Knud Henrik's diary 19 June 2006: Mbeya and Matema

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Last updated 2007.11.21

In Mbeya we stayed at a kind of a youth hostel, run by a church organisation. No luxury, but fair. For dinner we went to a place where the menu comprised "Pasta Bolognese", a must for some of us.

Saturday 17 June was dedicated to practical duties. While I spent all morning at a internet café, uploading diaries and pictures, checking our bank account and checking emails, Mai-Britt and Lea did the laundry. In the afternoon, Mai-Britt and I reworked our itinerary for the rest of the journey.

For dinner we went to the Mount Livingstone Hotel. The first time I visited Mbeya back in 1989, the restaurant of this hotel was excellent. Five years later, in 1994, Mai-Britt and I passed here and checked out the place, to realise that the cuisine was just a shadow of itself. Now, we gave it another chance, in the hope that they had revived the glory of the past; just to realise that they had not.

Originally, it was our plan to climb the Kilimanjoro. But kids under the age of 12 are not allowed to go there and as soon as we got that information we put it off. Just north of Mbeya there is a mountain range with a not to difficult summit, called Loleza Peek, 2836 m, that is about 1100 m above Mbeya town. Not being a true substitution to Kilimanjaro but still a mountain. We suggested that to be the destination for the Sunday and the kids bought it instantly. The climb turned out to be quite irksome, and in fact we had to give in some 300 m below the summit. Anyway, we had a good tour and it was good to have some physical activity as contrast to all the car driving.

Today we went on to a small village called Matema, at the northern end of Lake Malawi (actually, in Tanzania it's called Lake Nyasa). The road from Mbeya crosses a fairly high mountain range and hence it runs down through a very fertile valley. For the first time on this journey we saw tea plantations together with a huge variety of other crops. On the way we try to find a crater with a allegedly beautiful deep-blue lake, called Ngozi Crater. After some driving around and seeing some quite fascinating scenaries and asking for directions a number of times we eventually ended at a point where walking up a rather steep track through some soaking wet vegetation seemed the only way to go. As we didn't feel like getting soaked in the very cold and misty weather we gave up and headed for Lake Malawi.

We had read about a place called Matema Lake Shore Resort as being a really nice place. The road was not easy to find nor follow but in the end we managed to find the place. And what a place! I'm sitting on the veranda in from of the house, overlooking the lake while the waves keep rolling in. The "room" is actually more like a small flat or a studio, a master bedroom upstairs with a balcony, bathroom and kids bedroom downstairs. From the veranda there is no more than 50 m to the shore line. The altitude is only 480 m a.s.l. so the climate here is a lot warmer than in Mbeya, where it sometimes was rather cold, actually. The coordinates for your information: S 09º 29' 57.8" E 034º 01' 01.0".

We have arranged for some dinner at six o'clock, which is in ten minutes, so that's it for today.