Saturday, June 25:
Today was a great day and absolutely beautiful! We woke up at 7 am, had breakfast, and all piled on the bus to head to Mt. Mulanje, which was three hours away. As we were about two hours into the trip, we could start seeing the mountain and it was the highest peak I have ever seen in my life. Mt. Mulanje is the third biggest mountain in all of Africa and it blended in with the clouds because it was so high up. When we pulled up to Mt. Mulanje, we were swarmed with tour guides who were trying to get on our bus and begging us to hire them as their tour guides. I guess it’s easy money for them to walk up the hill and then get paid 1500 kwacha, which is about 6 American dollars. It was hysterical because they were all shouting at Dr. Kelly and she was not having it. She finally pulled three people into our bus, and they rode with us to the starting point where we then all piled out of the car. We used the restrooms at one of the hostels on the mountain, which was so cute! Dr. Kelly said that since it takes over three days to complete the entire hike, a lot of people would camp out at hostels that are located along the way of the mountain. How cool is that? It was like a little retreat house. We finally all headed up the hill, stopping only a few times along the 2.5 mile hike up. And when I say “hike up”, I mean it; the entire thing was up hill and at a few point you had to hold on to trees to hoist yourself up. After about an hour, we finally got to our stopping point, which still seemed to be at the very bottom of the mountain, but it was a great stopping point. We arrived at a beautiful, clear waterfall where we all ate our lunches, took pictures and climbed down to put our feet in the waterfall and climb on rocks. It was such a beautiful day, and we were little in the middle of a mountain underneath a waterfall. It was so peaceful, and I couldn’t imagine actually hiking to the top of the mountain since in an hour we made basically zero progress to the top! We all hung out at the waterfall for about 45 minutes or so, and then headed back to the bottom since we were on a time crunch to try to get back before dark. On the way out, we stopped at the vendors, but there were only a few so I didn’t buy anything. I’m saving my money for next week when we go to Mt. Mvuu because apparently the vendors there have much more to chose from. On the ride back, we witnessed the most beautiful sunset. The sky was all perfectly white clouds and a completely pink sky with a bright orange sun. It was amazing! It’s crazy how with all the pictures I have taken while being here, none of them give Africa any justice . All the pictures of the scenery and sunsets and mountains are nothing compared to the beauty in person. We finally arrived back at Annie’s at about 7 and we rushed to take showers and order food since we were starving. Our normal group (Katie, me, Bebe, Allison, Lindsay, Ashley, Anna and Kaitlin) all ate together, feeling great that we had finally gotten a days worth of good exercise. Some of us drank, but we were pretty exhausted, so everyone went to bed except Allison, Bebe, Katie and myself. We all stayed up looking at pictures and talking, and were so proud of ourselves for staying up until midnight haha! Well, that was all the excitement for today. We are all getting so anxious for the safaris on Wednesday, and we are also all freaking out that we have already been here for 2 weeks, knowing that the second 2 weeks are going to go by even faster. Craziness. Peace, love, Malawi.