By Caiden Lang
After months of planning and rigorous preparation the time has finally arrived for us to embark on our adventure. What we plan to do is to kayak the entire circumference of Lake Malawi.
When planning started approximately 5 months ago, our aim was to kayak the coastline of Mozambique. Due to a number of logistical complications combined with the fact that our mothers happened to watch a particular episode of Carte Blanche (where they described the danger of Somalian pirates), the plan changed to what it is now. The distance that we will be covering is about 1400km and we plan to complete the paddle sometime around the two and-a-half month mark. This gives us quite a bit of time to soak up the Lake Malawi experience which, I’m told, is dominated by the remarkable scenery and made all the more enjoyable by the warmth and hospitality of the locals.
Something that I want to mention in detail is the charity that we are raising money for. A few years ago, Matt and Guy were backpacking through Tanzania and they came across an orphanage in the town of Mbeya. Sharmala, a Sri Lankan lady who runs the Hope for the Future Foundation, took them in for a night and they spent time with the children benefiting from Sharmala’s care. They were taken aback by the hospitality shown to them and the dedication and love Sharmala showed to the children. Our raising money for the Hope for the Future Foundation is a way of repaying the children and their kind-hearted caregiver for the hospitality shown to Matt and Guy.
Together with Sharmala, we have identified the needs of the foundation which lie specifically with its Inner City Programme. We hope to raise R48 750 which will be enough money to support the 125 children involved in the programme for an entire year. By support, I mean pay for school fees, clothe and feed them. If you want to get involved in helping us raise the money then log onto our website. Any donations will be much appreciated! The support so far has been incredible. We have even had people from overseas writing to us, pledging money to our cause. Thank you to all the people who have pledged money. Its great knowing you have our backs.
I can’t tell you how excited we are. The other three have all been to Lake Malawi before but it’s my first time so even just travelling up to the lake will be an adventure in itself. A trip like this is not without its dangers which we have done our best to prepare for but I suppose preparation stops at a certain point and luck and initiative has to kick in. We will be subjected to enormous waves brought on by howling winds but it will not stop there. We are going to have to contend with sleepless nights brought on by mosquitoes as well as staying on our toes when it comes to avoiding crocs and hippos. Hunger will no doubt be an issue on the Tanzanian and Mozambique side of the lake because of the vast distances we will travel without passing through even the tiniest of villages.
What I have failed to mention is that we are doing the trip unaided, which means no vehicle will be following us with food supplies. We have fishing rods and a spear gun which will hopefully, with a bit of luck, provide us with the means to some much needed protein. We have heard stories of man-eating lions where some hunting concessions border the lake in Tanzania. Not much we can do if they decide we look tasty. And then there are the general dangers like sickness and injury. We are going to be travelling in two single boats and one double so that if someone does get malaria or is in some way unable to paddle, he can travel as a passenger on the double.
Despite these things, we are extremely optimistic and look forward to the sights, interaction with the locals and just being out in nature which is a love that all four of us share. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we will revel in and we look forward to sharing our stories with you. We are going to be taking turns to blog as we make our progress around the lake and will update the site with pictures and video clips.
“No man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.” Abraham Lincoln.
Visit the Malawi Expedition website for more info on sponsors and charity donations.