As soon as we arrive in Likoma we set our watches back an hour, we are now just one hour ahead of the UK.
Our boat weighs anchor and immediately the rope snaps. We then spend much of the next half an hour retrieving the anchor and positioning the boat in the shallow bay. A small boat comes alongside and ferries us ashore.
Finally we can disembark and set foot in Malawi. We pile our bags on the beach and leave them with the kids while we head off into town to find the immigration office. We wander through the village, a hotchpotch of houses intersected by dusty paths. After ten minutes or so we find the immigration office; an ordinary house, chickens in the yard, a woman doing her washing and a guy with some forms and a stamp. We are officially in Malawi.
We wander back through the village in search of a SIM and some Malawian Kwacha. We return to the beach and the bags and the captain and we pay our fayre. A ten hour crossing costs us 60000 TzS (approx £18).
We have decided to stay in Mango Drift, a backpackers hotel complex on the other side of the island. This three mile trip will cost us 10000 MwK (approx £14) we feel ripped off but have no choice.
Our journey takes 20 mins and the car regularly scrapes the bottom on the road as we go – it isn’t built for the terrain. We stop about a quarter of a mile from Mango Drift snd walk the last part through a village.
We arrive at Mango Drift intending to camp ($8 pppn) but for the same price we can face a dorm to ourselves. We choose this option.
Settled in we order some drinks and some food and relax for the afternoon.
Mango Drift is sited in a small bay and consists of a central bar/restaurant surrounded by bandas, our dorm and a PADI (Diving) office. They offer free snorkelling, a variety of sports equipment, books to read and diving lessons at a cost. However, the main thing is relaxation.
We decide to do some snorkelling later in the afternoon. The bay teams with a variety of a brightly coloured Cichlids, various blues and yellows, black and white, strips and spots. They dart in amongst the rocks along with the occasional Talapia (Chambo). We spend about an hour in the water.
We relax as we watch another spectacular sunset and then sit down to dinner beneath the stars on the beach with our fellow guests and the staff.
We chat with three Norwegians, here on a tour of Southern Africa. They are on a mission to visit as many countries as possible and over several holidays have racked up quite a few. Their holiday began in South Africa encompasses Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
After our travels of the previous day we are tired and retire early.
Mode of Transport
- Cargo boat
- Likoma Island
- Banda Dorm -Mango Drift Backpacker Lodge
Cost (not including meals)
- $8 pppn