19/04/02, stage 53, Lilongwe to Chipata

Our last day of riding in Malawi. Country number 6: done. Today’s ride was quite uneventfull though. A 152k ride, meaning that my focus was on finishing it and not so much on hanging out at nice coke stops. I ride alone during days like these, meaning that I can set my own pace, stop whenever I want and make sure I keep comfortable on the bike and keep a good mindset.

The scenery was not too interesting. A lot of cornfields and flat terrain. It was entertaining to watch the many Malawians on bikes, often carrying big bags of charcoal. At 40k I had a short stop on the side of the road to break up the long 80k ride to lunch. The next stop was at lunch, followed by another stop at the border with Zambia at 120k. Immediately after crossing the border the scenery changed. No more corn but a mix of crops, and tall fluorescent green grass lining the roads. The last 30k to camp wizzed by in a blink!
We camp at a nice overlander camp with a good bar, but before emptying their fridges I first went to the nearby town to get money and a simcard though. I shared a taxi with 4 others, meant we were with 6 in a 5 seater car (including the taxi driver) which meant our driver got fined at the police checkpoint. The police officer stating “sir, your vehicle is overloaded” was golden, especially because after the driver got fined we were allowed as we were, with 6 people in the car 🙂

Anyway, Malawi was great. I liked swimming in the lake and watch the thunderclouds over it. And the mountains towering over the other side of the lake. I liked how the people were cautious and reserved, but how they opened up after I greated them, smiling, putting up their thumbs, encouraging us. I liked all the people on bikes with heavy loads, and I liked how they were able to keep up with us on our fancy bikes, while riding very simple bikes themselves. I liked that gin was cheaper than water and I like that despite that, I didn’t drink too much of it 🙂 I liked that it was only hot and humid for two days and that the weather during the other days was actually pretty comfortable. I liked tbe tobaco plantations, especially because I had never seen a tabaco plantation before 🙂 I like that they pay here with Kwacha’s, which I had never heard of before 🙂

Malawi, again a country with many likes! I’m sure Zambia is not going to disappoint either!

Malawians on bikes, carrying heavy loads!

School children along the road…

This person decorated its house nicely 🙂

An interesting guest during Lunch. A baboon spider. It stayed nicely in its underground nest though 🙂

Nice scenery in Zambia!

Tall fluorescent grass lining the roads…

Bitterballen at camp! They were not very good though…

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