Nancy Chuang’s updates

It seemed to me that all hotels are B&B. While it’s certainly worth checking first, I never stayed in one that wasn’t, and the breakfast was never mentioned…they just assumed you knew. There’s a range of qualities–the 10,500K Mzuzu Lodge had 2 eggs as you like (including spanish omelets), sausage, a big chunk of baked tomato, potatoes, toast on request (otherwise there is plain bread), fresh fruit and cereal, coffee and tea. The 700K Mulanje View Motel offered a single egg prepared however the cook feels that day (one day boiled, one day poached), plain bread and tea/coffee.

It was impossible to try kampango anywhere! Perhaps almost fished out?
Seemed every local considered kampango their favorite, but it was never
available.

I can’t remember if this is already mentioned, but I noticed that menus
are sort of a general list of things a restaurant is capable of making.
On longer menus, it’s unlikely even half the items are available that
day.

Taxis–are they really so expensive? I never actually took one, but
when I got off the bus in Lilongwe and said I wanted to go to Golden
Peacock I was told 1000k! I know it’s not that far and Lilongwe is so
small! (I ended up complaining to the bus driver, who kindly drove me
there).

BUSES
There is a “direct” bus from Mzuzu to Blantyre. Company is called
Transways. I got on the bus in Mzuzu at 5PM (really left at 5:30),
passed through Lilongwe with a few short stops, and arrived in Blantyre
at 3AM.

The minibus between Blantyre and Mulanje WILL take two hours (not “can
take as long as”). Both times I took it, it was a solid 2 1/2 hours.

Liwonde National Park (at least at Mvuu Camp/Njobvu Village) is not
that straightforward from Lilongwe. I came from Mulanje, but in getting
back to Lilongwe, I was given a ride to Ulongwe (town, not the turnoff)
where I waited almost 40 minutes for a minibus to the Mangochi turnoff.
At the Mangochi turnoff I was told to watch for a big Lilongwe bus, but
only minibuses to Balaka came by. One finally came with a sign for
Lilongwe, and then the money-collector laughed at me for believing they
were actually going to Lilongwe. At Balaka I changed for the Lilongwe
bus, which doesn’t arrive until almost 10PM.

LILONGWE
In Lilongwe map, I did not see a market near the corner of Colby and
Glyn Jones. Also on the map, it appears that Lister Avenue is just slightly off
from Mandala Road, but there is actually another road in that position.
When walking from Lister to Colby, turn left and the street is there.
Mandala is a little further after this street. The street starts out
paved, has some often-empty phone booths, then leads to an area with a
covered market, then turns into dirt and I’m not positive it’s a
through road for cars (but you can get through on foot going around the
buildings.

In the Shoprite center there’s an exchange place called Victoria (I
think) which at the time I went had a very good rate of 155k for $1.

Golden Peacock is rather expensive at $14/2000k. they seem to charge
per person yet use the same rooms whether there are one or two people.
I booked on an online hostels site and the description was “private
room” but that does not actually mean ensuite (which is significantly
more expensive), and the price on the website was more in line with
yours, $10 per person. We had to argue quite a bit to get the rate we’d
booked, but on my return through Lilongwe I was charged the full 2000k.

MZUZU
Mzuzu Lodge is much more expensive now. 10,500 for the room. I’m hard
pressed to say it’s a good value–$70/night would get you so much more
in mid-size cities in America! Beds are just OK for the price, shower
was not consistent, TV has just 4 channels and laundry is overpriced.
Breakfast here is good.

I noticed a central-ish place called “Vision Lodge” on the map but not
in the Hotels section. I hope some more research can be done into more
central places to stay. Everything listed seems quite inconvenient for
exploring the town in the evening. I was forced to stay in Mzuzu Lodge
because at that time I was working on a project with some friends and
we needed to be together in a place with consistent electricity,
etc…but I normally would have wanted something cheaper and more
central.

Graceland restaurant next to PTC seems to be rather popular, not
mentioned in the book.

MULANJE
Mulanje View Motel–while there are views all around I’m unclear what
the “garden” mentioned is. The area in front of the hotel
where you can sit and get drinks (did not notice people eating out
there…some tables were very far from the restaurant) is more of a
big dirt area with grass patches, but maybe because it was dry season.
The mountain view side of the back building/wing does not have working
sockets. I had things to charge the first night so I switched to the
non-view side.

On map, I think distance from Mulanje View Motel to Info Mulanje is a
bit misleading. It’s probably about 20 minutes to walk, maybe slightly
less but on your map the distance seems longer.

There is a Shoprite in Chitakale, bearing no resemblance to Shoprite in
Lilongwe. However, I was unable to find pasta and canned tomato paste
in PTC and they had it in Shoprite.

InfoMulanje does not offer internet. Before you come to the
intersection there is a place called Skyline Internet, although the guy
at InfoMulanje said it wasn’t very good. The place recommended was
Standard Holdings, a stationery shop plus internet. There are 3
computers and they don’t always work at the same time. Standard
Holdings is near Chris’ bar but I can’t remember exactly where.

Current prices for guides & porters 1300/1000 per day respectively. As
many guides are former porters, they may offer a discounted rate to
carry your belongings so you won’t need a separate porter.

NJOBVU VILLAGE
On my trips to and from, I never ever saw pick-up trucks waiting to be
hired for rides. Only bicycle-taxis. I know I personally do not have
the balance to ride on the back while carrying my 62-liter backpack and
camera bag, nor could the bicyclist handle the extra weight, and it’s a
longer way from the road than I expected. There is the option of hiring
a second bicycle-taxi but that’s kind of annoying and they WILL try to
gouge you. Better option is to try to get a motorcycle ride. The
project manager at Njobvu has a motorcycle. He definitely helped me get
BACK to the road so I’m assuming he can pick up with advance notice.
There is also a shopowner at the turnoff with a bike (although he was
selling it while I was there, he may get another) who gave me a ride.

Njobvu and Mvuu do work quite closely together, which is helpful.

Bicycle taxis to Mvuu are 300k round-trip.

MVUU CAMP
Breakfast currently $10 and boat safari $30. While I had no problem
showing up and booking the safari, some people have said
they had difficulty booking accommodation or safaris separately, and
could only get packages.

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