Day 96: Ngara to Karonga

Date: 18.01.17
Blog entry date: 18.01.17
Distance: 44km
Odometer: 5 254km
Avg speed: 22.3km/hr
Time on bike: 1h58min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 66.8km/hr (Day 88)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at Safari Lodge. Basic but fine for one night. 

Departed from Floja after breakfast. As we left, the kids from the school (funded & supported by Floja) came out to wish us farewell. The children were very energetic and excited. The route was short as our “Malawian holiday” comes to an end. We plan to cross into Tanzania tomorrow, another big milestone for us.

Malawi has been a highlight. There was always a beautiful camp site close to the lake, sleeping with the sound of gentle waves in our ears. It has a similar effect as the calm ocean. No wonder our pace dropped so much here ๐Ÿ˜. 

We will never forget the lake of stars and the warm heart of Africa!

Thanks for all your support, messages and prayers which makes a massive difference for us. Again, especially thanks for all the generous donations received! The fundraiser is now at R20 129. 

Willem & Eva

Farewell to the mzungus. Children from the Floja foundation school.

Chicken anyone? The Malawian Kentucky ๐Ÿ˜


Did I forget to mention the overnight snow storm? No, …….. this is actually Germany, but we like the picture and glad we got your attention ๐Ÿ˜‚


Days 94 & 95: Chitimba to Ngara

Date: 16 & 17.01.17
Blog entry date: 17.01.17
Distance: 44km
Odometer: 5 210km
Avg speed: 21.8km/hr
Time on bike: 2h02min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 66.8km/hr (Day 88)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at Floja Foundation camp site. Camping with the sound of waves in our ears. Shaded and well equiped camp site.

Started cycling after breakfast around 09:30. Had to push the bikes out of the steep road from Sangilo. Again a short distance and taking a rest day at Floja. Stopped along route at the local village to buy some fresh produce. Limited selection but could get tomatoes.

Hosts at Floja are Dutch volunteers managing the foundation which is involved in community development. Very friendly and helped us to get more fresh food. They also bake and sell their own bread which is great for us.

Enjoyed swimming in the lake. Last days we are more relaxed and almost feels like a real holiday. Exactly what we wanted before heading into the Tanzanian highlands.

Thanks for following.
Willem & Eva

Pushing up; our departure from Sangilo.

A mokoro on the lake shore.

Scene close to our camp site.

Kampango, a local variety of catfish endemic to lake Malawi. Often sold next to the road and a popular dish.

Pots used for separation of waste. Recycling at Floja.

Us at Floja posing for a selfie.

Days 92 & 93: Chitimba

Note: Pictures of days 90 & 91 uploaded. 

Date: 14 & 15.01.17
Blog entry date: 15.01.17
Distance: 15km
Odometer: 5 166km
Avg speed: 17.5km/hr
Time on bike: 0h52min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 66.8km/hr (Day 88)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying in a chalet at Sangilo Sanctuary lodge. Great setting, built into a cove. Taking it easy at the lake, to be ready for Tanzania’s hills. 

Very short ride to Sangilo. After arrival had food at the restaurant. Taking another day off here. Very nice not to pitch the tent. We have granted ourselves some luxury here, a reward to celebrate the 5 000km mark. 

The humidity at the lake this time of year can be uncomfortable. I woke up last night sweating. Took a cold shower and managed to sleep again. Little rain this morning brought some relief. 

Managed to more or less true the back-wheel again. Not perfect but much better than it was. 

Wilem & Eva

Bicycle touring is very hard work ๐Ÿ˜‚

The view from our chalet. Apparently Ewan Mcgregor and crew stayed here on there “Long way down” tour in 2007.

Days 90 & 91: Rumphi to Chitimba๏ปฟ

Date: 12 & 13.01.17
Blog entry date: 14.01.17
Distance: 82km
Odometer: 5 151km
Avg speed: 20.2km/hr
Time on bike: 4h04min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 66.8km/hr (Day 88)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at Kings Highway camp site. Beautiful site next to beach. Good clean ablutions. Friendly host gave us table and chairs.

Rumphi was a short detour, but no closer accommodation around. First kilometers return via same route. We had to cross the plataue and over the mountain to get down to the lake again. We expected another hectic climb. Not that bad in the end, but one hill was still 250m vertical climbing with steep gradient. The descend down to the lake is about 10km long dropping 600m! Would be awesome but at the summit buckets of rains started pouring down. The road condition is not very good and trucks are also using this road. We were therefore very carefull with the heavy touring bicycles and constantly on the brakes. At least much better than going up the other way ๐Ÿ˜ I could feel the rear brake is in need of replacement.

