Nkhata Bay is a port town that is found along the shores of Lake Malawi in Malawi. Lake Malawi also known as Lake Nyasa is a fresh water lake that is shared among Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. It is the ninth largest lake in the world and the third largest lake in Africa. I assure you, once you arrive in Nkhata Bay, your whole body goes into excess relaxation due to the serene, relaxed nature of the area. Here, I relaxed and had many “first ” experiences.
1.Enjoy the beauty that is Lake Malawi:
a) Be star truck by its beauty:
Lake Malawi is beautiful and I couldn’t get enough of it. I enjoyed engaging in basic activities like just looking at it. The waters are clean, crystal clear and one can easily see fish and rocks without even having to snorkel. For the adventurous, please engage in water activities like kayaking and cliff jumping like I did.
b. Cliff Jumping:
Be warned, Lake Malawi will seduce you in more ways than one. Its cool, clean, clear waters will entice you to trust it, to relax, to let loose and let it unleash your inner being. After gazing into its dark blue eyes, I found myself engaging in activities I had never been attracted to, as if in a trance. I seemed to be moving on auto pilot as we arrived at the cliff jumping spot via kayak, got off the kayak, climbed to the top of the cliff and stood watching this beautiful expansive mass of water before us. As I stood at the edge of the cliff, fear engulfed me and I wondered what if I struck a rock once I jumped? what if it turned out too deep for me to resurface? what if I drowned, what if…what if..what if…the narratives were buzzing in my mind. However, as I looked at the waters below, as I watched the soft waves glide over the water, as I watched the suns reflection on the waters, as I watched the suns rays shimmering on Lake Malawi, it seemed to say, “Trust me.” . I could not turn down such seduction, such enticement, such beauty and I jumped without a care in the world. The feeling there after is priceless.
I had watched people kayak severally and never even thought of joining in. However while here, I was curious about how it felt to kayak and that is how I found myself convincing my friend David to take me out on a kayak. I put on my life jacket just incase and sat back at first to enjoy the ride as David rowed. It is breathtaking gliding slowly on the waters, hearing the gushing noise created when the kayak disturbed the calm waters and indeed watching the expansive mass of water before us. Eventually when I joined in to row, I discovered it is indeed a tedious task and I am very sure I toned my arm muscles somewhat. At first it was difficult, the oar seemed unable to push the water behind, I lacked rhythm, we seemed to be stagnant, but after a bit off practice, I got the hang of it.
3: Chikale Beach:
This is the hang out place if you want to mix and mingle with more locals. It is indeed a clean beach, the sand is gritty and the sun likes to come out and play.
4. Make Friends:
I cannot stress enough about making friends in all the destinations one visits. I made friends with a young man called David and he truly enriched my trip. I was able to interact with the locals more, I got to kayak, cliff jump courtesy of his incitement, and I got to explore Nkhata Bay. Thank you David.
4: Engage Fishermen:
Fishing is a way of life in this area and thus small fishing boats and canoes are a common feature.
There is a wide variety of accommodation options to suit different tastes and pockets. I stayed over at Mayoka Village and I highly recommend it. It is located on the shores of Lake Malawi and thus I had a Lake View from my room. Also, being that close allowed me to enjoy listening to the lake waters crashing on the rocks during high tide at night, a sound I truly love. The facility is eco-friendly in so many ways, their chalets are great, their food amazing and they offer amenities like kayaks, boat rides, canoes, snorkelling among others for free to guests. Their customer service is top notch and they get an A* for going out of their way to ensure their clients are happy. When I arrived, I discovered I didn’t have adequate money to pay the cab driver. One of the staff overheard me asking the driver to give me a few minutes to get my stuff in the room and then we could go to the ATM( Not recommended, ever!). They informed their boss and by the time I was returning from my room, they offered to settle my bill with the cab driver which would be recovered from my final bill. Who does this for a stranger? Thank You Mayoka.
Getting to Malawi was a crazy adventure at best and indeed the longest ride overland I have ever taken in a short period. It was also the last leg of my backpacking expedition, overland, via public means covering Kenya-Tanzania-Zambia-Zimbabwe-Botswana-Namibia-Malawi-Tanzania-Kenya. From Namibia, I opted to travel straight to Malawi thus travelled by bus from Windhoek in Namibia to Lusaka in Zambia covering 1908 km and took about 24hours. By the time I arrived in Lusaka it was late in the night and thus I planned to continue early morning. The next day, I hitchhiked a ride from a fellow guest from Lusaka to Chipata covering about 570 km km in about 7 and a half hours. I crossed over into Malawi and got my entry stamp at their immigration office as a Kenyan does not require a visa prior to travel. I then took a taxi from the border point to Mchinji town which took about an hour. I then took a mini van from Mchinji to Lilongwe a distance of about 110km and took about 2 hours. In Lilongwe, after waiting several hours at the bus stop, I finally got a bus from Lilongwe to Mzuzu traveling a distance of about 355km in about 6hours. This is the craziest bus ride I have ever taken as we sat on the floor of the bus for the whole ride, all 6 hours- story to be shared in another article. From Mzuzu, I took a cab to Nkhata Bay covering about 48km in one hour. I was physically and mentally exhausted by the time I arrived in Nkhata Bay having covered about 3000km iin about two and a half days, via road. Though gruesome, I made it within my stipulated timelines albeit my body complaining. I highly do not recommend anyone from travelling this fast-Dont. Next time I will take time to rest in the other towns, my body was bust for a long time and I put myself in near harms way while at it..
Malawi is indeed an amazing place to visit, everything from the really warm people I met, to successfully enticing me to partake in cliff jumping and kayaking among others. This is one place I really had a well deserved rest. I need to return so as to explore more like visiting the islands.
For more on Malawi, check out: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/malawi-101/