Day 11 – Monkey Bay to Zomba

Today we leave the lake (Nyassa/Malawi) and head South climbing into the mountains towards Zomba the old colonial Capital. We will miss this body of water that has been our home for the past week; it’s dark skies; it’s gentle waters full of Cichlids; it’s amazing sunsets and awesome sunrises.

Milky Way
The Milky Way viewed from Monkey Bay
Sunset TZ 

The waters off from Likoma Island
Sunset at Monkey Bay

There is one last golden sunrise to experience her before we get on with the process of packing.

There is a reason it is called Monkey Bay – the vervet monkeys come down at 8am to feed. 

Other than Monkeys, there are Otters here (no picture), Monitor Lizards, Skinks, Hamerkops, Comerants, Pied Kingfishers, Fish Eagles and a whole variety of other birds.

Our route today takes us firstly by car to Mangochi. This is  in a minivan, slightly more expensive but only an  hour instead of four. It’s a tight squeeze though! 

We arrive in Mangochi at 11amand immediately go to the ATM – we are replenished! Then we find a minibus (A dala dala in Tz) and wait… and wait …… and wait!

The minibus will only leave when it is full and there are two spaces! 

So far from Mwanza to  Zomba we have taken:

  • taxis (6)
  • plane
  • coaches (2)
  • piki piki
  • cargo boat
  • motorboat
  • pick up truck
  • ferry
  • car
  • minibus

Our future itinerary includes a train trip so we are covering all bases on our journey. 

 Whilst we wait we eat some street food – rice samosas and a cherry like fruit, green and tasting of stewed apples – the green ones are fine – not so the brown/yellow ones.

Eventually we leave at 12:36pm – squashed In like sardines! We immediately go to the petrol station to fill up – no fuel until they know how many passengers, it seems. 

Then we return to our stop and wait again. Initially we have no idea why? We are full –  we have fuel – we wait……..

Then we discover we are going to act as a tow truck for another vehicle!!!! 

We wait ……………… We swelter ………. We wait!

We leave at 1:10pm we seem to be towing the other bus the whole way!

A few miles out of Mangochi we encounter forest fires up in the hills. There is a fierce blaze amongst the trees.  

 We drive on through villages up into the hills, past craft stalls and dried up rivers, farmland, scrubland, ever higher. 

 Eventually we reach Liwonde, this town was home for a time to Anita’s Aunt and Uncle (Ruth and Peter) fellow NGO’s in the ’90s and a frequent place to stay during her own time as an NGO in Chilimba Village outside of Zomba. 

We pass on quickly unfortunately through Machinga, Malosa and Domasi. All are bring back memories.

In Domasi, the tow bar breaks and they need to spend time effecting repairs whilst we wait….

Finally we move on and arrive in Zomba about 4pm. Here we are greeted by Anita’s old boss Paul Jones who drives us back to his pls e in Zomba. There we meet Helen his wife and over a cup of tea and Custard Creams we chat, reminiscing over old times and taking of the new. We will stay here a few days and hopefully be able to visit the village where Anita worked as an NGO 22 years ago.

Modes of Transport

  • Mini-Van
  • Car

Distance (miles)

  • 115


  • House


  • Zomba



4 Comments Add yours

  1. I am really enjoying following this trip with you, and trying ever so hard to keep the green monster at bay!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. stlong says:

    Absolutely: wonderful photos! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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