Getting back on the horse, I decided to do the first of my last-month-in-Malawi visits last weekend. I travelled to Malawi's big urban attraction, Blantyre and a small hill station called Zomba. Blantyre is the Bombay of Malawi - the country's commercial hub, urban, densely populated and with nice restaurants and places to hang out. But that's where the similarity ends. Surrounded by rolling hills and a few tall mountains, Blantyre in the rainy season is lush green, cool and pretty.
Our motivations for driving to Blantyre were less than noble as we were the designated groupies for a 6 member expat covers band that started playing the on circuit a couple of months ago. The Llongways are a quirky band playing the guitar, piano, drums, trumpet, flute and violin and a beautiful Italian voice to lead. It was entertaining to listen to them play a funny mix of the Blues Brothers, Chuck Berry, Bryan Adams and Patti Smith - honestly, one of the most fun times in Malawi. The follow-up to the concert was, of course, a forgettable evening of random club hopping with Indian men hitting on us and a Malawian pickpocket giving me the death-glare because I saved a firengi from his roving hands (What is it with me and thieves?!!!).
We got over the night-out debacle quickly and drove to Zomba Plateau on Sunday morning. Zomba is a beautiful hill station an hour from Blantyre. Here I got a glimpse of the beauty of the African forest. It was a small hill station, by no means making an appearance on the 1000-things-to-do-in-Africa-List, but the sights still took my breath away. Although we passed up on any hiking/ trekking opportunities, standing on top of the plateau we could see mountains at the horizon and lush green plains covering the distance between. Relaxing at the Zomba Sunbird Hotel was also not a hardship :)
As I was standing on the Sunbird deck staring out at the vast expanse of mountains, I realized this is what African tourism should be all about. Not cities, not nightclubs, not gory history. Only pure and unrivalled natural beauty stretching as far as the eye can see.