After three relaxing rest days in Senga Bay, it was time to get back on our Qhubeka Buffalo bikes and start heading north up the lake to Nkhotakota.
We packed up camp at first light, said our goodbye’s to Sam from the wonderful Cool Runnings Campsite and started our 128km cycle we had ahead of us. The Armstrong’s met up with Bryan to help with some of the shopping that was needed to be done and to follow him until they caught up with us on the road. Cam’s mom, Charlotte, wanted to ride along with Bobby in the Jeep to get the full experience of what it is like to drive behind us cyclists at around 18km/h. Cam’s father, Bill Armstrong and Bryan then drove ahead to sort out the accommodation for the night. The Armstrong’s had already booked into a place called Kwathu Lodge for the night but they did not offer camping so Warrick had found a place on his mapping software called Fish Eagle Lodge down the road from Kwathu Lodge, which he asked Bryan to go and check out whether we could stay there.
The 128km ride was fairly flat the whole way but it was really hot with a bit of wind. Bryan was successful with arranging camping at Fish Eagle Lodge so we followed the signs there. Once we arrived we were looking for where the campsite had been setup but we were pleasantly surprised to find Bryan, Bill and a group of locals by the Ford and trailer which was very much stuck in the beach sand. Bryan hadn’t deflated the tyres enough before driving through the sand to where we were going to be camping and got stuck. The boys got off their bikes and all started to deflate the tyres to try give the car some traction to get it out the sand with the trailer. After a few attempts they were eventually successful and got the car and trailer out the thick sand to this amazing campsite that looks over the lake and we have our own personal lapa to ourselves.
The Armstrong’s accommodation unfortunately was a bit of a disaster. Kwathu Lodge is nothing like it is advertised online and doesn’t have a bar or restaurant. As a result, they decided to rather forfeit their deposit at the run-down Kwathu Lodge and book into the chalets at Fish Eagle Lodge.
We spent our rest day at Fish Eagle Lodge just relaxing and catching up with the Armstrong’s. Gareth and Bryan went out onto the Lake on a catamaran they organised with the lodge. Warrick asked one of the staff at the lodge to teach him how to play a local game which involves marbles and a wooden carved board called Bawo. He then taught us all to play which is a lot of fun and we are hoping to buy our own set of the game when we get to a local market. That evening the Armstrong’s kindly treated us all to a dinner at the restaurant at the lodge.
The next day we all got up at sunrise to pack up camp to head further north up the lake to Ngala Beach Lodge. We also had to say goodbye to the Armstrong’s who were going to go back to the Sunbird Livingstonia Hotel in Senga Bay for a night as they have a late morning flight to catch back to Johannesburg from Lilongwe today.
The cycle to Ngala Beach Lodge was around 92km. The route profile was fairly flat with a few rolling hills but we had a headwind to deal with that thankfully wasn’t as difficult to ride in as we expected as it was blowing a gale when we left Fish Eagle Lodge. Ngala Beach Lodge is a really beautiful campsite with great views looking over Lake Malawi.
From Ngala Beach Lodge we had a short ride of 75km to our next campsite along the lake called Chintheche Inn, which was recommended to us by the very helpful lady Sandy from Ngala Beach Lodge. We are here for one night and will be heading through to Mzuzu tomorrow for what we believe to be a very hilly cycle leg.