Yet another early start – up at 4:30am to get taxi at 5am except our taxi driver had overslept so no pickup until 5:45 for a bus which departs at 6am. We arrived so late last night we have not arranged for tickets do it is risky. Luckily there is room for us and our luggage so we leave Songea as we arrived in the pitch black. We board the bus and find seats.
The sun rises early on our journey revealing the hills below us as we descend. Much of our route is down with spectacular views amongst the early morning mists. The glow of the early morning sun tinting the landscape orange and exentuating the already reddish soil.
We are on a routine bus service. Our once empty bus fills and fills bus stop after bus stop. There is a phrase that a a bus is never really full in Africa -so this proves all the way from Songea to Mbinga (about half way to Mbamba Bay). There are as many as 30 in the aisle way at one point. Many disembark in Mbinga where the usual mix of food and sundry bits of hardware – we buy a solar lamp in preparation for camping in days to come and a soda amazingly with the Tanzanian version of Anita!
The tarmac disappears beyond Mbinga and turns to a dusty mud. This coats the roadside vegetation in a thick brown patina for miles as the road undulates.
The bus overfills again. As we near our destination the road drops revealing the Lake.
The name of this lake is very contentious and reflects the tension between Malawi and Tanzania. To many it is known as Lake Malawi, to Tanzanians and Mozambiquans it is known as Lake Nyassa. Malawi claim the entire lake right up to the Tanzanian coast, the Tanzanians object to this and international convention supports their view that the lake should be evenly split.
We arrive in Mbamba Bay just before noon and make our way to St Benadets, a Catholic run guesthouse – our home for two night while we enjoy this unspoiled beauty spot. Of which more tomorrow.
Modes of Transport
- Piki Piki
- Guest House – St Benadets
- $12.50 per room per night
- Mbamba Bay