Cape Maclear and the Curse of the Killer Snails

In my endless quest to find remote, barely-heard-of paradisical wonderlands (that may be populated by decorative backpackers), I pointed to a random point on the map and ended up in the isolate lakeside village of Cape Maclear, Malawi. As well as being a day’s travel from the nearest place that could be called civilisation, it’s incredibly beautiful, and also shockingly dangerous. Yes, just like 90% of hot women worldwide, this place is pretty and deadly in equal measure.

Cape Maclear is 270km from Malawi’s capital of Lilongwe, a journey that took around four hours through desolate and sparsely-populated landscapes. I barely saw anything of note the whole time; a few scattered villages, some bulbous baobab trees, some goats and crushing poverty. I was heading far, far away from anything I’m accustomed to, but towards something pretty special.

After hours of watching the dusty brown monotony slide past my window, it was suddenly replaced by vibrant green rainforest and we rolled into the fishing village of Cape Maclear. I caught glimpses of the legendary Lake Malawi through palm trees, but it wasn’t until my car pulled in at my hotel and I climbed weerily out that I was able to appreciate the true greatness of this massive body of water.

One of the biggest lakes on the planet, Lake Malawi is 560km long, 75km wide and up to 900m deep, meaning it’s a shade smaller than Matt Preston’s arse. It’s a lot prettier, though, not just because of the magnificent mountains and golden beaches that surround it, but because of the glittering array of tropical fish that live under the surface of the water. It sounds like the perfect place to splash around in for a few days – except for the fact that swimming in the water could kill you faster than a funnelweb with a shotgun.

That’s because the lake is absolutely swarming with bilharzia, a terrifying waterborne parasite that burrows into the skin of unsuspecting swimmers and destroys their intestines and (gulp) the wee-wee tract. It’s passed on by evil mutant snails that live in the lake and spend their time trying to murder anyone who comes near them. It’s a shame because the water looks incredibly inviting and would be perfect to wade around in with a beer in hand.

The symptoms are fucking horrible – an explosive bout of blood-stained diarrhea matched with pissing razorblades and excruciating abdominal pain is just the beginning of the nightmare. The longterm effects are even worse, with liver damage, kidney failure, infertility (which admittedly has the benefit of making it easier to convince chicks to do it without a condom), bladder cancer and severe brain damage. It’s quite a price to pay to watch some pretty fish swimming about.

While wandering the beach I was swarmed by half-a-dozen small, naked boys, who wanted me to pay for them to dance for me. While the offer was certainly interesting, that’s the sort of thing that gets you placed on a sex offenders registry, so I told them I wasn’t interested. I’m not a pervert or anything, but I couldn’t help noticing the size of the schlongs on these toddlers – they’re fucking massive! We’ve all heard the stories about black men and their monumental meat (and I’ve researched the topic further through some educational movies), and I can tell you it’s all true. These toddlers’ cocks hung halfway down their legs, and I was honestly terrified that their wangs would smack into me as they scuttled around me.

Cape Maclear is an easy place to take it easy, and I plan on spending the next few days sitting around, drinking beer and doing as little as possible. And if I smash one too many bottles of Kuche and decide that going for a skinny dip is the best way to win the heart of a fellow traveller, I’ll spend the rest of my time here spraying the walls with rancid, bloody shit. That should be fun.

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