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Malawi, Zambia, Namibia 2005

Malawi, Zambia and Namibia |

Two months in the summer of 05. I started in Jo'burg- jeez that place is a prison and got a 30 hour bus ride to Malawi. Going through Zim as a white guy was fine but the customs guys had a bit of a laugh at me.
First stop in Malawi was Blantyre where I fainted at the bus stop which was weird cause I've never fainted before. So the docs ran tests. Worked out that cause I'd been sitting on transport for days on end my blood pressure had gone down so much that I fainted.
Anyway then I went off to climb up Mt Mulanje and take photos of plants for a scientist in England.
Then went off to Liwonde national park where proper toruists
"wow, look it's amazing,what is it?"
" It's that thing from the lion king, isn't it?"
" What that warthog thing"
"Yeah thats the one"
"Look how cute it is!"

Needless to say I didn't hang around long and headed for Cape Maclear where I hired a windsurfer from two guys who I then taught how to windsurf.
From the capital I headed up north to a morw remote NP, Vwaza and camped out with the elephants. As I was cooking I could hear them getting closer to the tent so made a run for the tent. It sounded like they were almost on top of me. Got a lift back to Mzuzu with an army patrol and headed over to Nkhata Bay where I met Bob, Tosh and Soviet some local painters who I was going to try and trade with once I got back home. Did a dive in the lake and saw all the different types of cichlids, blue fish and then a couple of days down the lake onboard the Ilala ferry. i camped on deck and it was so peaceful up there it was great.
Got back to Monkey Bay and camped in front of some of one of the Beach Boys' houses and went on a highways and byways tour of the town so he could replenish his dope supply.
Back to the capital where i saw some nice canvas paintings when I went inside to meet the artist it turned out he was disabled so painted with his mouth. Hos work was real quality so I've set up some trade with him.
Time to head to Zambia. on the same minibus was a lass called Inge who was half Danish and half Zambian who was visiting family. when we got to the Malawi/ Zambian border she was told she had overstayed her visa and that she had broken the law and would have to saty in the country and face trail and maybe a prsion sentence but he was happy to receive a "gift" and we were on our way. She then tried to change money with some guys who gave her 5000kwach notes instead of 50000notes.Her bad day hadn't ended. We tried to make it to Lusaka that same day but the bus kept breaking down and so we didn't arrive till 4 in the morning. On the way someone asked how close we were and this guy gave a classic reply- We're almost close-(5hours away!)
So we got to the bus stationa and slept in the bus till the morning when we got a really dodgy taxi to a hostel. Inge gave hime a note which he then switched and starting shouting at her that she hadn't given him enough money. He started getting really aggressive so we just walked away.
I spent the next 4 days in Lusaka trying to get money- mowhere would aqccept a cirrus bank card and the exchange rate for travelers cheques wouldn't have given me enough cash to wipe my arse with. Some guy tried to pickpocket me which was really ironic since I had less than 1p with me and so if anything it was me who should be pickpocketing him! Ended up doing a western union money transfer. On my last day in Lusaka i met the press officer of the ruling party who said that we should meet up and have lunch Iwas well up for it but I was desperate to get out of Lusaka and get back on the road. Inge flew back to Denmark and I headed off to Livingstone. A German cyclist called Jorg was also going there but it was going to take him three days so I had a bit of a head start but I'd need it with the amount htse buses break down and sure enough it did.
Livingstone was more touristy but not as bad as I'd expeceted. you could all your standard water sports here as it is next to the Victoria Falls which is on the Zambezi. While there I met this incredible cyclist called Tony from Canada who'd spent much of his life cycling around the world by himself. He was very in to his fitness so we went to the Vic falls together and then ran the 11km back but a runner will always beat a cyclist and I left him in my wake! When I got back to the hostel Jorg was there he'd made it a bit quicker than he'd expected and I showed him some of the local music that I'd got in Lusaka. We both loved a Malawian reggae band called the Black Missionaries. Went white water rafting dwon the Zambezi and then headed off on a long day of minibuses to Namibia crossed the border and carried on to Rundu. It was hotting up and while in Tsumeb I got really severe heat stroke which meant going nowhere for four days and not sleeping. I met a guy in the park called Moses who's surname translated as form the moon. He was a war veteran of Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and had those crazy war eyes that stick out of your head. he asked me if I was scared travelling around by myself and I replied not really, why should I be?
