All 34 of us packed in to 3 vans to drive 2 hours north to an area called Zomba, a beautiful plateau with various hikes we could take on. We left early Saturday morning and stopped by Shoprite – like Woolworths – on the way for snacks before embarking on the relatively uncomfortable and crammed van drive, with spectacular views out each side. Mango Lodge delivered hot showers, comfortable beds and a nice bar area where everyone could chill, there was nothing more we could want. Lunch came around 2.5 hours after we ordered it, but their attempt at western food was well worth the wait.
Driving up the plateau gave us a gradual vast view of Zomba and the van went silent as we all looked out at what seemed to be endless green hills with a few spotted houses. We arrived at the top of the plateau and met Simon, who agreed to guide us on our hike to the waterfall that afternoon, which would be about 90 minutes return. We paid him 3000 Kwacha to lead our huge group up the trail and down to the waterfall. I quickly became grateful for my hiking boots purchase. Trees lined the road, none a duplicate of what had passed or what was to come, displaying the kind of nature outlook you only see in photographs by explorers of places you never thought you would see for yourself.
Upon our return we sat down to a few drinks at the tables overlooking the rest of zomba and the mountains in the distance as the sun began its descent. I think it’s moments like those that reconfirm why someone has flown halfway around the world, miles out of their comfort zone to experience a place and a culture so different from their own. I’m not sure what makes a sunset so special, it’s a very normal, daily thing that will happen no matter where you go. But there’s something about experiencing it in a place so different from home that makes you stop and enjoy it that much more.