When 500km becomes an Easy Day

Before we left Nairobi, 2 weeks ago, I though that a 500km day on a motorcycle was a long time. Now I just ask, “well, what will we do in the afternoon then?”

BRCK truck top

BRCK truck top

Our setup of BRCK plus Amp plus Car antenna

Our setup of BRCK plus Amp plus Car antenna

We left Harare, where the Arensen’s had hosted us for two nights in their lovely home, for a bit of a long day. We were gambling that we could make it through the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border AND then the Mozambique-Malawi border in good enough time to get to a campsite by the end of the day. A quick breakfast of chai, coffee and pre-boiled eggs underneath a baobab tree saw us to the first border in good time.

The Douane border crossing is less busy than it’s Beit Bridge counterpart. Leaving Zimbabwe, the customs and immigration officials are efficient and helpful. Getting into Mozambique was equally problem-free, especially since we had all gone to get our visas already.

A rickety wooden bridge in Malawi

A rickety wooden bridge in Malawi

Philip, solving problems in Kenya, while on the road in Malawi

Philip, solving problems in Kenya, while on the road in Malawi

Kurt with Lobo in the vehicle

Kurt with Lobo in the vehicle

My Suzuki DR650

My Suzuki DR650

Now, Mozambique, this part of it anyway where you shoot across the Tete corridor towards Malawi, is a hot, dry and barren land. The only thing of any note is the nice bridge you cross over the Limpopo river passing through the city of Tete. Besides that, I’d suggest it’s not a place you want to spend any time.

Two interesting things happen as you run to the Malawi border. First, you realize that you cross back and forth between the two countries a couple times on the way. Second, when you pass through the Mozambique side of the border you’re still 5km from the Malawi border crossing. Strange… but, again border crossings are not about security, they’re about revenue generation.

The Mozambique customs officials had clearly never seen a Carnet de Passage (it’s like a passport for your vehicle), so they acted like it was something they couldn’t stamp. We were able to convince them that it was something normal, and that their colleague at the previous border had stamped it, so they could as well. Stamped and moving, we shot off for the campground, as we saw a storm rolling in.

It was at this time that our small team mascot, Lobo the Australian cattle dog puppy, decided to have an explosive experience inside of the vehicle. Many curses were heard as people sprayed themselves down, and cleaned out the dog’s carrier. Praying for a dry night, we took off a bit behind schedule, and still managed to roll into Bushman’s Baobabs (great place), and had a warm still night of sleep.

500km up Lake Malawi

Off early, as always, we were half-way to our destination by 9:30am and got to camp by just after noon. As an aside, I think the word “Malawi”, and the flag symbol, all are pointed at the meaning of “land of the bicycle”. We saw so many people on bicycles today, more than in any other country we’ve been to.

The bicycles of Malawi

The bicycles of Malawi

Makuzi Beach area of Lake Malawi is beautiful, and having a full afternoon ahead of us was something we didn’t know quite what to do with. So, of course we broke out the drone and OpenROV to have some fun.

We got some shots.

The OpenROV set to try Lake Malawi

The OpenROV set to try Lake Malawi

Philip getting ready with the drone

Philip getting ready with the drone

Lobo checking out a shell

Lobo checking out a shell

Matt Schoenhold of Teague playing with the OpenROV

Matt Schoenhold of Teague playing with the OpenROV

Philip managed to crash the drone into the lake, so we’re trying to see if we can resurrect it. (Update: we dried it out all night and now it’s working again. DJI makes an amazingly hardy device)

We had a grand idea of Paul driving the OpenROV underwater vehicle under a rock and taking a video of someone jumping into the water. We kind of did that, the problem was the cable was a bit short. The other problem was that it cut my toe with a blade as it came up directly underneath me. The good thing is that we had a lot of fun trying and leaned some of the limits of the vehicle.

There is now a beautiful, slow moonrise happening at 9pm, over Lake Malawi. We’re all well, fat and happy. The bikes and Land Rover have been behaving well. We’re set for our early AM departure as we have 750 kilometers and a border crossing to go through.