Monday 18 May 2009

Alive in Malawi - Mzuzu, Nkhata and the Ilala ferry

hello world, sorry for the lack of communication recently. another tropical island happened to us, you know how it is. thought i would give you a brief update on what's been happening the last 5 weeks or so. T has some cracking pics which will take a while to get up here, but will be well worth the wait, as usual.

so we stayed with an old uni friend of mine, Niall Dorey, in Mzuzu. Niall has done really well for himself, living in Malawi for about 8 years now. a teacher, he has started up his own school - Beehive School, Mzuzu - from scratch, and now has 210 kids studying and a heck of a long waiting list. we were lucky enough to help out at the school during the last week of term and i can honestly say it was some of the most fun i have had on this trip. the kids are LOVELY, so well behaved and friendly. big ups to Niall for doing such a good job with the whole thing and for making such a mark in the community in such a humble and understated way. we hope the football/rounders hybrid game we took part in becomes part of the curriculum; and massive congrats on becoming a Cambridge-accredited school!

we stayed at Niall's place for about 3 weeks and were very well looked after. GREAT family and GREAT food. thanks to Constance, Ali, Tirumbe and Chimwemwe for taking us into their home and treating us so nicely, we miss you all. sorry for taking your daddy to the pub so much, we are bad english people! (i did have a falling-over experience with the local moonshine, but you don't want to know the gory details, i'm sure).

after Mzuzu, we headed down to Nkhata Bay, the nearest town on the massive Lake Malawi and somewhere that backpackers tend to frequent. we were therefore slightly wary of it - we had stayed at Jim's Nkwazi Lodge (also on the lake, about 40km south) briefly a couple of weeks earlier, which we had all to ourselves and it was gorgeous - but actually Mayoka Village at Nkhata was really, really beautiful. lovely place to swim, nice chalets and staff, and an especially alluring compost toilet. we were just there for one night though, before getting on the legendary Ilala ferry, the best-known form of transport around the lake and the only way to get to certain remote places. it's working cargo vessel that has been going for years and although it's something of an experience, i wouldn't do it again. too bloody slow!

we left at 8 in the evening and got to Likoma Island at 6 in the morning. as usual, i didn't sleep and kept an eye on our bags - which was a good thing, as some unlucky south africans we met had their money nicked, and they had gone to the trouble of pitching a tent on the top ("first class") deck! anyway, i officially have a new favourite tropical island and it is called ... LIKOMA.


  1. Hi Alex. Another old uni friend here! I'm visiting Niall this Summer too - really can't wait. Taking the whole family (three kids now). Any tips, let me know. Have a great time travelling, sounds fab. I'm on facebook by the way.

  2. nice one Theresa! great to hear you are going. marvelous place. tips - do everything we did? get your malaria pills in mzuzu not in england - 4 pounds for a years supply, as opposed to 200. Niall and the gang will look after you well. have hit you up on FB xx