Lord and Lady Mucks Exclusive Lodge

Sunday, November 20, 2016
Nkhotakota, Central Region, Malawi
I mentioned yesterday that we have pushed the boat out and are staying in a swanky lodge. It is fairly typical of the posh African lodges with thatched buildings, lots of servants and enormous "cottages" which are the bedrooms. The bath is so long you cannot stop yourself sliding right in as your feet don't touch one side before your head is under the water, needless to say it is also wide enough for two. This lodge has only four cottages yet over 30 staff all of whom are looking after us as the other three rooms were empty last night (more people arrive tonight). They took us canoeing yesterday evening down the Bua River, lots of birds, a few crocodiles but fortunately no hippos. We then had to go ashore for the inevitable sundowner before padding back (quickly) in the dark.
All of the above probably makes you sick, rotten boasters enjoying themselves whilst it is cold and wet at home but so you can vicariously enjoy the trip I ought to mention a few downsides .
Flies: there are of course mozzies but we are fairly skilled in using mossie spray on us, covering up at dusk, using a bed net and spraying everywhere with Doom, not the Cornish beer but a spray which is supposed to kill all flying insects. It doesn't, there are tiny little bugs which get through the mozzie net and hold meetings on your skin so a whole area gets covered in little bites which itch like mad.
Then there are the tsetse flies, yesterday morning I got one or two under my tee shirt and I have a very swollen back and another bit my wrist which is now twice it's normal size. As a result of the itching I did not get any sleep last night despite my sumptuous surroundings and a whole tube of stuff supposed to stop itching.
Other bugs: I don't think we have encountered cockroaches in the bedroom before in Africa but so far on this holiday we have had two which throws Mrs Lucas into a paddy and I have to kill the poor thing, they move fast when an old bloke chases them with a shoe and a can of Doom.
Scorpion: I found one in our room at the Mushroom Farm, I managed to catch it in a lid before dispatching it with a size nine boot, I have never seen a scorpion before so it was quite exciting. No idea how poisonous it was.
So you see it is not all picture perfect and every good experience has a down side.

As I have previously mentioned Malawi is not the place to come if you want to see lots of animals. This morning we had a game walk through the forest which was enjoyable, the guide was very knowledgable and spent a great deal of time explaining the different plants, trees and insects we saw along the way. We did have the usual armed guard but the only real risk is stumbling on an elephant and because of poaching they tend to run away from humans so not much danger but it does make us feel like real explorers.
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Sympathy about the bite - those flies are an absolute bugger. I no longer wear blue in Africa because that is the colour of the traps they hang out for them in Botswana to keep them off the cattle. Neil bitten by a scorpion hiding in a towel when we were on the Panama border - very painful.