Into Malawi we go

One last drive through South Luangwa National Park and we were on our way to Malawi. This is the only night that we hadn’t pre-booked for while my parents were with us so we knew it was a bit of a gamble. Do we stay one more night in South Luangwa and have a very long drive the next day or do we cut off some of that drive by doing it in the afternoon instead? If so, how far do we go?

We decided to not stay in South Luangwa or even on the Zambian side of the border. Rather, we pushed through to shorten our drive the next day and not have to do a border crossing at typically the busiest time of the day (morning) and on a Monday at that.

The border was an interesting experience (especially for my parents I’m sure) but we made it through with relatively limited issues, just a small delay as we waited for all our American visas to be processed and they had to fire up the generator to print out the confirmation of our third party insurance purchase. The biggest issue was that the sun had now set by the time we got out of there and we had to drive in a new country, in the dark, with no reservation or destination for the night, and no book on Malawi to to recommend a spot or us.

We quickly found out that driving in Malawi was going to be different than any other country we’d been to on our trip so far. It turns out that Malawi is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa and this translates into people being on the roads at all times of day, everywhere. People walking, riding bicycles, carrying heavy loads, two or three abreast at times and it’s not like they’re wearing reflective gear at night time either. Add to that some roads with potholes that have wiped out the side of the road, cars without their lights on and massive trucks going in both directions and you start to get the picture.

I guess this is why we’d been warned not to drive at night.

Pictures from driving during the day the next day.  At least this bike stayed off the tar, that wasn’t the case the night before.

We found a place on our route on the GPS whose name sounded lovely: “Barefoot Safari Lodge – Camping.” Done and done. Let’s hope they have space. Luckily, space wasn’t an issue (just like packing our car) but when they offered us two <slightly questionable but overall decent> chalets at half price we couldn’t pass up the opportunity not to set up our tents in the dark so we happily settled in for a quick dinner and went to bed.

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