Trip report July/August 2018

Alistair writes:

Firstly thanks for another really helpful guide. These observations are based on the 7th Edition in July/August 2018 – I have not listed restaurants I found closed but have included accommodation if closed

Transport: far less buses than expected apart from on one or two routes so more likely to be using vans/share taxis. share taxis were usually far more comfortable than vans so if a choice go for the taxi unless you can get the front seat in van. My experience of over 30 van/taxis was that the driving was good and only one driver I would not use again. Note on Sundays there may be less vans/taxis than normal (Nothing – van bus or taxi left Kansugu bus station between 07.00 and 10.00)

Shoestring accommodation: valid comment in guide about locks BUT only one out of the 18 shoestring places I stayed in had the facility for a padlock however I did need to decline several rooms elsewhere where a simple test showed the door could be pushed open or the lock was clearly broken. For those like me whose normal haunt is SE Asia then note that towels are not usually supplied and that check out time is usually between 08.00 and 09.00 – however I did find that if I asked they were more than prepared to allow a later check out (especially important in Lilongwe where I had a 15.00 flight)

Lilongwe: Local taxi from town back to airport about Mk10,000 from bus station

Dedza: for decent Malawi food try Curry cafe (no curries!) very friendly and even opened specially for me on Sunday. mini vans do not usually use the bus station but will stop as they pass. For Monkey Bay and Mangochi best to catch it from near the market just past the hospital which is the main place to catch the vans

Monkey Bay: Bus station and market moved about one and a half klms out of town. Venice Beach backpackers closed for renovation. Nice walk to coastal fishing villages if follow the path where the road ends just past Monkey bay beach lodge. Chitzale was about 30 minutes (turn right at the T junction after about 20 mins) and the other village about 40 mins from the T junction to the left

Mangochi: Vans do not tend to use the bus station but start /end on main road

Liwonde: Train to the border now Wednesday and Sundays leaving about 08.00

Zomba: new Internet cafe on main road on 2nd floor of building next to National bank could not find one in book. FX with good rate next to craft market. No separate stand for taxi /vans on main road

Katchula: The bus from Zomba only runs occasionally and even then it will only make the one return trip and not everyday so you will need to catch a motobike from the junction where the road to Jali/Phalombie starts

Blantyre: Kenya airways now in Crossroads complex

Phalombe: Haste Lodge was closed. two other places one about 150 meters on left heading out of town past Haste (Coronation Mk 10,000) and the other another 50 meters (turn left down the track opposite the school entrance at Mk 1500-3000). Road to Zomba now paved and lots of van/taxis and road to Muljane paved nearly as far as Likhubula. Next restaurant (next to Haste) offers good local food – ask them in advance if you want fish) and Cus club nice bar
Nkhotakota: Pick and pay nothing wrong but a bit of a hike from town with luggage and returning from a night on the beer the annex not as nice but nearer town. Yanuyanu lodge was nice and good shoestring option. Sungu motel shut

Chintheche: London lodge shut

Nkhata Bay: Big Blue backpackers shut but another lodge next door but did not look appealing. Cairo motel is now only 2 stories (don’t know where the third went!!)

Mzuzu. FX by Shoprite not accepting UK£ or Euro!

Rumphi: As far as I could ascertain there is no daily bus to Mzimba

Mzimba:: I do not recommend at all Kanjinga guesthouse but Mabansi is good shoe string option and good local food otherwise try the Mzimba lodge down the side of the building opposite peoples supermarket. FX near peoples supermarket. A lot of the buses from Lilongwe to Mzuzu now seem to divert via Mzimba but not all

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