Day 306 & 307 (6th – 7th July) – Kande Beach

15 07 2011

Rustic: Of, relating to, or typical of county life or country people -see Malawi

Just driving through Malawi is a joy in itself. The landscape has become more… undulating, much greener and more populated. That brown desert has long since passed, so has that boring monotone scrubland and bush. Now we’re driving past green fields, rivers, countless rural small holdings, adobe homes set amongst the rural rustic countryside and the occasional hectic town.

Malawi is often described as ‘the warm heart of Africa’ and judging by some of the locals we have met and the many more we have seen from the truck this is very much true. When driving through small towns or villages we are greeted with dozens of smiling faces and waving kids all excited to see a bunch of westerners passing through their bit of the world. But then I thought, its 10am on a Wednesday, these kids should be in school!?!

It appears if you scratch at that nice, shiny and happy surface that shrouds Malawi you soon find some sad truths. Like the reason all those kids were playing on the streets was because Malawi doesn’t have any real formal compulsory education system. This fact soon had us noticing scores of kids working in the fields, collecting water from wells or carting stuff around. Being land locked Malawi has a real issue with exporting any goods or raw materials. This makes Malawian extremely poor country, so much so that while we have been here there has been a fuel shortage and no diesel. Being on a diesel powered truck this would be something of a problem if we didn’t have a whopping 2000km range on a single tank! Further problems come from Malawi being a peaceful country surrounded by a few of countries with ‘issues’. Malawi receives a large quantity of political migrants putting a large strain on a weak system that has seen unemployment rocket.

So, after driving east across Zambia we are now driving north, shadowing the western shores of the stunning Lake Malawi. Lake Malawi covers almost a fifth of the countries total area and can boast the most diverse marine life of any lake in the world. Visually it is quite special as it glints and glistens an emerald blue under that strong African sun.

Our camp site at Kande Beach is fantastic – Jen and I are in a wood and bamboo constructed beach hut at the top of a golden sand beach comfortably within earshot of the gently lapping waters of Lake Malawi. The first morning in the beach hut saw us have possibly the best lie in ever. Still in bed with the door and shutters open and a fresh gentle lake breeze blowing we watched the sun rise over the watery horizon as we slipped in and out of consensus from under the covers.

We took a short walk down the beach to take a look at a children’s day care centre and ate an amazing spit roast pig a guy spent the whole day roasting. Just a nice cruise for a couple of days.

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