THE WARM HEART OF AFRICA

As one of the most fascinating countries in South Africa, Malawi welcomes you with hospitable locals as well as a myriad of wild nature sites – like the highlighted Cape Maclear.

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In the afternoon, the bus finally stopped in the central station of Monkey Bay, a town on the shore of remarkable Lake Nyasa – the third largest lake in Africa and occupies almost a fifth of Malawi’s area. The lake is shared between Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. Despite the latter being the smallest in area, the lake is best known as Lake Malawi.

A beat-up Toyota brought me to my final destination, the fishing village of Cape Maclear. As I left the town, the run-down buildings gave way to a breathtaking view of green hills rising above the fields and mango plantations, and the workers making their way home after a long day. Travellers of Africa should try using public transportation, mostly for the colourfulness and authenticity.

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I arrived at Cape Maclear after sundown. Today, the village is an indispensable part of the Malawi tourist route, and many backpackers arrive there and enjoy the many activities the village offers: a local market, where you can get unique souvenirs; boating in wood-carved canoes; hiking tracks in the mountains; and obviously, scuba diving or snorkeling in the clear lake.

After I settled myself in a humble straw cabin, I went down to the beach and dipped my feet in the pleasant water of the lake. From the nearest guest house I could hear African music, and not far from me, a golden-haired tourist frolicked in the lake water with one of the famous dreadlocked Beach Boys of Cape Maclear.

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The next morning, I woke to the sound of waves. The blue water and white sand, together with the baobab trees, gave the shore the look of a typical African island. The blue skies were adorned with wispy cirrus clouds, local women washed colourful clothing in the lake, and from afar I could see a group of fishermen making their way back to the village. Only the laughter of children in the distance broke the silence.

Then, I met ‘Big Mike’ ..

Find out about Big Mike, a palm canoe trip and amazing diving at Thumbi West Island, a fabulous local meal, the Chewa tribe and the secret cult Gule Wamkulu in full version.


Text and photos by Liron Shimoni
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