If Malawi is not on your bucket list, add it. Now. Make a plan to go. Not just for work (for as with many developing nations, Malawi holds massive potential for business opportunities). For leisure, make sure you have time, it is not a two or three- day destination.
I am hoping that the adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” will be enough to convince you. and yet, in this instance, honestly, the pictures will not quite capture what I experienced.
Where do I start from… the food? If clean eating and living is your thing, and you are working on eating and experiencing an organic lifestyle... this is the country for you. It is a vegetarian and vegan’s paradise, and it also caters to those who love meat. I found myself opting many a time for a vegan meal, because there was so much choice!!!
I had the privilege of experiencing total lake relaxation in Mangochi. And, OH WHAT TOTAL BLISS!!! I arrived exhausted from the year that 2017 had been, and it was as though the lake embraced me, cleansed me and gently put me back on land refreshed, and energised to carry on. It was in Mangochi that I decided if I ever go back… Club Mak as the locals call it will be my destination. Mr Dumba, the general manager knows how to make your stay memorable. Together with his staff, a stay at Club Mak. The beaches were wonderful, as soon as I thought of a request, it appeared. Fish, chambo the locals call it, fresh fish was plentiful as was an array of amazing green leafy vegetables that have no equivalent names in the English language. The generic term “a form of spinach” feels wrong for all Mother Nature has given in terms of vegetable types that I sampled.
Mangochi was my lakeside holiday. And I was not disappointed. We went to Monkey Bay and Cape Maclear. Mangochi was for relaxation. There was a pier that became my lounge, my resting place, my spot of peace. On this pier I could meditate, and I felt the cares of the world flow away from me into the lake. This was where we celebrated Christmas. It was hot, it was green with lush vegetation, and plump blades of soft grass, it was beautiful. I want to say that this was the highlight of the Malawi holiday… I had arrived exhausted, carrying the burdens of the working year. We didn’t sleep that first night, having arrived in the dark… we wanted to catch up, and reminiscent of our university years, we stayed up all night. We talked. We laughed. We cried. 2017 had been a long year, a happy year, and challenging year. We spoke of love, and children, of friends lost, of new jobs, and jobs lost. We spoke of the challenges we were facing financially, in our love lives, in our work lives and with our health and waistlines. We spoke of absent friends, and made plans for our next gathering. We were serious, we were frivolous. It felt with these old friends gathered by the lake, no time had passed by. The oldest friendship in the room went back to our primary school days.
At about 5am, we noticed that dawn was breaking and with mugs of tea, coffee and hot water… Went out to the edge pier to greet our first sighting of the lake… and so begun our Christmas Day celebrations…
I am not sure how you spent your Boxing Day, but I was lucky to spend it with some very special girlfriends- my sisters, not by blood, but my soul sisters. We are bound by love, and the ties that bind us are very strong!
Boxing Day found us making our way to Monkey Bay where we rented a boat for the afternoon. We cruised to Bird Island. The day was warm, the breeze just perfect, the sky was blue, and we were all very happy! Our first stop was to a rocky outcrop. We were encouraged to put our hands in the water… and were soon rewarded with the most colourful fish I have seen in a long time! Snorkelling was not allowed in that part of the lake but the fish were so easily visible from the boat it did not seem to matter.
We moved away after a few minutes to proceed to Bird Island, so named for the many Fish Eagles that perch majestically atop the high trees and inhabit the island. An image will remain imprinted in my mind for a long time. The majestic glide of two fish eagles as they spotted lunch in the water and dived in with precision to catch prey. There was hardly a sound or a splash, and the catch was so quick, if you blinked, you missed it. I confess that some of us in the boat squealed and clapped. Beautiful? Oh! my goodness YES! A thousand times yes! To give you an idea of the size of the lake - Lake Malawi covers 20% of the surface area that is the country of Malawi, but there are many other smaller lakes equally special, equally breath-taking.
When you are having a good time, it is difficult to leave a place. I left lake Malawi and my lakeside pier refreshed, rejuvenated, filled with love for family and friends, satiated from good food and drink, grateful for the privilege of amazing friendships, and resolved to return as soon as I was able to.
As January draws to a close, I am dipping into my memory bank determined to hang on to the happiness and joy that Lake Malawi gave me. Wishing you all a good and happy 2018.
Go Travel. Explore. And Blaze a Trail.
Have you been to Lake Malawi?
Have you tasted Malawi Gin?
Have you felt the sand beneath your feet recently?
What happy memory sustains you when stress threatens to engulf you?
Founder and Owner