A Cunning Plan

Tuesday, November 01, 2016
Likoma, Northern Region, Malawi
When we decided to visit Malawi we had little idea of what it would be like and the only information we had was from the Bradt Guide which, whilst informative, is of course written by someone who loves the country so it is not necessarily objective. For this reason we only made definite plans for the first week to give us chance to get accustomed to the country and in particular to discover how good or bad the Ilala ship was because if it was awful we would need a car and to rethink everything or perhaps hop into Tanzania or Zambia instead.
Those of you who are following the whole blog may have picked up that we liked the Ilala and with that hurdle out of the way we have been making plans for the next two weeks .
Tomorrow we return to the mainland on a little ferry and will stay in a town called Nkhata which seems from the guide to be backpacker central, we have not booked anywhere to stay but hopefully we can find somewhere with a bed and a view of the lake. We have now provisionally booked a five day safari starting on Sunday through the Nyika National park which is on a plateau about 6000ft up so it might be cold. Malawi is not famous for its game, if you want to see the "big five" then head elsewhere but we have done that, got the photographs, so we are looking forward to something a little different. The trip normally takes guests round in a big loop but they are going to leave us in a place called Livingstonia further up the lake where we have been lucky to get a place for a few nights in The Mushroom Farm, a guest house that lots of people we have met say is wonderful.
We are then booked on the MV Ilala (Owners Cabin again) for a 36 hour cruise down the lake to Nkhotakota after which we have no plans.
We have just about exhausted Likoma Island, today we walked over to a different bay through a number of villages and en route gained a whole posse of children all jabbering away in the local language (Chichewa) and fighting to hold our hands. A few ask for money, we give them the cold shoulder but we should have brought a supply of pens or pencils. All the adults say hello and none, so far, have been anything but polite and helpful.
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