Erin's Tour d'Afrique Bike of a Blog!
An 8,000 mile personal and philanthropic adventure across Africa…

Muggy Malawi

Before I lived in Africa for four months, I used to invoke the phrase ‘It’s Africa-hot out here,’ to characterize New York’s hot and humid summers. New Yorkers- here’s a little comparative insight to get you through the upcoming sticky, dog days of summer- in truth, it’s actually only ‘Africa-hot’ in Africa. Or to be specific, in Malawi. So far, Malawi has presented the type of heavy, muggy heat that causes the uninitiated to drip with sweat at the slightest movement. You start sweating just contemplating getting up to go to the bathroom, and you need a shower by the time you expend the energy to unzip your tent.

To complicate matters further, Malawi represents one of the greatest danger zones on the trip for contracting Malaria and other weird tropical infections. The bugs here are mutants from another planet- twenty-legged stinging beetles with ten wings, horns, and purple googly eyes are kind of the norm. It is a particularly exciting evening when one of these prehistoric creatures finds its way into my tent. We have already had one rider on the Tour contract Malaria, and many riders are taking antibiotics due to small scratches or bug bites that became big infections overnight. I have been vigilant with the anti-malarials and wearing the outfits I wore in conservatively Muslim sections of Sudan to cover up. This is a big trade-off in the heat of course.

Following the border crossing day, our first full day in Malawi was 120 kilometers, a seemingly manageable distance for us turned brutal grind by the humidity and with our luck, headwind. At one point in the ride I just wanted to sit down and melt into a puddle. When am I going to grasp that there is never an easy day on this trip?! Fortunately I reconnected with my former (pre-dirt days) riding crew aka ‘the bros’ (German Ruben, Irish Paddy and American Jason), and they informed me that I would ‘not be accepted but maybe tolerated’ in the bro paceline for the remainder of the ride. They totally missed me šŸ™‚

We rode through the heat, wind and two coke stops and finally arrived at a great reward, a rest day at Chitimba Beach on Lake Malawi. Lake Malawi is the country’s distinguishing natural and economic feature. It is a perfect, clean bright blue and reflects both the surrounding mountains and the carefree attitude of visiting overland tourists. I pitched my tent so that I woke up to a water view from every angle, and bathed in the relaxation of being at the beach. Due to the unlikely but possible presence of an organ-attacking parasite in the water, I avoided the temptation of an open water swim. I have had enough internal organ issues on this trip, so instead cooled off at the beachside bar with a locally brewed Carlsberg beer, viewed beautiful, star-filled skies after sunset and bargained for wooden handicrafts with a local named ‘Fantastic Steve.’ Chitimba Beach gave us a rest day without access to internet, sites to visit or a city to navigate…it was truly restful.


One Response to “Muggy Malawi”

  1. The starting portion of your blog was really fn to read. As the rest of it described Lake malawi africa. It is the eighth largest lake in the world and contains a greater variety of indigenous species of Cichlid fishes than any other lake in the world.

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