Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Malawi – Escape to the country

August 14

Hello everyone!

How many places in the world can you truly escape a city centre into another world within half an hour?

Lilongwe is not a massive city. It is a bit of a sprawl and having a car would certainly be helpful, however it pales in comparison to the likes of Kampala, Addis Ababa and many of the South African cities.

An aerial view of Nairobi, Kenya's sprawling capital city

In spite of its middling size, it’s always nice to be able to escape a capital city into more natural surroundings. The most obvious destination from Lilongwe is Malawi’s treasure: Lake Malawi. This, however, is about a 90 minute drive if traffic is good. Not a guarantee around here.

An old newspaper picture showing the potential traffic jams
we'll experience in Lilongwe in the future
Closer to home is a lodge in a village called Namitete, where we spent our final day before the invasion of new children into our lives.

Namitete is a popular expat spot, a lovely and peaceful setting approximately 30 minutes outside of the capital, on the way to the western border with Mozambique.

Arriving early in the morning meant we had the place to ourselves
for a little while
The main feature of Namitete is its small lake, on which you can sail and canoe. We did the latter and paddled our way around in glorious sunshine. It was almost silent as we glided along a meandering stream in the corner of the lake. The lack of noise was only occasionally curtailed, either by animals or by a large machine on the riverbank. I’m not sure what it was doing.

We paid the princely sum of MWK1000 - £1 - to use the canoe

Whereas much of the country is dusty brown with drought, the
grass here is much greener
In this peaceful setting, away from the noise of Lilongwe, lots of different wildlife can be found. We rowed past some vervet monkeys and some striking white birds.

Here and in the video below, the monkeys are bouncing around
about 15 metres from our canoe

We found the tree below particularly interesting. The bareness visualised by the lack of leaves is offset by the extraordinary number of bird nests hanging from the branches. The holes on the nests were on the bottom. It looked like a rather lovely bunch of coconuts.

The nests up close
Namitete is a lovely place to relax and forget about city life. We’ll definitely be back in the near future!

There didn't seem to be enough wind for a sailboat but we'll be
sure to try at some point soon!

Love you all


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