Africa’s Undiscovered Beach Paradise
Explorer in Residence, Dan Grec, uncovers a gorgeous lakeside gem in Malawi.
Dominated by the stunning and enormous lake of the same name, Malawi is a tiny East African country that packs a mighty punch in terms of beautiful scenery. After a quick stop in the bustling capital of Lilongwe, I find my way to the beach paradise that is the Cape Maclear Nature Reserve.
From the moment I setup camp on the lake shore I know I’m onto a great thing, and I spend the next few days sailing around the protected wilderness of Domwe Island, kayaking, swimming and thoroughly enjoying lake life.
Crystal clear and teaming with colourful fish, it’s obvious all local life in Malawi revolves around the all-important lake. From washing clothes, pots and pans and finally fishing, there is not a person living in Malawi who is not connected to the lake. Moving north I repeatedly find the same story played out along the lake shore – stunning beaches, gorgeous sunsets and smiling faces.
Near the northern end tip of the country I scramble up a mountain track to Mushroom Farm – a permaculture hostel meets campsite and restaurant set high on the mountainside not far from the famous town of Livingstonia. From the minute I arrive I already know I will stay a few days. In the morning I set out on a hike to a stunning viewpoint over the lake, and after a huge day of hiking I finish at the Manchewe Waterfall, famous for its concealed cave where locals hid from slave traders a generation ago.
Nearby I wander through Livingstonia, littered with monuments and old buildings from Scottish missionaries who settled here in 1894. The town is at the perfect elevation to have a mild climate, and added to the expansive views it’s easy to see why the missionaries chose the location.
After a few days in the mountains I’m again drawn back to the mighty lake where a refreshing swim is welcome.
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