing hadn't happened.  A staunch Scotsman most of the time, it was amusing to see how easily he became to loyal Brit.  Or perhaps he was just bitter because Scotland is still part of Britain.  Anyway, it was the son's turn to do the dishes that day, not a bad kid but certainly the low light of the family.  But, after redoing the dishes from the night before the Hooligan's convinced themselves that they had done the morning's dishes and that Andrew didn't need to help with lunch.  They left Andres with the work while Andrew went on a canoe ride with Matt. The mother commented on the ridiculous number of dishes that Lucinda used to make lunch which, of course, she hadn't, it was the breakfast dishes that never got done.  And, it just got worse at dinner when the alpha twin heaped her plate high with meat and then tossed it to the side, loudly saying that she couldn't eat any meat outside Britain, which must have been why she took so much and wasted it!  Then the father let out a big fart as he stood at the dish table.  When the alpha twin commented he deliberately let out another to amuse himself.  Yes indeed, ten days with this family was more than any sane person should be expected to handle.   

The evening weather got windier and winder, making a scuba dive impossible.  Our little bungalow rattled in the winds but was plenty sturdy to survive in tact.  We had heard little squeaks and rustles in the roof during the day but weren't sure of our housemates until nighttime.  Rob had gone off to the bathroom and I emerged from the bungalow with my headlamp on to brush my teeth.  No sooner was I on the porch as a bat dove towards me.  Startled, I yelped and ducked.  They were small bats, totally harmless, but the light of my headlamp had attracted bugs which the bats search out with their sonic ability.  It didn't want to come after me but could sense the bugs.  Still, I turned out my light and remained in my squat position as I scooted back inside. 

SOUTH AFRICA Cape Town June 3-9


NAMIBIA Fish River Canyon June 10-12 Sossuvlei June 13-14 Solataire- Cape Cross June 14-17 Sptizkoppe- Etosha June 17-18 Etosha National Park June 19-20 Nkwasi (Angola) June 20-21

BOTSWANA Okavango Delta June 22 June 23-24 Chobe National Park June 26 (I) June 26 (II) June 26 (III)

ZIMBABWE Victoria Falls June 27-28 June 29

ZAMBIA Victoria Falls June 30-July 1 Lusaka July 2

MALAWI Luwawa July 3 Kande Beach July 4-5 July 6 July 7 Chitimba July 8

TANZANIA Dar Es Salaam July 9-11