Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Before leaving from Tanzania to Malawi it was essential to fill the tank properly, because Malawi had been suffering from the fuel crisis for a long time already, which means that occasionally there is fuel at the stations and most of the time there is not.

If we look at the large map of Africa, Malawi is a small country, it means that small in Africa's scale, but from top to bottom along the roads it still is more than 1,000 kilometers, which is the same distance as from Tallinn to Warsaw. And to cover this distance of 1000 km , one must have a minimum of 100 liters of diesel and plus twenty more liters, because there will be driving in the mountains again , and just in case of emergency there must be some reserve as well.


Kaporo border crossing, the Tanzanian border to Malawi. In Tanzania`s side, the clearance formalities were normal, the biggest difference was the big number of money changers and already long before the border. In the last gas station there were about 5-6 of them around the car offering their service and they were just at the right place. So having bought the fuel I could change the last Tanzanian Shillings into Malawi kwatcha. Even metallic money was accepted.

All formalities at the border took perhaps 10 minutes a maximum. The temple appeared on the passport without any question. And the car documents also took only a moment. No one was interested in the car and what is there inside the car, not to mention the chassis and engine numbers.


Tanzania - Malawi border through the windscreen. Between the two countries there is a river and a few hundred meters of no-man`s land. Local residents walk freely in both directions, of course. A little further on the Malawi BIP is seen. Here, everything was quick as well. At first somebody appeared to the car and tried to sell me a local insurance, but in response I pointed out the copy of COMESA insurance, pasted on the windshield, that is valid according to the documents also in Malawi.


And here it took very little time as well. Perhaps because it was Saturday, and probably even more because the previous day there had been unrest in Mbeya and large cars were not driving. According to the information in the internet this unrest had lasted for three days.

Particularly I remember the car clearance. I passed over my Carnet and an employee in uniform took it and left the room without a word into a back room. And a minute later he was back again, with my Carnet in hand. I was wondering what was the matter now, but actually everything was already accomplished. And I was addressed: "Welcome to Malawi."

On the whole I can say that Malawi is a beautiful mountainous country.


A million view of Lake Malawi



Dwellings on the shore of Lake.


A view of the lake from the camping site. The sand was blazing hot, the air temperature was about 40 degrees. As to swimming – it was said that Bilharzia lives in this beautiful African lake. Bilharzia is a small parasite that can get to a human body through the pores of the skin.


An unclassified visitor in the shower room of the camp. It waited quietly on the wall, until I brought up the camera.





Tomato Merchant




I bought almost 20 liters, but could not watch any longer how the numbers are running and the sum is growing. The price was 360 Kwasha per liter, or 1.61 euro according to the official rate of exchange. As of now, the most expensive diesel bought in Africa.


A bit blurry, this picture was taken through the windscreen, but this is the way that firewood is transported by bike. Up the hill it is pushed and down the hill it goes with its own weight. And there really is enough weight.

The main thing that breaks will last, do not want to think about what happens to the cyclist, when he can`t stop the bike.


The transport of coal.



It was evident that there had happened large forest fires recently, because in some places the mountainsides had burned bare.


The road to the next overnight place. It is wise to start looking for a place to stop - when the sun will set in less than two hours and there are more than 200 kilometers to the capital. This means that you are driving, and when there is a sign by the road referring to a campsite , you should go and see.


The large road sign was decent, a little worn out , but still this kind that I went to see what it is that they are advertising. The first kilometers there was a decent gravel road.


Only further on the road turned narrower and increasingly bumpier.


At least according to road signs it should be the right way.


Campsite. A shadow place


And to get hot water fire was made in the oven.



This is already Lilongwe, the capital. Traffic was sparse compared to other East African capitals, but the fuel crisis has taken its toll.



Lilongwe, Mabuja Camp.

And a longer stop in order to get the visa of South Africa into the passport.

By the way – South Africa is visa-free to the majority of citizens of other countries and to the majority of citizens of EU countries. So when I talked about this situation at the camping place the people were surprised to learn that Estonians were not included there. So we belong to this kind of a group that has to apply for a visa from a Passport Division of place of residence (that is - the nearest embassy). And this nearest Embassy is in Helsinki. Good. Realistically, it should look like this - either I drive myself there or send the passport by a courier company, DHL, or UPS to Helsinki and then the passport will be sent back to me. Anyway, do not want to make a test with my passport - as if and how quickly it would be returned to me.
So in the morning I took my passport, beautifully written in Estonian "The European Union, Estonia" and went to the Embassy to explore the situation.

At the Embassy I explained the situation (coming from Estonia to South Africa etc, etc). To make a long story short – I met all the needed requirements and the next day gave the documents over to the Embassy. I was told that in case they had questions they would make a call. And I myself was to call them the day after tomorrow. That was on Friday. And on Friday I got mu visa.

I do not know who should deal with those things that we could also have equal rights like the other members of EU in this issue.

Meanwhile, the idea came to mind to apply for a Zambian visa, but since it was supposed to be received at the border without any problems, I continued my journey on Saturday morning towards the Zambian border. But in the next post more about it. .

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