|Thursday 13th September - Malawi - Chintcheche
I like to think that I am not a hen-pecking sort of wife, but Andrew will never be allowed to grow a beard, so this morning he went off to shave. Lukwe has good hot showers but no running water - instead a jug of cold water is supplied beside each wash-hand basin. Andrew was delighted to find a flask beside the basins labelled hot shaving water. Lukwe knows how to go the extra mile.
Manchewe falls, a short walk from the campsite, are about 100m high. Two rivers plunge down to the valley where they merge into one and empty into Lake Malawi. Behind the falls are caves where local people took refuge from slave-traders in the 1800s. These caves are also where people hid from Dr Robert Laws when they first saw him. He was the first white man they had seen and they thought he was a ghost. We walked to the falls this morning and gingerly peered over the edge. The views were beautiful.
To get from Lukwe to the falls we had to walk through a permaculture garden, owned and run by a Belgian couple who have a 2 year old son. Apparently permaculture means permanent agriculture the idea being that all the goodness taken from the soil is returned to the soil. From their garden the couple harvest herbs, fruits, vegetables, berries, coffee and honey. These crops are not for sale, but are simply for the familys consumption. They live in a thatched house in the garden. There is a certain appeal about their way of life, but its hard to imagine swapping a European lifestyle for this Malawian version of the Good Life. They all looked healthy, if a bit skinny perhaps they could do with supplementing their diet with the odd, sneaky, un-organic doughnut!
We took a guide from the camp with us and as we walked we chatted with him about life in Malawi. He felt very positive about their current president and was enthusiastic about recent attempts by the government to combat over-fishing of the lake and to subsidise fertiliser to aid agriculture.
We left Lukwe at about 11am. Driving down the switchback road we met a fellow Scot on his way up. We didnt catch the mans name, but he is spending his retirement working with the Raven Trust in Livingstonia. We stopped to speak to him for a little and he recommended Nkhotakhota Pottery to us we may stop there in the next couple of days.
Tonight we are staying at a place called Makuzi Beach, in Chintcheche. It is idyllic. The sort of idyll that costs $72 per person, per night for a standard room, or $95 per person, per night for an executive room .. or you can camp for $5 per person per night! Needless to say were camping. It must be one of the most beautiful places that we have ever camped in. We are the only campers and so we have a large grassy area entirely to ourselves, with a few steps going down to a white sand beach. This is the last year that Makuzi Beach will offer camping, so we feel lucky to be here.