Unfortunately due to the rain we did not take pictures of the lake from high up. Must be stunning on another day.

We are within 150km of the Tanzanian border and ahead of our planned schedule. The lake is a special place and we therefore decided to take our time before heading into Tanzania. We stayed an extra day at Kings Highway. We will also stay at a few other places in the vicinity while crawling on to the border.

The rest day at Kings Highway was spent on bicycle maintenance. Eva’s bike has almost no issues. My bicycle will be renamed Friday, from Frodo. I’m convinced this was a Friday 16:00 job! Back pannier again becoming loose (other side than was fixed in Gochas). After replacing the back brake pads I detected the wheel is slightly buckled. Very difficult to true out in the bush, and may risk loosing spokes. I adjusted the breaks so at least no friction on the rim, should be ok. My one pannier bag also lost a spacer. Fixed some rubber padding on the rack in place of the spacer.

Willem & Eva

A column of army ants out on a raid. The largest ants in the world, they are notorious to eat anything in their way.

Rumphi was a detour into a beautiful wooded valley. The closest accommodation to our route.

View back to the hills through wich we came. Shortly afterwards followed a steep hill before the 10km downhill.

Camping at Kings Highway. A great camp site.

The lake again. For the first time it is not Mozambique on the other side but Tanzania.

Bicycle maintenance time.

Some or other invertebrate assisting Eva with the dishes ๐Ÿ˜

Day 89: Mzuzu to Rumphi

Date: 11.01.17
Blog entry date: 11.01.17
Distance: 70km
Odometer: 5 068km
Avg speed: 22.2km/hr
Time on bike: 3h08min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 66.8km/hr (Day 88)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping tonight at Adios camp site. Basic & muddy after rains, but will do for the night.

Dark low hanging clouds persuaded us to delay our start. Good decision as 30mins later the rains came down. Was an excuse to enjoy good coffee and a lazy breakfast. We eventually started off between 13:00 and 14:00. Original plan was to do 130km back to lake. With shorter day only managed about half way. 

5 000km at last! Great milestone for us. It feels like yesterday we reached 2 000km. We are very grateful for all the support and messages we keep receiving. Also very special thanks for all donations! We have received more than R19 000 thus far, our aim is R50 000. 

We look forward to descend towards Lake Malawi once again tomorrow. 

Willem & Eva

This baboon spider or tarantula greeted Eva on her way to the shower. Beautiful! ๐Ÿ˜

Day 88: Nkhata Bay to Mzuzu

Date: 10.01.17
Blog entry date: 10.01.17
Distance: 51km
Odometer: 4 999km
Avg speed: 13.7km/hr
Time on bike: 3h43min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 66.8km/hr (Day 88)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping tonight at Umunthu Camp & Restaurant. Owned by South African who is also a qualified chef. The food and coffee are excellent! Camp facilities good and clean, but still a work in progress (no electricity at camp site). 

We expected a difficult day climbing up to Mzuzu around 1 300m. Early morning clouds threatened but no rain. It ended up giving welcome cover from the sun, perfect cycling weather for a tough day. We were going slow saving energy all day. Good decision as in the end we managed very well without feeling tired.

Eva won the polka-dot jersey with a great performance on this mountain stage ๐Ÿ˜. 

We enjoyed the scenery with partly beautiful indigenous forest. 

General road quality very bad, considering this connects a major city (not 2nd biggest as mentioned before, but still large). Sections of the road is under construction. Good to see infrastructure upgrade, but made cycling a bit more difficult. 

One kilometer short of 5 000km! Looking fwd to reach this milestone tomorrow. 

Stocked up on provisions again at Shoprite. 

Thanks for all the support!

Willem & Eva

Beautiful forested valley.

Farmers cultivate the land on steep slopes. All farming is manual labour.

View of the route. Fortunately little traffic were encountered.

Shoprite Mzuzu! Feels like home ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜

Day 87: Chinteche to Nkhata Bay

Date: 09.01.17
Blog entry date: 09.01.17
Distance: 51km
Odometer: 4 948km
Avg speed: 19.8km/hr
Time on bike: 2h34min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 65.8km/hr (Day 14)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying in a chalet at Makoya Village. Beautiful view over the lake. Makoya is built against a steep embankment, vaguely reminiscent of pictures I’ve seen of the Amalfi coast. 

