The Absolute Safari Week 6: Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe

3 border crossings to 3 different countries over the space of one week makes for a whirlwind of experiences! From spit roasts in Lake Malawi, nothing much in Zambia, and the most magical sunset on a houseboat in Zimbabwe, Week 6 of the Absolute Safari is a week not to be missed:

Day 36: Lake Malawai

Mmmmm bacon

Mmmmm bacon

Today we arrived in Lake Malawi. It was the perfect relaxation break needed after a long few days of driving. The lake was so large that it seemed more like a beach. I decided to pay for a room for the first time on the trip, rather than camp in the tent. The room was basic, a little beach hut, but it was nice to have a real bed and a bit of privacy to skype my family and boyfriend. Kanyo treated us to a spit roast pig for dinner which was absolutely DIVINNNNNNEEEEEE! We all chowed down, and then headed down to the beach for some drinks and a bonfire. Some locals brought down some djembes to the beach and started a drum circle around the fire. It felt like we were living in a movie. 

Day 37: Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

I woke up today with a mighty hangover, and missed breakfast all together. I headed straight to the bar, to find the American boys from our group with heads in hand. Looking up to the TV, it didn't take me long to realise that President Trump had just won election. We drowned our sorrows and felt lucky to be in Africa for a few more weeks to avoid reality. The rest of the day was totally chill. I lounged about, gave some much-needed attention to my laundry, swam in the lake and fell asleep in a hammock reading a book by the beach. I could easily have spent a week here living this kind of lifestyle!

Sunset over the lake

Sunset over the lake

Day 38: Border Crossing 5

After just 2 short nights in Malawi, we crossed the border between Malawi and Zambia today. We were at the border for hours, and I was utterly dying for a pee! Unfortunately I had no local currency left on me, and some local men would not allow us entry to the facilities without payment. Lena came with me, and she had one coin on her. We argued our case to the men that women shouldn't be denied access to the toilets in an urgent situation but they were SO rude! Even though Lena had enough to pay for use of the toilet, being a lady of honour, she refused to pay if I couldn't go as well - bless her! 

Day 39: Lusaka

Driving in to Lusaka

Driving in to Lusaka

Today we drove to Lusaka, quite a built up city. We had about 2 hours to go shopping, and FINALLY I was able to get some more US Dollars and properly stock up. Ever since being pick-pocketed in Zanzibar, I had to borrow money from my kind fellow overlanders until I could get to the next big city with an ATM. It felt so goooood not to be desperate again, so I treated myself to an ice-cream and a good lunch. Driving into the campsite, there were zebra and giraffe grazing on the land right next door. I desperately wanted to go for a sunset run and get up close but unfortunately I was on cooking duty. We had a good dance in the bar and said our farewells to our guide, Kanyo, while welcoming our new guide, Peter.

Day 40: Border Crossing 6

The Cage on a Houseboat on Lake Kariba

The Cage on a Houseboat on Lake Kariba

Surprise, SURPRISE! Another border crossing... this time between Zambia and Zimbabwe! Our longest border crossing yet, it took half the day! One of our new travellers, a man from Montenegro, had passport problems as the border officials still had Montenegro listed as Serbia in the system and did not recognise his nationality. With a few calls to embassies, and hours of waiting around we were finally all allowed through! We were dreading the next border crossing with this new guy, and had no idea what to expect next time. 

We drove straight down to Lake Kariba to board our houseboat! How cool?!! For 2 nights, half of the group had opted to pay the extra for a houseboat adventure and let me tell you if ever presented with this opportunity, do not hesitate! I was so sad that half of the group missed out on this incredible experience.

The houseboat itself was pretty old and dingy but god was it fun! The kitchen and our rooms were downstairs, and the common area and a Jacuzzi upstairs. There were full staff on board to cook and clean for us so we could totally forget about our usual camping and cooking lifestyle. We sailed along for about 2 hours, coming to dock at land during sunset. Now if you've ever sneaked a peak at my instagram, you will know I'm a sucker for a good sunset (not so much sunrise, The Roaming Street is NOT an early riser), but hand on heart, I swear that this was the greatest sunset I am yet to see in my life. The sun, whole, huge and blazzzzing orange felt as though I could reach out and touch it. The sky danced with hues of pink and purple, becoming more vivid as every moment passed. 

The only thing that could have made this moment more perfect? There was a huge family of elephants grazing right next to the boat! I was so emotionally overcome by the beauty of this moment. THIS is why I came to Africa. Where else in the world could I be chilling on a houseboat, watching the most glorious Sunset EVERRRR, and be within 5 metres of my favourite animal just going about its daily business? Unfortunately, the sun was setting on the opposite side of the boat, so the perfect photo op never quite presented itself but a part of me was glad that it would forever remain a memory.

The staff cooked us a beautiful dinner as we laughed and drank the rest of the night away. I think I fell asleep on the deck sun-lounge and moseyed my way downstairs to my bedroom in the wee hours of the morning.

Day 41: Houseboat in Lake Kariba

Another glorious relaxing day on the houseboat. We had the jacuzzi filled up (with cold water mind you), fell asleep on a sun lounge for a solid nap, drank bevys in the crocodile cage and jumped off the top-story of the houseboat into the water. We took a barge out onto the water for a game cruise and got up close and personal with countless hippos and elephants. It was a perfect day with friends.

That night, we left the flaps of the bedroom open for a fresh breeze as we dozed off. We were startled awoke by knocks in the room (we didn't have a door, only a curtain) from the staff. Turns out, it was pissing down rain and they were coming into the rooms, one by one to let the flaps down so that we didn't wake up drenched. I thought it was all a dream until the next morning, need less to say I think I've figured out during this trip that I'm a pretty heavy sleeper!

Day 42: Houseboat in Lake Kariba

This morning we headed back to shore to regain normal truck life. With a bit of rain, the ride back became rocky and majority of us were turning green. Out for the count with seasickness, we didn't eat breakfast until about 10 minutes before hitting land. We unpacked the boat, and trucked on for 5 hours to our next campsite. After indulging in Zanzibar, by Lake Malawi and on the houseboat, I was feeling a bit frumpy and managed to fit in a quick workout before dinner. It was a memorable night when Amie got drunk as a skunk, and passed out in her Spaghetti!

In case you missed it, click here to read about Week 5 in Zanzibar...

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The Absolute Safari Week 6