Category Archives: Cape Maclear

Chicks dig dudes with exotic tropical diseases, right?

Lake Malawi looks glorious, but shortly after arriving I decided not to swim in it because it’s full of flesh-eating bilharzia parasites. My mind was quickly changed when a decorative 24-year-old Austrian sheila begged me to share a kayak with her for a trip around Thumbi Island. Shit, there’s not much I wouldn’t do for a European stunna in a bikini, so a shortened life expectancy and the likelihood of my intestines squirting out my arsehole in the near future was a small price to pay.

Also along for the ride were Amilcar, a crazy 53-year-old Brazilian and Lucas and Celine, a couple of Germans working at a charity in the wilds of Malawi. All we needed was a Jew and an Irishman and we would’ve had the perfect setup for a joke.

The view from the back of the kayak was fuckin’ excellent (and the scenery wasn’t bad, either), with the wide, open lake giving way to immaculate mountains on every side. The water is crystal clear and as blue as an Aryan child’s eyes, making for a grouse place to splash around and have fun. After strapping my snorkel on and plunging into the sparkling water, I was welcomed into a world of astonishingly colourful cyclid fish, who swam and danced before my eyes.

After that we jumped off some rocks like people on a Coca Cola commercial and lost most of the flippers and snorkels (thus depriving some innocent Malawian dude of his livelihood), before heading back to the beach for about a thousand cheap cocktails. I figure the alcohol in them will kill most of the parasites. I even had a crack at my Austrian friend’s paraglider, and amazed the locals with my groundhandling skills (alright, more like gave them a laugh with my ability to put a wing in a tree).

That night we all headed along to a concert by some local Malawian reggae band called the Black Misionaries at a dive bar in Cape Maclear’s rundown fishing village. The place was absolutely packed when we got there, with rastafarians bouncing around in the sand and pissheads punching on in the dark. The wacky ‘baccy was being passed freely around and most people were holding hands or cuddling. It was a good vibe, even though the band kept ignoring my calls to play some bloody Chisel.

Being a handsome chap with a bit of a bad boy attitude (with a heart of gold that means your parents will love me), it wasn’t long before I drew the attention of the local lovelies. Alright, ‘lovelies’ might be stretching it – I was swarmed by a bunch of humans of indeterminate gender and unfathomable weight, who kept pinching me on the arse and trying to grab my dick. I scurried off into the crowd to escape their clutches, before seeking refuge in the toilet block. That was even worse, because what passes as a toilet in Malawi is a filthy, shit-filled hole in the ground. I decided to spruce the place up by pissing in the corner and snuck out of there, back into the maddening crowd.

Upon returning to the group, I was greeted by the highly unusual sight of Amilcar holding hands with a very tall, very thin black man, and busting out some crazed Ricky Martin-inspired moves. He was obviously enjoying himself, but I was shocked when he left to visit the toilet with the black man, returning several minutes later to dance some more. I was also devastated that no black men wanted to hold hands with me.

I was feeling rubbish the next morning when I rocked up to breakfast, but things were about to get stranger. Abud, a socially-awkward creep we’d met at the concert waddled into the restaurant shortly afterwards, hand-in-hand with a statuesque African woman who looked like she’d had all will to live fucked out of her by an obese Syrian the night before. The big fella gave me a high-five and then settled down to scoff a mountain of food. Amilcar staggered in a few minutes later, wearing only one shoe, no shirt, and looking confused.
“I do not know what happen,” he said to a pot plant. “One minute I have fun dance, drink beer, and the next I wake up in bed with two black people. One man, one woman. I am so ashamed.”

And what happened between your drunen hero and the Austrian? A gentleman never tells, but it did lead me on a strange and unexpected journey… but more about that next time.

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!).

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.