A fine road to Malawi!

Bit of an unsettling last few days in Tanzania…4 French cyclists who we met were robbed at gun point, passports money the lot, just outside Dar. They were helped out by Lucio at Mikadi beach, the police didn’t understand that they had been robbed and couldn’t pay the 1000 shilling fee to report the crime or pay transport back to the campsite until they could get more money(!)… the next day another couple at the same campsite were robbed at knife point on the beach all rather disappointing because Tanzania had been terrific until then.
Our trip to Malawi was rather marred by 4 motoring offenses, overtaking a slow moving truck on a straight road with a dotted white centre line ( fine 20,000) doing 63kph in a 50 ( actual speed 40, fine 20,000) doing 53kph in a 50 (believable, fine 43,000 two offenses, speeding and disobeying the road sign ….) and lastly not having reflective tips on the van……( a must have accessory in this part of the world!) Anyway 14,000 miles three revolutions and only 4 “tickets” not too bad.
Apart from that, the drive through southern Tanzania was beautiful

tea plantations, pine forests, miles of Hydrangeas a wonderful night and dinner at
Kisolanza old farm house

the farm has a huge vegetable garden and farm shop so we bought fresh lettuce, sugar snap peas, radishes, free range farm eggs bread and a whole fillet. Could have been at home!
We are now on Lake Malawi

at Chitimba Camp a beautiful beach side haven on the coast of the lake which is the southern most lake in the great rift valley and huge at nearly 30,000 square kilometers ….apparently it holds more species of fish than any other body of fresh water on earth…earlier we drove up the escarpment road to the Mushroom farm, another well recommended local camp site but totally unsuitable for overland vehicles larger than a short wheel base landrover with a roof top tent…. It was without doubt the worst road we have encountered with vertical drops from the mud and rock track plunging thousands of feet to the valley below and no real chance of turning back once you had committed. The views were spectacular but not for those with vertigo.

The ongoing diplomatic spat between Britain and Malawi over comments made by the British High Commissioner who said that Bingu wa Mutharika the President, was becoming “ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism” after spending £8m on a new presidential jet ……and then advising that we cut our aid budget ( we are Malawi’s largest aid donor). It doesn’t seem to bother the police or border officials thank goodness and we are keeping the union jack on the van for the moment. Anyway, our man was expelled and the Malawi ambassador in London expelled in retaliation… a classic tit for tat.

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