Malawi is a country found in south-east Africa and is fondly referred to as the warm heart of Africa. The country boasts of having indisputably the friendliest people in all of Africa hence the nickname. Malawi is home to Africa’s third largest lake : Lake Malawi, a shimmering mass of clear water swarming with colorful cichild fish. If its snorkeling, diving, kayaking or even chilling out on beaches and tiny islands you want ,then you must visit lake Malawi!. Down South there is the dramatic peaks of Mt. Mulanje and the Zomba plateau, both a hikers dream, while up north you get the otherworldly beauty of the Nyika plateau with its beautiful rolling grasslands. If you’re looking for a Safari Majete wildlife reserve provides you with an opportunity to see wildlife.
Malawi unfortunately is among the worlds least-developed countries as their economy heavily depends on agriculture with a largely rural population. This is quite evident as you travel across the country. In the last few years things have been changing and the future seems bright for this beautiful country that with no doubt stole my heart <3.The official language in Malawi is English but most of the population mainly speaks Chichewa.
We got into Malawi from Zambia through the mwani – mchinji border. The bus from Lusaka drops you off at chipata, then you have to take a shared taxi to the border. The shared taxi basically involves about 6 people crammed in a tiny car…good thing its only a 20 minute ride. You can take a bus or a mini van from the Malawi side to Lilongwe the capital city which is what we did.
Monkey bay is a small port town found in the Mangochi district and is at the southern end of Lake Malawi.
We arrived at Lilongwe a little after 6 pm and had planned to spend the night there before heading out to Monkey Bay. However our first impression of Lilongwe was not super awesome and we decided on the spot to take a mini van to monkey bay.
The Mini van is clearly meant to only take 14 people but we ended up being 25!. I had my legs interlocked with a random dude facing me, squeezed in between two busty women with their two kids who were literally on my Lap. Talk about tight spaces!!It was definitely the most uncomfortable ride that I have been on. An hour into the journey the mini van broke down and we had to get out as the driver and conductor tried to fix the problem. Damn travel gods!.I have to be honest and admit that when the Van broke down my first thought was “oh thank God!my butt is dying!!need to let it breath NOW!” ha ha. After about 20 minutes of standing around, a little pee pee in the bush, trying to figure out what to do bla bla..a small lorry showed up. Suddenly all Malawians were scrambling to get on it and it finally hit us! Holy cow this is our ride for the next 200 km! Yep. (sorry for the horrible lorry pics..he he)
We got to Monkey bay around 10 pm where they dropped us about 10 km away from our destination despite the fact that they were supposed to. We were lucky to spot two cops who unfortunately were engaged in a rather questionable act of beating up a drunk guy. They proceeded to help us get a taxi to Mufasa backpackers Lodge where we were going to stay. What a night!!
Our first sight of Lake Malawi the next morning was nothing short of spectacular. Its gorgeous!.
Crystal clear warm waters filled with colourful fish swimming around you, a private beach, a library full of awesome books, hammocks to lie on by the beach, amazing food, a well stocked bar and the best travel partner! what more could a girl ask for?. Sigh
Mufasa Lodge which is a family run lodge offers you privacy and we had the entire beach to ourselves which was amazing and if you go to Monkey bay you must check them out. They serve the most delicious fresh Chambo fish from the lake, being a private property means you will not get interrupted by prospective craftsmen trying to sell you things. Its paradise. The staff is so nice and friendly, the rooms are big , pocket friendly and about 50 meters only from the beach. Its a gem!. We had such a lovely time at this beautiful lodge and will definitely be back.
The port is close by the lodge and if you want to travel up the lake your best chance is the Mv ilala that leaves monkey bay every Friday morning and is back again on Wednesday.
The village is also close by the lodge , take a walk around the village where you will meet very friendly locals. The ones that can speak English will in most cases engage you in a conversation .
Monkey bay was a wonderful introduction to Malawi for us and we loved it so much. It should be in your itinerary if you are looking for some quiet time by the beach. After Monkey bay we headed out to Cape Maclear which will be in my next post.
Would love to know your thoughts on this post :).
Yogie On The Move.