Monday, 19 August 2013

Day 11: Zomba Mountain, Malawi

Walking track on Zomba Mountain

I could hear rain during the night and it looked wet out when I drew back the curtains. Tom, our host, said that it wasn't raining but we were in the cloud layer and water was condensing on the trees.

I started the day with a lovely warm shower, easily the best of the holiday (not saying much). The water smelt smokey as it had been heated over a wood burner during the night.

There was a slightly lift in the clouds after breakfast so we decided to go for a walk. We headed up the drive and then turned left along the track and were rewarded with great views of the valley below bathed in sunshine.

We decided to walk uphill towards the top of Zomba mountain. As we climbed we passed a man chopping wood and a few women walking. One women had an enormous log on her head and a baby on her back. There was no way I could have carried that much and I don't know how she managed to keep her footing on the steep and uneven ground.

Walking on Zomba Mountain

We returned to the lodge and relxaed for an hour or so before lunch which was an excellent sweet soup with sweet potato flatbreads.

After lunch we went for another walk heading along the same path as the morning so that I could get some photos of the valley below us. We caught a glimpse of a man cutting wood with a huge long saw in the forest and saw more local women walking along the track. (The forest was supposed to be protected and managed by the Forestry Department, but there seemed to be a lot of clearance going on both legal and illegal.)

Back at the lodge we went for a walk around the boundary one of the property paths. It was refreshing to see some virgin forest unharmed by the deforestation all around.

After our walk we sat in the garden enjoying the last of the afternoon sunshine. The Latvian TV crew that were supposed to be staying for the next two nights arrived, but unfortunately for Petal and Tom they left again when they found out there was no electricity for their equipment.

Banana leaf
As I was writing up my diary Petal showed us some mango monkeys crossing the property by jumping from tree to tree. Some of the younger monkeys were nervous of the thinner branches and larger jumps. All of the monkeys eventually made it and it was fascinating to watch.

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