Tag Archives: Cape Maclear

Week 75: Mangochi to Maputo

Week 75: Mangochi to Maputo

I was sad to leave Cape Maclear and the wonderful people at Malambe camp, but I got up early and managed to get a free lift to Monkey Bay. Then I took the local minibus to Mangochi, which broke down several times on the way into town, from there I took another minibus to Zomba.

I had met an American guy in Lilongwe who was running a charity which brings second hand bicycles from the US to Malawi. He had offered me a place to stay if I came to Zomba, but unfortunately he had left town that week. He was a great guy though, so he contacted his expat friends and found me a place to stay, so when I arrived in Zomba I was picked up by Mike, another American guy who works in Zomba for a research company. I stayed with Mike for two nights, on the Tuesday I climbed up onto the Zomba Plateau to do some hiking. The journey up onto the plateau was a two hour hike in itself so I just wandered around a little while admiring the views and stopped to read next to the reservoir before hiking back down to Mikes place.

From Mangochi I headed to Blantyre and stayed with a CouchSurfing host who was also called Mike, although this guy was from Brazil and works for a mining company called Vale. I stayed with him for another two nights in his awesome house (provided by Vale) while I applied for my visa for Mozambique, which is only $45 from an embassy but is $86 if you get it on the border. Both him and his housemate have spent time in Mozambique, so they gave me some great advice on places to visit. On the second evening we went out with some other Brazilian expats for some drinks and food. The next morning Mike dropped me at the bus station and I started the 7 hour journey over the border to Tete in Mozambique.

Again I stayed with a CouchSurfing host who also was from Brazil and worked for Vale, she was really nice and we went out for a few meals together before I had to leave on the bus to Maputo. This journey was awful. When I went to get a ticket they explained that they had no seats left, but had other tickets for stools in the walkway. The bus left at 4am and took 25 hours to arrive in Maputo, all this with no backrest. The bus was hot and with 12 people extra on board it was noisy, there was also a guy on board who was the second driver, each time we stopped he would push the passengers around and shout at them, then the bus would start to drive away before the passengers were back on board.

I arrived in Maputo at 5am on Monday morning and was picked up by another CouchSurfing host, again he is Brazilian and works for Vale. I went to his flat and slept most of the afternoon, but now we are getting into week 76 so I will tell you more about this in my next post.

Week 74: Recovering, Celebrating and Changing Plans

Week 74: Recovering, Celebrating and Changing Plans

Most of this week I felt like crap. I still had fever and headaches from the Malaria and I had pains in my teeth which I think was caused by grinding my teeth due to the pain while I slept. Luckily my condition improved a little each day and by the time it was my Birthday (Thursday) I was well enough for a trip to a nearby town. We basically went there to get some cash, but I also bought myself a pack of pork sausages as a birthday treat.

I also met a guy called Tom who is a ‘low-budget traveler’. He specialises in traveling with as little money as possible, so hitch-hiking, couch-surfing and dumpster-diving. He is a really great guy and is currently on a trip called 1000 days of summer. He has just come to Africa from Australia and was telling me about the amount of money you can make working there, the only problem is you need to be younger than 30 to get a working visa. As this week was my 29th Birthday I started to think more seriously about my route for the next year.

The way I see it, this is my last chance to work in Australia. I can fly out there in a few months time and work for as long as possible, saving money for my trip around India. This way I could potentially travel around India for a year without needing to work there, this would cut out the hassle of the work visa all together.

I am planning to spend the next week traveling south through Zomba and Blantyre into Mozambique. It means saying goodbye to Cape Maclear and Malambe Camp but I think four weeks is enough time standing still.

Week 73: Malaria

Week 73: Malaria

Yes, after almost a year in Africa without taking anti-malarial medication I have actually got Malaria. The weeks started with the Israeli girls leaving Cape Maclear to go on safari in Liwonde National Park. I stayed in Malambe with Gemma, a girl I originally met in Lilongwe who was driving to South Africa for charity, two Jordanian guys who are here in Africa learning about Adventure tourism so that they can develop the industry back home and one other Israeli girl. We visited Otter point in Kayaks and spent a few days chilling out on the lake side. Then on Thursday the Israeli girls returned to Cape Maclear, luckily or unluckily, depending on how you look at it, as I was just starting to show signs of Malaria.

On Thursday evening I had a bad fever, I had been looking out for a fever all the time I have been travelling down through Africa and had been worried once or twice, but this fever was something all together different. I had goosebumps and all my hair was stood on end, I shivered and had to get out my sleeping bag which is comfortable to -10 degrees C, even though the temperature is around 25-30 degrees. I wasn’t really all that worried at the time, but everyone around me was starting to get very worried. The next day I walked to the local clinic in Cape Maclear to see about getting a Malaria test, they told me that before I could get tested I needed to pay 50 pounds. This is a charge that only tourists have to pay, mainly because it is a private clinic and they assume that everyone has medical insurance and will be able to claim the money back, the only problem is I don’t have any medical insurance. The only other option was to wait for the local transport to Monkey Bay, which is a truck with lots of people crammed in the back, these vehicles don’t leave regularly and take maybe an hour to get to Monkey Bay. By this point I was pretty sure I had Malaria so I decided to just take the pills that I have been carrying around for just such an occasion.

The treatment consists of 2 pills a day for three days, these pills have 3 active ingredients. The first one is active in your system for 4 hours, the second one for 8 hours and the third for 150 hours. Over the three days I noticed that 8 hours after taking the pills I would have a huge drop in condition, lots of dizziness, headaches and fever. The first day of taking pills my symptoms had already gotten worse than the previous day, I was having pains in my joints and constant headaches and fever, even though I was taking Paracetamol and Ibuprofen quite regularly.

