We are on our way to Senga Bay! We finally get to celebrate Andrew’s birthday away from work and away from Lilongwe. Right now we are waiting in traffic, so let’s hope we make our bus before it leaves… But it is Africa so if the bus says it was supposed to leave at 7:30 (10 minutes ago) that means it will probably leave at 9:30 or 10:00. We have plenty of time to spare in that case…
The plan for Senga Bay is to spend our time swimming in the lake and catching fish for the rest of our time here in Malawi. We love fish, and it always tastes better when you cook then yourself…
To give you an idea of what people tried to sell us on our trip this time…
Stop one: apples from South Africa, refilled plastic water bottles, Fanta, used clothing, used purses, African donuts (mandasi), African bread roll (Obama), fresh potato chips, samosas, flavored milk drinks, tangerines, used bouncy balls, oil in little plastic sacks
Stop 2: We were too busy snacking on Andrew’s birthday cake to take note at this stop
Senga Bay is beautiful, and very close to Lilongwe! We arrived only 2 hours after we departed. The lake is only 60 kilometers from Lilongwe but still, that is amazing time for Africa.
We checked into Cool Runnings Backpacker Lodge, a place I would highly recommend to anyone going to Senga Bay. Andrew and I were put in a beautiful room all to ourselves for the small cost of $10/person per night. The hostel is located right on the beach, and only a short walk from the local market, fishing village, crocodile farm, and hippo sanctuary. Prime location if you ask me.
One of Andrew and I’s favorite things to do is to walk through the beachside villages. Just like in India, the beaches were full of women washing clothing, children playing in the sand, and people bathing with soap and whitey-tidys. I’m not sure if the stereotype that “black people don’t know how to swim” is true, because I saw many locals taking a dip in the water.
We always visit the local markets to buy snacks for our walks. The theme of our snacking for Senga Bay seems to be Baobab, tangerines, freshly baked rolls, and popcorn puffs… We do our best to experiment with the local cuisine.
We probably walked 10-15 kilometers up and down the beach, exploring a nearby fishing village on our way. We tried to convince some of the fisherman to take us fishing with them but we were unsuccessful.
The boats that the fisherman use look like little hollowed out logs and I’m not sure if they could withstand the weight one one, let alone two other passengers. Due to the wind and rough waters of Lake Malawi, each fisherman pays a larger motorboat to take them out into the lake. Each motorboat piles on 5-10 fishermen and their boats and takes them out o fish for 1-2 hours. Most of the time the fisherman can get back to shore on their own, and when they do there is always people on the shore waiting to buy their fish.
We observed several fisherman coming into shore after a long day fishing. The entire bottom of their boat is full of fish and the moment they pulled onto the sand, people are digging through the assortment of fish bidding this price or that price for a fresh fish.
The fish that are not sold on the lakeside are dried on large driers built in the centre of the fishing village. Those fish are ten taken to Lilongwe and sold at the markets (the same fish that we see everyday that we go into town.)
The life of a fisherman looks tough, but much more enjoyable than the lives of many of the farmers here in Malawi. Andrew and I decided that if we lived in Malawi, we would become fishermen.
(Below: Andrew’s post)
Waking up with nothing but time on your hands has its ups and downs. I’ve found in Africa, it only has positives that I can think of thus far! I guess that’s not entirely true.. Even though Kylie and I woke up feeling quite relaxed, within one hour we were on our way to the old town bus station. We were off to Senga Bay.
Senga Bay is another small section of lake Malawi that many people in Lilongwe go to. The journey is much shorter than monkey bay, and we’ve heard equally good ratings about the area. Miles of lakeside beach and beautiful scenery. Who knows, we may even see a hippo this time around!
We boarded our bus an hour later than its departure time and left another hour after that. African time, has its ups and downs. The ride was smooth and uneventful, with really only two mentionable things. The first was, I was sitting next to a mother of two on the ride and one of her kids, a little boy was adorable. Adorable, but also quite sticky. Each time my arm nudged his arm, I’d stick to him a bit. It was kinda nasty, but kinda funny as well. As the journey continued he even fell asleep on my shoulder. That was the adorable part.
The second thing to mention was at a police inspection point I got some hassling from the officer since I wanted to get back on the bus. He wouldn’t let me pass at first thinking I was trying to get back on board to hassle him. After a few moments of chatting he believed I wasn’t smuggling anything and let me on board after he completed his very ‘in depth’ inspection.
Our ride to Senga Bay was very smooth, we met a nice kid named George who was going to study seed development at university, and we spent the time chatting to him. He even let us know when to get off which was nice.
Senga Bay is quite similar to monkey bay. From ‘Cool Runnings’ the backpackers lodge we are staying at, we have a complete view of lake Malawi. We can even see in the far horizon the edge of Mozambique! It’s a beautiful spot and I would recommend anyone come stay here. The area and view are simply stunning. Kylie and I decided to wander the miles of beach to take it all in.
We returned just in time to catch Kylie’s conference call with the team back in the states. It was a productive and very fun day!