July 16, 2024

A friendly crossing into Malawi

Mama Rula’s campsite has a great bar and chill-out area as you can see from the photo below:

Mama Rula bar
We updated our blog and read our emails and had some “slap” chips and beer from the bar – a real treat!

Bar area at Mama Rula

Here is Francois and Raphael the friendly bar man:

Raphael and Francois
This evening we had a few extra campers (two overland groups) and here you can get an idea of what the camping scene looked like and grass is always a bonus!

Mama Rula Campsite
It seems like the article that appeared in yesterday’s Burger newspaper jinxed me – “Tania val vas in die Kalaharisand” as I have been a bit clumsy the last two days.

Tania val vas
There is a certain technique to getting out of our tent, best way to to tackle the climbing out is to do it “slowly”, but sometimes it works better to get out fast with a sort of jump skip and hop! Yesterday this technique failed as I plummeted face first out of the tent with this approach. Luckily I am not yet thirty so everything remained intact, except the ego… and then this morning as we stopped at the filling station to fill up one last time before driving to the border, my right foot slipped (I was merely standing there in the petrol queue minding my own business) and I plummeted down again “gat oor kop” in front of everybody… again the ego bruised as the whole place was full of people (mostly men). I then saw the oily patch on the ground where I slipped – ai! I then still had to refuel, pay before I could race off, how embarrassing and not an everyday sight in Chipata :o)

We then left for the Malawi border post and this time we were more confident that we will do better than last time. As we stopped at the Zambian side the “money changers / fixers” rushed to us to do business. This time we were firm and polite and told them that we were sorted as we already had Malawian Kwatchas and our carnet. They soon got the message and then did not bother us anymore.

The officials on the Zambian side were very friendly and there were almost no other people so all went quickly. We first got our passports stamped (after filling out a departure form), then stamped our Carnets (and filled in the giant log book) and off we went to the Malawian side.

The photo below I quickly took to show you the chickens on the back of this truck.

Chickens at the border
The Malawian border building is very neat and again not many people. We completed our entry form and they stamped our passports. They also asked us how many days we will be staying and how much money we have on us. Formalities done, we had one last task to get our 3rd party insurance sorted… However, as we arrived at the gate 5 meters from the immigration building, they asked us for our “gate pass” which we did not get. But not to worry we quickly turned back and got the passes – the passes were merely a piece of brown cardboard with the words “gate pass” written on it in pen. About 50 meters along we went into a white alone-standing building to get our insurance. This was way better than the dilapidated caravan we had to visit at the previous border crossing. They started their generator to get the computer up and running and we started the process. We still had about 165 000 Zambian Kwatchas with us and asked if we could pay with it, she said that they were not allowed, but then after a quick phone call someone came along to help us with exchanging the money. We paid 6000 Malawian Kwatchas for our insurance and then entered Malawi.

On the way to Lilongwe (after 130km) we easily filled up with petrol. The petrol attendant said that they only have a problem getting diesel so it sounds ok. We also crossed through three police stops, at one we were merely waved through and at the other two they checked our third party insurance. At the last stop, the police man’s final question to me was: “And what is your relation with this one? (pointing towards Francois)” but he was satisfied when I said “husband”! Francois did not get the same question… not sure what his intention was, but we had no hassles.

We stopped along the way to buy some sugar cane. Sugar cane is really cheap here and we paid R2.50 for two long pieces. She broke them for us into smaller pieces to take along.

Sugar cane
Here Francois is loading all the sugar cane on his bike. This will definitely last us a while!

Loading the sugar cane
We arrived in Lilongwe at 13h30 and checked in at Mabuya Camp, the local backpackers lodge. We cooled down in the pool and then made some lunch – today potatoes, tomatoes and salami concoction – very good!

Lunch at Mabuya Camp Lilongwe
After an afternoon nap (it’s a tough life I know!) we are now updating our IT stuff as we have Internet access here tonight!

3 thoughts on “A friendly crossing into Malawi

  1. Baie stylvol en gemaklik. Trots op ons twee Afrikaanse kinders wat besig is om ‘n droom te verwesenlik. Ek glo ek praat namens baie as ek sê dat ons almal julle sal ondersteun op watter wyse ook al, om hierdie tog te voltooi. Julle moet net skree as iets nodig is….en onthou: GENIET dit !! Ry veilig en kyk mooi na julle self. Oom Abie en Tannie Annette, Katima Mulilo.

  2. Wow, what you folks are doing is really lekker. Glad to see bikes are still good.
    I enjoy your write up every morning with a cuppa.
    Keep Well
    Alex Gush

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