TUESDAY 26 NOVEMBER – TOWARDS A REST STOP At 7AM, we caught a local bus bound for Mzuzu where we could connect with a bus down Nkhata Bay. We took the slower local bus, because we could get a student discount which meant that the 19 kwacha (Kw) fair was reduced by a healthy 12Kw to 7Kw!
The trip was mind-bogglingly slow and uncomfortable, but eventually we arrived at the new bus station in Mzuzu and caught an onward bus down to Nkhata Bay. The countryside was dry and hilly, not unlike the outback of Australia, with eucalypt trees and outcrops of bare, hard rock. It took an hour and a half to reach Nkhata Bay, and when we got off the bus, we sat on the steps of a shop and had a cold drink. A couple of backpackers wandered past and told us that the beach was a great place to camp, so we set off to walk there. It was a long, hot 2 km walk up over a hill, but it was worth it for as we walked down the rough track, we were greeted with the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.
The cove was about 200m wide, with rocky promontories at each end, and trees running down off the hill to the edge of a beach of coarse, golden sand. There was quite an assortment of backpackers camping there, and not much space, but we found an area to pitch our tents in the shade, then swam in the wonderfully cold water of Lake Malawi.
Later in the evening, Linda, Kathy and I went into town for an ice cold beer and some food – ugali [pounded corn], vegetables and meat – and when we returned it was time to turn in.