Camping at Makuna Matata, Chitimba
Distance 52 + 6285 = 6337
Time on bike 3h 52 m
Total from Amsterdam 11737
Location S10.586268, E34.175344
It was 660 metres from our campsite to the road which we had to push up. Heard a woodpecker in a nearby tree so stopped to look for him but couldn’t see through branches and leaves. With loose stones and track very uneven we eventually only got pedalling at 06h38. We learn something every day … a pigs gestation period is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. Not new to us is the fact that in Malawi there are an average of 100 children to a class, they don’t have books, go to school hungry and walk long distances, as is the case in so many African or third world countries. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. A few kms into our ride we couldn’t believe our eyes when a guy cycling had a pig as a passenger, tied to the rack on his bike. I thought it was dead but the poor animal gave a few honks and a small struggle. So now I’ve added pigs to my list of animals I feel sorry for …. cats, dogs, donkeys, goats, cattle, chickens, ducks, camels etc. At 40 km and 10h15 we parked off on the side of the road in the shade and had egg and tomato sarmies and a few cheapy choc biscuits. We have two empty flour bags that we use for various things and I climbed into a bag to keep the flies off my legs.I’m growing the hair on my calves to a length like Peter’s as the flies don’t bother him.
Today was a much better day than our first two days in Malawi but we still rode into a head wind and the road surface still coarse tar … we have taken the lovely smooth road surfaces in Tanzania for granted ??. Were looking to buy fresh fruit the whole way today but only saw over ripe bananas and fresh pawpaw pips on the side of the road. Arrived at Hakuna Matata Camp around noon and camping here is K3500 pp, supper 4000 pp and it’s owned by Willie Louw, a South African guy, 72 who has lived in many countries with jobs varying from diving for diamonds, been in the army, a missionary, worked in tourism, backpacked in Europe in the 80’s, worked on a kibbutz, fought in the Rhodesian war in 1978 and guarded the farm of John Wilson and a neighbours farm who was injured in the war. From accomm to food at the Dutch place, Chitimba Camp next door, where everything is double, we’ve decided to support Willy and there is a toaster here which Peter’s thrilled about. The electricity is cut on most Sundays and we are not surprised … Eskom is the supplier !!
We met a couple, Anneke, Dutch and Hartmut a German Namibian who have two daughters Sophie and Doris under the age of five. They have just moved here from working and living in Cape Town for 8 years where Hartmut did his Masters in Volunteering and then worked as an electrical engineer, Anneke is a midwife. They are managing the lodge, Zulinkhuni River Lodge for two years where there’s no wifi or electricity and from Hakuna Matata they either have to take a boat taxi or hike three days (60 km) back to the lodge. The lodge does have a small harbour to bring visitors from Nkatha Bay, but there’s no road. To get a cell signal they climb up a ridge which takes half an hour. We’ve heard the setting is exquisite. Had our first swim in Lake Malawi – its so huge it looks like an ocean and there are waves that are all the same size and weird that there’s no high or low tide. Pitched our tent on a lovely green patch of grass with nice shade but we had to check the area beforehand due to small thorns which would puncture our Thermorests. Also had to check bikes tyres. Supper was chicken stew with rice, pumpkin, potatoes and cole slaw. Good home cooked food. Peter felt like tea after supper and with Martha, the cook having left for the night he switched the kettle on and not even a minute later all the lights went off. There’s a small distribution board in the ‘camp like’ kitchen and he flicked the switches on but it was still pitch dark. So we went to bed and read. There’s no wifi here and mobile data is ‘E’ so I’ll hold thumbs this goes through later but I wont attach any pictures. We plan to chill, read lots and clean ZaZa and Muffin and will probably only leave on Saturday. Night all xx