The Marvelous Mountain Man of Malawi


With the stunning-to-look-at-yet-infested-with-parasites Lake Malawi threatening to kill me, today I decide to head for higher ground where I might be a bit safer. There are some awesome mountains around Cape Maclear, so I put on my walkin’ boots and went for a strut. Little did I know that I would’ve had less trouble drinking utant snails straight out of the river.

The main hiking track starts just out of town, next to the graves of the long-dead missionaries who founded the village. Thankfully, they didn’t come back from the dead and tear out my throat. It quickly climbs up the side of one of the monoliths and just keeps on ascending, proving to be a tough hike that offers enough peeks back over the bay to make every step worthwhile.

It takes about 90 minutes to reach the main lookout, and the view over the town is monumental. I could see far out into the massive body of water that is Lake Malawi, all the way to the imposing cliffs on the far side. The vista is bodacious (what? It’s still a word!) but I wasn’t really able to enjoy it because of the massive swarm of flies that decided to assault me. And I thought the hawkers on the beach were annoying!

If you decide to take this walk, be smart and turn around once you hit the lookout. The path to that point is easy to follow and makes for a top day out. Don’t be an absolute fuckin’ gronk like me and scramble further up the mountain in a pointless attempt to find the summit. There’s no real track, only a series of ambiguous symbols spray painted here and there on rocks and trees, and it wasn’t long before I was exploring uncharted territory crawling up boulders to get to the top. I made it and for some reason my clothes fell off!

Not for the first time, the point where I took off my shorts was where the fun stopped. I did my best to retrace my steps to the lookout, but I soon got turned around and ended up in the middle of the rugged bush with no idea where the path was. With the sun setting I knew I couldn’t mess around, so I faced the village far below and bush bashed down the mountain, knowing that I had to get out of there one way or another. It was a bloody steep trip and I slid down half the way, cutting myself on rocks and slamming into trees. I was starting to think about my options if I had to spend the night out there in the wild, when I heard the sweet sound of a woman singing.

I crashed through the thorny thicket towards the sound, praying it wasn’t my imagination. Eventually I stumbled into a clearing where a woman was collecting sticks, and she just looked at me like I was some sort of monster. I was sweaty and bleeding and close to tears, so maybe that’s exactly what I looked like. I did my best to communicate my desire to return to civilisation, and after a while she pointed towards the beautiful, wonderful, glorious path. I was so stoked to see it that I wouldn’t have been happier if it was lined with naked women and free beer.

Alright, that’s a lie. Once back at the beach I cracked open a brew and sat back to watch another mesmerising Malawian sunset. The going down of the sun was a terrifying prospect when I was lost on the mountain, but something soul-enriching whilst relaxing with a cold one in my hand (but enough about my penis!).

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