Friday, 18 December 2009

Travellers Tales: Transport in Malawi

A post on travelling in Malawi from a recent visitor.

Many people in Malawi don’t have access to their own transport and there is no public transport as such. This means that some people will walk for miles and miles in order to get to the nearest town, school or even hospital.

However, if you stand on the side of the road (and you have a good idea of where you need to go), you can hop onto the back of a pick-up or jump in a minibus for a very minimal price with a whole host of other travellers. Often you will find (particularly as a white tourist or a ‘mzungu’) that you will be able to haggle the price down to a similar price that the locals pay. Normally, when you manage to do this well, the driver or person you are haggling with will laugh and say “ah, you have been in Africa before.”

The journey into town or wherever you are going is an experience you will not get in many other places and you will find that you are in very close proximity with a lot of other people and their belongings – bags of fish, rice, sugar cane and sometimes live chickens. The journey is often very bumpy and very noticeably, the driver will cut out the engine when going down a hill before bump starting it to get up the other side, in order to save petrol.

For me, I can see no other way to travel in Malawi, it is cheap, the people are very friendly, you can familiarise yourself with the normal way the locals travel and you are also able to experience the chatter (a mixture of the many and varied Malawian languages) around you.

Kindly written for All About Malawi Blog by Will Andrews

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