We arrived just as the sun was about to set. We wove through the village to our lodge, occasionally sneaking peeks of the lake in between the walls of shoreline houses; with goats, dogs and ducks dominating the sandy, two track road and chattering women and children silhouetted by the sunset. As we neared the lodge, the sun dipped down behind the lake islands and the sound of drums and singing filled the atmosphere. For the first time ‘the warm heart of Africa’, began to pump through my veins!
The lake is a happy place. It has a vibe about it that is similar to the sea, yet completely different. There is no seafood, shells or crashing waves. And unlike the ocean beach life which seems to be dominated by tides, Malawi lake life seems to be centred around ‘day light hours and daily chores.’ If you wake up early enough, the beach is almost yours – except for the odd early riser! The boats can be seen bobbing in the water and ‘dug outs’ paddle out into the horizon, disappearing into the misty waters like ghosts. Early morning on the lake is a gentle start to the day.
Then the sun rises and like a crack of lightning, the bustle begins. The sound of clattering pots and pans being washed fills the air; the giggles of children messing about in the sand, mums scolding them, and the vendors pitching their sales talk at any tourist attempting a morning stroll!
That’s about when I quickly retreated to the calm of the lodge gardens for my daily caffeine fix of strong Malawian coffee. From there, we went for breakfast in our French-owned lodge ( http://www.capemaclodge.com/ ) and were fattened up like a flock of foie gras geese on homemade jams and sausages, proper poached eggs and waffles with creamy homemade ice-cream – and that was just for breakfast! We were
fat good and ready for a lazy day on the calm Malawi lake waters; a day of sunning our pale winter skins, exploring the islands, snorkeling around the giant submerged boulders and having our toes kissed by exotic fish.
By midday, we returned to our our french abode where we rested our tired, tomato blushed bodies and quenched our thirst with an ice cold pint of Kuche Kuche beer. We lazed around until the late afternoon then hit the beach for another round of boating and beach vendors. My husband at one stage got hooked by a couple of Malawian artists and was presented with his own private art gallery show. He came away with 2 paintings, having never been interested in buying art before!
As the sun said it’s good byes and darkness was creeping in, the music began. A young band of kids assembled on the beach and pummled their home-made drums, singing songs with words of ‘Welcome to Malawi and Hakuna Matata!’
Our first family experience of Malawi lake has left us wanting more. And I breathe a sigh of relief! Because for the first time, I’m getting that feeling that Malawi will become home and that sometimes the first step to making a place home, is to make a memory.
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
― Sarah Dessen