A Travellerspoint blog

Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe

I am ashamed to say I have been having too much fun to write here for the past 5 weeks nearly. Hence it is coming in parts...

33 °C

So we left Zanzibar behind amidst post-election tension and demonstrations and went back to the mainland for another day on the beach near Dar Es Salam. The next couple of days were spent on the road to Malawi, with a stopover in Iringa where our trip into town involved helping some kids with their English homework, getting our photo taken by locals and getting a tuk tuk designed for 3 home with 7 people hanging off of it! The 13 hour drives to Malawi were well rewarded when we arrived by the beautiful beaches along the lake shore where we spent the next 4 nights. The people of Malawi are as friendly as we'd heard and it is easy to see why Madona keeps coming back as the kids are adorable. What is sobering though is when you realise how many AIDS orphans there are - average life expectancy at birth here is only 43 years old and over 50% of the population are under 15 years old. We went to visit the school in one town and although the school was closed (it was Saturday) there were plenty of kids hanging out who wanted to play and have their photo taken. We were told proudly that education is now compulory in Malawi - for 5 years of primary education. It definitely left me feeling more than privileged. Despite all of this the welcome was incredibly warm and we had a very relaxing few days. I learnt to play Bao from a local who sold me a board so beware when I get home I might be trying to convert you!

Zambia was (disappointingly) spent pretty much driving through - full days on the road broken up with a couple of campsites at Chipata and Lusaka until we got to Livingstone. The driving was actually starting to get a bit tedious and so it was a relief to go on a dinner/booze cruise on the Zambezi in Livingstone and spot some Hippos before letting our hair down at the campsite bar.

Leaving Livingstone, we crossed the border into Zimbabwe at Vic Falls where we were to spend a few days. One of the guys from the tour is actually Zimbabwean and his Dad was kind enough to kart us all around in the back of his SUV for a few days. We watched some of the guys throw themselves off the bridge (bungee jumping), went white water rafting in grade 5 rapids which was terrifying (I had no idea what I was letting myself into until the insurance company charged us £32 per person for one day to cover us), we walked with lions and got to stroke them, and I did a zip line with another girl across the gorge. Not to forget a lovely walk along the falls which are still stunning even in low water. After the zip line, the girl I did a tandem with decided to do the gorge swing (70metre freefall into a swing across the gorge) and her boyfriend (the guy from Zimbabwe) said he would do it tandem with her last minute and proposed at the bottom!! The champagne flowed freely at the game restaurant we all went to that night...
After Vic Falls however it was sad news - over half the group were leaving as our group was getting divided up and some were going home and others straight to Jo'burg. Hopefully we will be seeing some of them in Oz or NZ this year but it is amazing what 3 weeks on an overland truck does to how you feel about a group of strangers.

Posted by Sydnico 04:22 Archived in Zimbabwe

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