Revenge

Thursday, December 01, 2016
London, England, United Kingdom
Sorry there have been no updates for the past couple of days but the place we were staying did not have WiFi.
We had a very nice day climbing around the rocks near a town called Dedza looking at rock paintings . One group were drawn by hunter gatherers around 10,000 years ago and another by more settled farmers about 2,000 years ago.
There are over 120 separate sites within a 25 square km area. We were taken in a small Suzuki car (with one wheel the space saver - don't use except in emergency type) down all sorts of rocky forestry tracks to see three clusters of sites. Still, this was slightly more comfortable than yesterdays taxi ride. Rather than walk the 3km back from Dedza town to the lodge we hired two cycle taxis, you just sit on a bit of foam on the luggage rack and a sweaty man peddles you along. 3km, two hills, 70p!
Those of you who were paying attention to the blog may remember my piss taking of Ethiopian Airways catering, well they must have read the blog as they poisoned our meal on the flight from Malawi to Ethiopia yesterday and Gill and I were very ill whilst waiting for the next flight and on the seven and a half hour flight home. We have both lost quite a lot of weight and they have lost two customers!
Our holiday has now unfortunately come to an end and we have returned to a very cold England, I am writing this on the bus from Heathrow to Reading, should manage the Open Mic in the Vaults tonight for some nice warm beer! In a few weeks time the trip will be a distant memory and we will start dreaming of our next adventure.

So what did we think ofMalawi?
Firstly we both had a very good time, we came with the idea that if we did not like it we could always escape to Tanzania or South Africa instead, once we were here that idea did not crossed our minds . Pottering up and down the lake in the good ship MV Ilala was great fun so long as you are not in a hurry or get stressed about minor issues like health and safety. With the exception of one boatman everyone we met was helpful, friendly and honest. We were warned that the vendors at Cape Maclear would continuously hassle us, they didn't and everywhere else was very laid back.
Most tourists are either backpackers or volunteers working here on long term projects.
There are very few people like ourselves, which helped make the trip more interesting. The scenary is spectacular and of course the lake is very special, like Tanzania, Malawi has a diverse range of geography, the contrast between the lakeside villages and those high in the mountains is considerable and the tropical islands we visited (Likoma and Mambo) were also completely different to each other.
We expected to see poverty and even people starving as there has been a drought and news reports before we left were a little disturbing however, whilst most people are very poor, you do not see the squalour you get in India and almost no beggers. Every hut seems to have access to a toilet and every hamlet has a water tap. The Government together with aid agencies now ensure every child at school gets a meal which has two advantages, it encourages attendance as well as making sure they are fed. Reading the papers it seems the drought affects some areas much more than others, those by the lake are more reliant on fishing and of course take water from the lake so are less affected. The last couple of days we were in a quite densly populated area in the mountains, the fields look well maintained and our driver and guide who are both local said there were no food shortages there.

Would we recommend Malawi to others?
Yes – so long as you realise it is not like the other more tourist friendly African countries with cash machines that work, plenty of animals to view and easy transport options then a visit to Malawi is worthwhile and of course your money helps Malawians as it is mostly spent locally.

Will we go back?
Probably, either a short break (from a neighbouring country) around Cape Maclear or with a car so we can explore more easily by ourselves.
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2018-08-21