When I was in West Africa earlier this year, I met a girl called Ida, she told me that when you take the Malaria medication, the first day you feel bad, the second day you feel worse and the third day you feel better. I think this third day needs a few more words, it should be ‘you feel better than the previous two days’. I certainly didn’t feel better and still don’t now. However she was right about the second day being worse, especially the 8 hour drop which left me curled in a ball feeling sick while having joint pain, headache and fever, my head felt like it was going to explode. Then on Sunday I took the last of the pills and felt better than I had for a few days, the only problem now was that I hadn’t eaten much for a few days and my body was ready to eat. The third night I was trying to sleep when my stomach started to hurt with a hunger I had never felt before, mixed with nausea. Unfortunately it was night time and all I had to hand was dry bread and water. I would eat some bread, fall asleep for maybe an hour before my stomach was screaming out for more, then I would wake up because of the pains again.

Since stopping the medication I am feeling a little better each day, but still nowhere near normal health. The third active ingredient will remain in my system for 150 hours (from Sunday morning), I’m not sure what good it is supposed to be doing me but it leaves me with headaches and a slight fever which improves each day. After the night of stomach pains I am now gradually training my stomach to deal with food again, but today that feels much better. I had Malaria 6 years ago when I lived in Zanzibar but it was not anything like this time. I think this was because I was taking Larium (an anti-malarial drug) which didn’t stop me getting the Malaria but at least seems to have made it less serious.

I am very grateful to Dawn and all the staff at Malambe who have been so worried and caring while I have been ill, but extra special thanks need to go to Nofar, (one of the Israeli girls) who looked after me the whole time I was sick, only to leave this morning when I am able to be up and walking around.

It will be my 29th Birthday this coming Thursday and everyone here is talking about celebrating, but I am more cautious, I guess we’ll see how I feel closer to the time.

Weeks 71 & 72: Two weeks in paradise

Weeks 71 & 72: Two weeks in paradise

After selling my motorbike I headed straight to my current favorite place, Cape Maclear in Malawi. I’m staying in a great lodge called Malambe Camp (http://www.facebook.com/MalambeCamp), it is owned by a very friendly English woman and has some of the most friendly staff I have ever stayed with. I first visited this lodge around five months ago before I headed into Tanzania and stayed for around ten days, this time I have already been here two weeks and am thinking about staying here until my birthday on the 6th December. I would recommend this place to anyone who is visiting Cape Maclear.

I arrived here on the Monday of week 71 with two Canadian guys, one of which had been working in the camp in Lilongwe where I was spending most of my days. We hung around together for a few days before they had to leave, but as they left I met a really great group of people. Two German guys and one Australian who are riding bicycles from Cape Town to Nairobi (http://longroadup.blogspot.com/). These guys are so upbeat and positive that you have a great time just by them being around, I wish we could have traveled together for a while. We hung out together for a week before they left, heading north around the Lake towards Tanzania. A few days after their arrival we were joined by a group of three Israeli girls, we all spent most of our time together, going snorkeling in Otter Point (a really beautiful spot) and visiting the island in Cape Maclear.

Africa Trip

The German guys left at the start of week 72 so I spent most of my time chilling out on the beach with the Israeli girls. This week also brought the first rains of the wet season, the storms have been really beautiful and I have taken what I hope will turn out to be great videos. Unfortunately the first storm also killed my laptop. I left the laptop in the bar of Malambe thinking it was the safest place, unfortunately there was a hole in the roof and my laptop got quite wet. After a couple of days in some dry rice I tried to turn the laptop on and it is broken. I’ve taken out the hard drive so I hope I can get my data back when I arrive in South Africa… if I can force myself to leave Cape Maclear. Since then I have spent my days swimming in the lake, resting in the shade, feeding the Fish Eagles and taking a kayak out to Otter point, Perfection!

Weeks 46 & 47: Cape Maclear to Dar es Salaam

Weeks 46 & 47: Cape Maclear to Dar es Salaam

The last two weeks have been excellent, Malawi is one of my favourite countries. Week 46 started with the birthday celebration of Joana, one of the girls we had met in Monkey Bay. We stayed in Cape Maclear for a few days before we decided to head north, but on the day that we tried to leave Charlie found that he had a puncture in his rear tyre. We tried to patch it but apparently having ‘slime’ in your tyre prevents patches from sticking. We had already slept in Cape Maclear from nine nights but we had to stay a tenth night so that we could sort out Charlies bike, he put a smaller tube in the tyre to last until we could get to the next town. The next morning we set off north and stayed a night in Kande Beach before we arrived in Nkhata Bay.

Africa Trip

Nkhata Bay is the most popular tourist destination on Lake Malawi, I prefer Cape Maclear, but Nkhata bay is nice too. We stayed in a lodge called the Butterfly which offers opportunities to volunteer in the local community, in return you get discounts on your accommodation. We spent the weekend there and then stared week 47 by travelling to Livingstonia. Most of the journey was along nice tarmac roads with beautiful views on either side, then for the last 15Km the road turned into a rocky track which winds its way up the mountain to the town of Livinstonia. We stayed in the most amazing lodge I have ever visited, Lukwe Gardens. The lodge has been there for eleven years, the owner has built a permaculture farm which supplies the lodge with fruit and vegetables.

Africa Trip

We relaxed there for a few days before heading over the border into Tanzania, but on the way to Mbeya I lost touch with Charlie, we didn’t have mobile phones so we couldn’t find each other, I stayed a night in cheap accommodation before heading off on the long 830Km drive from Mbeya to Dar es Salaam. I arrived late at night and Charlie arrived the next day, now we are trying to arrange a ship to Zanzibar. Yesterday we had a ship that would take us but we couldn’t get past port security, the next ship leaves on Monday, hopefully we can get into the port then.