Shorter distance, but more hilly than expected. We however arrived early enough to still enjoy a breakfast at the restaurant. Got a chalet at a special rate and its nice to not pitch the tent for a change. 

Along route cycled past a huge rubber tree plantation. Stopped to buy a “rubber ball” made entirely from rubber string.

Tomorrow we head to Mzuzu, the second largest city in Malawi. We expect a difficult climb up to almost 1 300m. We are also approaching 5 000km’s, another milestone and well over half-way of our expected 9 000km journey. 

Thanks for all the support!

Willem and Eva

View of the route.

Lake view from Makoya village.

Day 86: Ngala Beach to Chinteche๏ปฟ

Date: 08.01.17
Blog entry date: 08.01.17
Distance: 77km
Odometer: 4 897km
Avg speed: 22.5km/hr
Time on bike: 3h24min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 65.8km/hr (Day 14)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping tonight at Chinteche Inn. Beatiful camping locations are in abundance in Malawi. Malawi is turning into one of our highlights so far. This becomes a clichรฉ, but this is a stunning spot. 

We started early and enjoyed a scenic route today. Our food supplies are low and we stopped at local villages to buy bread, avocado, pineapple, tomatoes and bananas. Rain clouds threatened for a while but we were spared from a soaking. 

As an added bonus at the camp: we can eat as many mangos as we want, for free. The staff use the over-ripe mangoes lying on the ground as projectiles to dislodge other mangoes from high in the trees. 

For the last few days we have also seen clouds of lake flies on the horizon over the lake. At first site it looks like low hanging dark clouds. Apparently the eggs are laid in the water and drops to the bottom of the lake. Once in a larva state they rise and hatch on the surface and the process is repeated. Ocassionaly they make landfall due to strong winds. The locals catch them and use them in various dishes. They are said to be very nourishing. 

Willem & Eva

We saw some indigenous forest along route reminding me of the garden route in South Africa.

View from the camp site. Small on the horizon a cloud of lake flies can be seen.

This is not maize ๐Ÿ˜ Saw a whole field of this next to the road today. Growing marijuana is apparently illegal. These guys were definitely not hiding it. So much for the law.

Days 84 & 85: Nkhotakota to Ngala Beach

Date: 06.01.17 & 07.01.17
Blog entry date: 06.01.17
Distance: 81km
Odometer: 4 820km
Avg speed: 21.8km/hr
Time on bike: 3h41min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 65.8km/hr (Day 14)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping tonight at Ngala Beach Lodge. Another stunning camp spot, almost on the beach. We rate this overall our best accommodation so far in Malawi. 

We were up early. Actually Eva was up the whole night, listening to african tunes invading our tent from across the street. I managed to ignore it and slept some hours. In general the camp at Sitima was very noisy. 

Along route some wide eyed children were staring at us re-energising under a shady tree. School already started here and they should actually have been in class. So I tried some basic english with them. “I am fine, thank you.” After the 3rd time they neatly repeated the phrase in unison, choir like ๐Ÿ˜. 
There has been no rain today and for a change we arrived early at our destination. Gives us time to enjoy this beautiful spot. 

Thanks for following. 

Willem & Eva

Yesterday in Nkhotakota, no success at the ATM.

While I attempted to get cash, Eva practiced her photography skills.

Maldives? No, Lake Malawi!

The view from our tent.

Rise and shine!

View from the restaurant area.

Have pool, must swim ๐Ÿ˜

Day 83: Fish Eagle Bay to Nkhotakota

Note: Pictures of Days 81 & 82 updated. 

Date: 05.01.17
Blog entry date: 05.01.17
Distance: 24km
Odometer: 4 739km
Avg speed: 16.7km/hr
Time on bike: 1h25min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour : 65.8km/hr (Day 14)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at Sitima Inn. Camp on grass but no electricity and water only in bathroom.

Woke up during night to lightning and thunder. Rain started around 05:00 and continued untill late morning. We anyway planned a short day to stock up again at Nkhotakota so a late start was in order. 

We quickly reached town. Had a bit of trouble to get Malawian Kwacha as both ATMS’s in town were out of order. Had to exchange some US$, which we use only as a last resort.

Limited shops and small selection available. On the up-side locals are selling massive pineapples everywhere. They are also sweet and very juicy, a real treat. 

The owners of Sitima Inn are South African and was nice to talk to them (in Afrikaans). This is also where the local ferry stops and many people are coming and going.

Thanks for following. 

Willem & Eva

View of the lake at Sitima. Ome can also catch the ferry here.