I then headed off to Etosha NP and was determined to go even though I could hardly lift my bag. I hitched into the park with these guys who fixed fridges and freezers in the park. Then dropped me at one of the camps but due to the animals you obviously weren't allwed out of the park but evrybody had a come in a full vehicle and it was far more expensive to camp than I thought Iwas pretty stranded until the recepionist said he had a vehicle which I could hire to drive me out but and he made sure he ripped me off big time but i had no choice. he dropped me at the next camp and told me a school bus came at 12. So I got on it the driver told me that if we saw any animals he'd stopped and I could take photos, so this was my new safari vehicle and lo and behold we saw some lions on the way. I think the tourists got the biggest shock when this battered old bus rocked up by the lions and I was taking photos of the lions out the window cos they'd payed hundreds of dollars for their "proper" safaris- Suckers!
I got out the park and got on a train to Walvis Bay on the coast the train got in at 3am so I figured I'd just sleep on the train as it was the last stop but I got kicked off and slept in the station- it was really cold down here. Two Kiwis- Geof and Barbara, also had the same idea as me so we all shivered on teh station together. I headed off to the port as it got light. i had to get permission to go in and wandered around. there were big cargo ships in from Panama and Liberia. in the water there were seals and giant jelly fish. i then headed off to get a lift up to Swakopmund but we got pulled over by the cops and he hadn't got his registration papers through so we had to be escorted back but then we found he did have the right papers so the cops let us go on our way. Swakopmund has the sea on one side and the sand dunes on teh other. It is very German and the black Africans look very lost. While I was there it was grey, cloudy and bloody miserable. My heat stroke and lack of sleep was taking its hold and I woke one morning stuggling to open my eyes they looked like I'd been 10 rounds lin the ring. The doc gave me enough tablets and drugs to open my own shop. The sleeping tablets where horse tranqulisers but worked really well. I was getting weaker and weaker though and was in a sorry state. carrying a big pack I needed more calories than I was eating and so losing weight without realising it and not drinking enough water. Geof and barb who'd I met on the train station where satying at the same hostel and so we got a car and drove through the Namib desert to the big sand dunes at Sossuvlei. We then headed for Windhoek and I had a few days before heading home. I was getting this hollow feeling inside and relaised my body was slowly giving up the ghost. I could eat and I wouldn't feel anything. i was hungry before and I wasn't hungry or full after. One day I ate 8 sausages and I felt nothing afterwards. There was an Italian guy at the hostel who looked like a hermit aswell and together we looked like proper tramps. We ate pots of yoghurt, didn't wash, wore the same clothes for weeks on end and played chess. he went by train to Jo'burg and I headed back home.
For the first week at home I didn't have the stregth to walk up to the shops which was only 400m and then I had to head back to uni where I was knackered after lectures. the fatigue and tiredeness is still with me 4 months on and I've had a dozen blood tests the latest idea is i may have bilharzia. But even if I do it will have all have been worth it for those very special 2 months!

Locations Visited: Johannesburg, Harare, Blantyre, Mulanje, Blantyre, Cape Maclear, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Rumphi, Mzuzu, Nkhata Bay, Monkey Bay, Lilongwe, Mchinji, Chipata, Lusaka, Livingstone, Sesheke, Katima Mulilo, Rundu, Tsumeb, Namutoni Gate, Halali Rest Camp, Okaukuejo, Otjiwarongo, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Solitaire, Rehoboth, Windhoek

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