Rest & Relaxation at Chintheche
The scenery along Lake Malawi is stunning. Diving or snorkeling are popular but so is just lounging on the beach.
Unfortunately, the lake is infested with bilharzia (or schistosomiasis), a disease transmitted by minute worms carried by infected humans and water snails, and so travelers should be aware of the risks of swimming here. It can be contracted if you swim or paddle in lakes, ponds or any shallow water, especially near villages or where reeds grow. The symptoms can make themselves known immediately or can take weeks or even months to show themselves.
Arts and crafts – particularly oil paintings and wood carvings – are available with many artisans joining together to form a handicraft market wherever tourists gather. The paintings depicting local tribes on a cotton canvas are particularly colorful and evoke the culture and traditions from this part of the world.
Senga Bay & Enormous Lake Malawi
Driving to Lake Malawi is an adventure in itself. The day we arrived here, we drove 236 kilometers – which doesn’t sound that long (the trip itinerary said it would take only 8.5 hours) – but African roads make it very difficult to go anywhere near the speed limit. There are so many potholes the size of small cars as well as people, goats and cows on the side of the road that it is impossible to go anything past 40 kilometers an hour even on the main highway.
There is a lot more agriculture here than wildlife in this part of Africa with tobacco being the most important cash crop accounting for more than 60% of the country’s export earnings. There are also coffee, tea and spice plantations along Lake Malawi.
This is also the country in which Christian missionary John Livingstone established a series of missions in the 1890s and so the population is mostly Christian. Lake Malawi is beautiful and Senga Bay is a great place to stop and enjoy the lake. A troop of baboons, including a mother with her very young baby (it was still pink-faced), played on the beach near a campsite.