Mwanza, Malawi border, 5:00pm. No problems to exit Mozambique, but 2 hours to enter into Malawi, main activity to exchange money. We change at a rate of 1 US$ = 250 Kwacha (Malawian Kwacha), official exchange rate is 1 US$ = 165 Kwacha. What a deal ! We want to change 600US$, which creates a logistical problem, as the dealer has to collect so much money from friends and family. Counting takes about 30 minutes and leaves us with a pile of money 8 cm thick. It’s dark now and raining. The lodge, we want to stay over in Mwanza turns out to be at Dedza, 200 km north, my planning mistake. We have to go east, decide to find a place in Blantyre, only 100 km away, one of the two major cities in Malawi. Thanks to Claudia’s Garmin we find a groovy place in town with good food and clean beds and reasonable prices. Next morning we are heading to Mt. Mulanje (highest mountain in Malawi, over 3000 m).
But we need to refill, first fuel station no Diesel, at the second they tell us, there is no Diesel in town since 4 weeks, but there is also no Diesel anywhere in Malawi, we are starting to panic. Could we have known this – probably “Yes”, so again my planning mistake. Malawi is the country, we want to spend most time in. The owner of our last night stay over lodge was a friendly rasta guy from Camaron, he might know more. After driving back to his place he confirms the situation, tells us that lots of people die, as ambulance can’t get them to the hospitals any more, that most of the businesses have already closed down, that the actual president has managed to chase away every international help organization and has been unfriendly to every president of the surrounding countries. Help can only come from the Chinese ! – Good to know. But his friend is a depot manager at Total, he might know more. And indeed, Diesel is expected to be available at certain places (thanks to the Chinese) within the next days. Unclear, what “next” means. But it’s a great idea to go to Mt. Mulanje (only 50 km away, which we can still make) and wait there, as the president has one of his holiday resorts there, that’s why the local fuel station will be filled up first.
We make it to Mt. Mulanje, problems to find the lodge, even Garmin can’t help, wasted 30 km on bumpy gravel roads doesn’t only mean 2 lost hours, but causes serious back ache. After a few Gin&Tonic we feel recovered, what a great place, definitely something to come back to, we decide to stay longer. First night fantastic, lots of moths, next day climbing the mountain (some new butterflies), food fresh and tasty and there are other people ! Two other couples share the lodge with us. We quickly get into contact and discover a funny pattern. One lady is from the US, the other one from Australia, both boys are Malawians from Mulanje village, former guides for tourists, who want to climb/track the mountain. The one boy, married to the US lady 2 years ago, felt home sick, that’s why they are here. The other one, tall slim really good looking, is still in the process of being acquired by this super fat Australian lady, who is very clear about her intentions. It looks like, being a Mulanje mountain guide can easily turn into a “green card”. But we can’t help ourselves not to discuss, how sex could work between them.