|Tuesday 11th September - Tanzania - Mbeya to Malawi - Chilimba
Utengule isnt really set up as a campsite. Its a good country house hotel that allows camping in the grassy space between the volleyball court and the helipad. It cost more to camp here than most other places weve been in Tanzania, but it was worth it for us. We enjoyed chatting to the manager of the hotel. He has many links with Scotland - having lived in Banchory for a few years and once owning a flat on Frederick Street in Aberdeen.
A lack of toys has meant that the girls have had to become quite imaginative in their play over the last few months. One of their favourite games recently has been to tie a long shoelace onto a shoe and then drag the shoe along behind them as a pet dog (the sort of invention that Balamorys Archie would be proud of!) . This morning they left both dogs at the hotel, under the tyre swing. Hopefully theyd be a bit more careful with the real thing.
The drive to Malawi was very beautiful. We drove past tea plantations long rows of low, lush bushes with leaves of a verdant, rich green.
We were met at the border by gangs of over-eager money changers, but we decided to change our money at the Bureau de Change (on the Malawian side) instead. This turned out to be a good decision as we later discovered that many people are robbed by these informal money changers at the border. Formalities going into Malawi took about an hour and a half. The administration itself probably took about half an hour most of the time was spent waiting for customs or immigration staff to find time is their hectic social life to do a little bit of work.
We drove to Chilimba and stopped for the night at Sangilo Sanctuary. This hotel/campsite is in a beautiful location, but is a bit neglected some toilet cubicles had ivy growing in them, other toilets didnt flush. Showers for campers didnt work at all so we were directed to other showers more like dribbles than showers. It was very overpriced and we werent impressed.