Backpacking in Malawi – Senga Bay
From Cape Maclear there is a great way to get out – the LLawa ferry ( and i loooove boats!).
Anyone who has ever been on a long term backpacking stint will know all too well the endless hours you spend on packed buses, sweating, head bobbing, starving longing for your destination. This is why when offered the chance of a boat – you HAVE to take it! And so we did…
Ferry from Cape Maclear to Senga Bay
The ferry runs once a week from the bottom of the lake to the top of the lake via an island in the middle. If I had time I would definitely have headed to the island but alas that’s for another trip, so if you have the chance then grab the opportunity and set sail!
As I mentioned in previous posts about Malawi the transport is somewhat unpredictable so from leaving Cape Maclear leaving at 5am and arriving at Senga bay around 7pm I managed to sit in the back of a pick-up truck, was wedged into a minibus, took a slooooow ferry, jumped on the back of a push-bike taxi, broke down in a van when the petrol was so low that going up a hill the petrol ran from the tank, hitched a ride with a crazy English women in a saloon car alongside her considerably younger Malawian husband and finally arrived in Senga Bay with my life intact.
Having spent a grand total of $6 on transport all day, I realized just how cheap Malawi can be if your willing to rough it a little bit.
Senga Bay $1 a night
Senga Bay is an interesting little place. Much more removed from the tourist trail that exists in Malawi (and therefore your Malawian Kwacha stretches much further) it certainly feels much more like ‘real Africa’. We stayed in a very local guesthouse for a dollar a night in the middle of an African village which was certainly an experience in itself.
The town of Senga Bay does have a couple of hostels, and in true shoestring style, we stayed in a cheap place and spent our time in the nice place! The hostels offer a few great watersport activities and all for less than $15 so save some money on food and accommodation and go crazy on the lake all afternoon, still ducking under that $30 a day budget that most people go with.
Be aware however, that there are no ATMS here that work (in fact that goes for a lot of the country!) so stock up on cash in Llongwe or Blantyre if possible.
Winning a T-Shirt and a mobile phone!
I had done that, luckily enough, so when I saw some disgusting brash pink tshirts seemingly for sale I made a beeline to them to make my purchase.
There was a lot of activity surrounding the event, with hordes of locals surrounding the pink bus with the Tshirts so I moved a little closer to find out what was going on. Big mistake.
Before long I was at the front of the crowd with the guy and his microphone publicly enquiring as to how to get one of these t shirts. “$9” he said. I was shocked by the price considering we were in Malawi after all but the public pressure got to me so I decided to see the purchase through to the end, I tried to then buy the shirt for the $9 but apparently I had got the whole thing wrong.
This pink event was being run by one of their phone networks (Zain) and I had to buy a phone and simcard for $9 and if I was lucky I may win a tshirt along with the sim.
A bit of fraudulent activity by the guy on the microphone and soon I was the lucky winner of a tshirt and a proud new owner of a Zain mobile phone. The crowd seemed entertained at least, if a little skeptical!
Time in Senga Bay was up, off to the capital….
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.
Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!
Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.
Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email email@example.com to get started.
Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.
I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!