Friday, 16 December 2016

Day 104: Utengule Tz to Chilumba, Malawi, 250km, 6 hours,1 border, 1 ticket, 17°- 35.5°c

We leave the coffee plantation early.
We backtrack through Mbeya and begin the ride to the border with Malawi at Songwe.
We ride up and along the ridges of the hills along the Rift Valley.
It is cool and damp up here.
Tea plantations, bananas, lots of vegetables, mangos
Magnificent vistas
Then descent to the drier and hotter valley.
The border post is efficiently run. 
We are through in about an hour and a half. The visas for Malawi took a while longer than we expected.
They were dearer, too -$US75 each.
Cheaper than a visitor's visa to New Zealand, though.

This northern region of Malawi is very dry.
There are police stops every 20km or so.
They open the gate and wave us through.
Not so on the fourth one.
We get sent back. Why? We wonder.
There waiting for us is a posse of traffic police in the shade of a tree with a speed camera.
After some jovial discussion - People in Malawi have a reputation for being friendly and kind hearted-
We part with 5000MWK ($NZ10) and ride on.

Later we find there are no more road blocks like these. 
They are obviously making sure everyone who has just come through the border has the correct paper work...
...and learns that  the speed limit for villages extend beyond the last houses.







Our insurance salesman. Alexander.
 We didn't know that we would need insurance - he organised it.
Just as well because we would have ridden off without it.

We were stopped within 20km of the border post and asked for the insurance papers. 
Borders are often rivers. So we ceremoniously cross the bridge into Malawi.
Small brick homes, many being rethatched.
Aisha and her mum.

It is the mango season, here.
Lake Nyasa comes into view.
Racks for drying fish.
We know that because we can smell them.
It reminds us of the drying fish at the Lofoten islands in Norway.






Thatching the roof. 
 A group of 42 Swedes travelling in two Pink caravans (buses) from CapeTown to Nairobi over Ninety days.
They said the next few days would include bush camping.  They are going to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. 170 miles away. 
'Yeah right' I thought.
Then came the explanation 1 Swedish mile is 10km.

A mixed group with children through to people in their seventies.
I am glad I don't have to climb a ladder to get into bed on the roof of a bus each night.
Some sleep inside the bus.


Ken said...

Shades of Peru!! Didn't Dick tell them that was bribery and corruption?

Diana Hubbard said...

Much friendlier... much cheaper...