We feel great! Mission accomplished – Lake Malawi sailed from end-to-end.
Tanzanian mountains at the northern point.
(Photo Credit: Sten van Aardt)
We made the northern most point yesterday before noon and started sailing back immediately.We got back to about 25kms north of Mikoma. We spent the night in a shallow bay circled by reeds, aiming for a quiet last night on the lake without a swarm of locals. We still ended up having regular visitors on their dugout canoes, none of whom could speak English.
At one time there was an older man with what looked like his two sons all on their own canoes just circling our boat watching us while we were cooking dinner. The man’s only conversation with us was the word yes and that was his reply to everything we said. They stayed and watched us from at least 15 – 20 minutes. Needless to say we felt a little bit awkward.
Seemed like he took his two kids for an outing and taught them a few things like the fiberglass dingy which they have apparently never seen before to which we just hear him say “plastic” in English between the words of his native tongue.
We ended up arriving at Mikoma before 10 am after scouting the coastline from Karonga to see if we could maybe find a slipway. We actually did find one, but like all things in deepest Africa, it was very rundown and the concrete was falling to pieces. So we decided to just stick through with the original plan and get the boat out at Mikoma Beach.
We actually managed to have the boat out of the water and in the carpark before 1.00pm. During the whole process we had a group of approximately 30 kids appreciatively watching us. It was a lengthy process as the car kept getting stuck in the loose sand, so we had to edge our way forward piece by piece with the winch.
Eventually we used a nearby truck as anchor point for the winch and got it over the very narrow bridge and through the sand.
We were all exhausted and took a break to have some lunch and a cold coke. After that we got straight back into the work with fixing a few things on the boat that had broken and sorting out the kit for the boat and the trip back home.
Rich and I will hopefully leave for Kipili tomorrow and then we will head back to Hermanus together. Tertius is making his way back to Indonesia on his own. He is going to fly out from Mzuzu tomorrow and onward to catch his flights.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get any more photos of this leg or the pull-out as my phone was flat, but Tertius and Richmond got some shots on their GoPros and cameras. Tertius also got some shots of some of our spectators yesterday. They’ll send as soon as they can.
North Malawi Landscape
The north is characterised by its great highlands. Forming a forested spine up from Central Malawi, the Viphya Highlands is an undulating plateau rising to 6000ft (1800m) although some peaks stretch a further 1000ft (300m) higher.
On the borders with Zambia and with Tanzania, in the north, other significant ranges include the Malingu Mountains and the Misuku Hills rising to over 7000ft (2100m) and 6500ft (2000m) respectively. But the most magnificent of all is the Nyika Plateau, towering to no less than 8000ft (2500m). The rolling landscapes of the centre of the plateau are described as whalebacks but the edges of this granite core are scarp-like especially where, in the north-east, it forms the edge of the Great Rift Valley.
The most northerly lake shore town of note is Karonga, an important archaeological centre and now home to a museum that tells the history of this area back to pre-historic times. The skeletal remains of the Malawisaurus dinosaur have been unearthed nearby, as have been the oldest human remains in the country.
More at http://www.malawitourism.com
Artist’s impression of the Malawisaurus
Period: Early Cretaceous
Age: 125-112 million years ago
Est. Max. Length: 9 meters
Est. Max. Height: ?
Est. Max. Weight: 5 tons
It has been given a roar factor of 3/10. (I did not know lizards could roar, but things were different 120 million years ago, I guess!)