The Long Way to Lilongwe
Although locally referred to as “the warm heart of Africa” this stretch through Malawi hasn’t exactly been the sun baked Africa we had all pictured it to be. Thinking that we would somehow leave the rain behind was far too wishful thinking considering the scenery remains equally lush and green over that magical country line from Tanzania. Our luck did however come in our favour for our gorgeous rest-day spent lounging on the shores of Lake Malawi. A white sand beach with the mountains of Malawi behind us (reminding us of the reality to soon hit!) and the mountainous shores of Tanzania and Mozambique off in the distance, we settled in for a perfect day of doing nothing. Dug-out canoes, rivers to hike, and naps to be had all accompanied the one and only Malawi Gin, seemed to be just the level of activity any of us were up for.
Life cannot be so easy for a cross continental expedition of course, and so reality struck once again. The first morning out, 4:30am a rude awakening was had; good morning monsoon. That cozy feeling of being tucked into your sleeping bag with the patter patter of rain outside just isn’t the same when it is immediately interrupted with the need to get on the spandex, wrestle with the locker, get some breakfast in you, and hit the road, entirely soaked by the time you’re 1km down the road. With a section of the campsite flooded and a kilometer of sand to bike through to get out, it was yet another morning attesting to the fact that TDA is not for the faint hearted.
Malawi has at least been good to us in that although we’ve had some damp mornings, and a few showers overnight, there has been a fair share of sun baked afternoons to dry us out just enough to keep the mental sanity afloat, which, at this point in the expedition can be a daily battle!
The tour has been climbing and climbing our way through with another few thousand meters of elevation behind us, and a few exhausted bodies as we approach the end. This section of the tour is short but mighty and now ends in Lilongwe where we enjoy not one but two days to restock, replenish, refuel, and heaven forbid, some resting.