Our intrepid traveller; a client’s account of Africa – Part 4

January 7th
This morning after breakfast of bacon, fried tomato, toast, pancakes, cereal, bananas, and papaya. We drove for 3 hr. to Zomba Plateau and staying at Ku Chawe Inn.

Before we left I took photos of the giant snails crawling on the sides of the house. One of them had about a 5” shell and was splayed out about 8 inches as he crawled along. The mountains were shrouded in mist.

The roads are very good, unlike Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. Most of the women don’t use a ring of cloth to help them balance their baskets, buckets, or water jugs. Their posture is incredible and they can balance what seems like anything going up and down hills, walking barefoot, and carrying a baby tied on their backs. Speaking of which, one almost never sees the babies squirming or crying. They are very passive. What are we Americans doing wrong???

Saw bicyclists that bike 120 km RT to Blantyre to sell their goods.

During day saw, Hammerkop, White Stork, Southern Red Bishop, Yellow Bishop, Blue Spotted Dove, White Throated Twinspot, Familiar Chat, and 2 baboons.

After arriving in Zomba, the old capital of Malawi and the old British colonial capital, we drove to the Emperor’s View (King Selassie I visited in 1965) and the Queen’s View about 100 meters apart located on the plateau high above the town. At the Emperor’s View, the mist cleared for about 10 minutes so that I could take a few photos of the vista and Lake Chilwa in the distance; the Queen’s View was socked in when we got there a few minutes later, so I called it “No View.”

I was the only caucasian I have seen for the past two days. Buffet for dinner.

January 8th

All the last few days excursions have been on 4 wheel drive 1-lane roads. Today we headed out toward Chingwe’s Hole going about 1-5 kph. After about 20 minutes both of us saw a ball in a tree in the distance about the same time. He had told me there were Blue Monkeys in the plateau forest but they were very shy and one almost never sees them so I had figured Diane wouldn’t get to see them. Well, Blue Monkey morning! There was a whole troop in about 5 trees. And we even had the male in charge issue many warning calls to us and his troop. We were there about a half hour.

The hole is on one of the plateaus and about 15 feet across. It is concealed with trees and bushes now. Not sure about before. The drop is about 20 feet that you can see and it divides into two more holes to either side. So the story goes, when people died of leprosy, no one wanted to touch them so the person was tied to a pole and carried to this hole and thrown in. During the rainy season, people’s bodies and parts would turn up at this village about 15 km away in a tributary leading to the Shire River. This happened so often the name of the village became Dead Body Village and to this day that is what the village is called. In 18th/19th centuries people decided to see where the two holes came out to see if that answered how the bodies got down to the tributary. Several men tried to be lowered into each hole but at some point several hundred feet down, the hole became so small that they could go no further. So, obviously there is an underground river/stream but no one has yet found its beginning.

In the afternoon we went to the Zomba Dam to look for birds. It was EXTREMELY quiet–no herons, no nothing except for the swifts flying.

Today saw the Blue Monkeys, Jameson’s Firefinch, Natal Lily, Golden Bristlegrass, Cape Penduline Tit, Black Headed Oriole, Common Stonechat, White-browed Robin-Chat, Flame Lily, Red-collared Widowbird, Red-backed Mannikin, Pin-tailed Whydah, Variable (Yellow Bellied) Sunbird, and Black Headed Bulbul.

Tonight was buffet again with chicken, beef, fish, vegs., rice, a lasagna type of pasta, etc.

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