I thought I’d miss the ocean living in a landlocked country, but it seems the lake is just fine! With an endless stream of activity, my eyes are glued to the shoreline and water from morning to noon. It does not matter what time of day, there is always something happening! Whether it be the hum of returning Kapenta boats, loaded with dugouts and napping fishermen. Or the call of the fish eagle, or the spectacular sunsets that make you gasp with every passing minute. The lake is a live show of nature, of patterns, of colour and culture. A place for making memories.
“Excuse me while I kiss the sky!” – Jimi Hendrix
There is something for everyone here. But know what you want! Some people like the hustle and bustle; the busy beach vibe, a close up of the local lake culture, with curio markets, vendors and restaurants in abundance. And some people, like myself, prefer the quieter and more private locations. (Although you should know that unless you go to a small island, you will never be completely alone!)
When we go to the lake, we are lucky enough to have the use of a private company house which is on the quieter side of Cape Maclear, near to Otters point. For us, a day at Cape Maclear starts off with a strong cup of Satemwa Filter coffee on the condi, while watching the lake wake up.
“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” -Henry David Thoreau
Then we hop onto a trusty old boat with a 15 horse power motor and chug along the shoreline or to the islands. We pack a few pairs of goggles for snorkeling (Lake Malawi is famous for its colourful Cichlid fish), some cold drinks and beers, a fishing rod or 2 for the kids (although we have never caught a fish in Malawi) snacks and sunblock. And my camera, I never leave without the canon!
Depending on where you are on the lake, watch out for the crocodiles! Most shorelines are inhabited by crocs, especially near the river mouths. If you’re not sure, head out to deep water in a boat, a good distance from the shore and take a dip. Or find a rocky island with no reeds or beaches! Cape Maclear is good to swim, so we’re told!
“Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama
By the time you get back, you’re sometimes as red as a tomato and in need of an afternoon snooze. And of course, it’s imperative that you build up enough energy for ‘Sundowners;’ watching yet another extraordinary African sunset that the lake so faithfully delivers and a new round of gin and tonic! (For those of you who are not familiar with Malawi, Malawi brews a cracking local gin and tonic. The beverage has rightfully acquired fame for it’s smooth and unique taste and is a must when visiting any part of Malawi, especially the lake!
But before the evening processions, another refreshing dip in the lake is required, a cup of tea maybe and a few more pages of your book that you fell asleep with while reading earlier!
But be ready for the sunset, it comes sooner than you think. Have the camera on the tripod, a cooler box full of drinks and ice and gather your friends and family! Prepare yourself for an hour long show (at the most) of an array of changing colours, from a soft pink and purple hue to deep orange and red with streaks of white and blue. It seems everything happens all at once at this time – the climax of a perfect day; the silhouetted boats and flocks of birds in the distance, the laughter of friends gathered around a table, a kingfisher diving for it’s final fish and the sunset…an eruption of colour. Everything about this hour is mesmerising. It’s generous in it’s beauty, in the memories created and is the backbone of an enduring love affair with the lake.
bzzzzzzzzzz bzzzzzzzzz, swat, swat- and just like that, I hear it and am snapped out of my dreamy state . That annoying little mosquito with a lethal bite is gunning for my big toe! It’s time for us to retreat indoors and to follow the delicious aroma wafting out from the cottage kitchen, of Kampango fish and chips – the meal we have been looking forward to all day!
“Dusk is just an illusion because the sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are there cannot be one without the other yet they cannot exist at the same time. How would it feel I remember wondering to be always together yet forever apart?” – Nicholas Sparks
“Travel is like love mostly because it’s heightened state of awareness in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed, that is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” – Pico Lyer