THE ADDRESS Magazine Summer 2014 - Page 383

Photo: Anisha Shah to be seen. Some house few straw huts; fishing communities who’ve pitched up on the shore. Each village or beach has a name in Nyanja, the local language in this particular area, based on the wildlife found there. I shudder as we pass ‘mountain of snakes.’ Livingstone, on his discovery, described Lake Malawi as the Lake of Stars. Mozambique is one of 4 shorelines lapped by the waters of Lake Malawi. In Mozambique, it’s referred to as Lake Nyassa, its original name before independence. Arriving at dusk, it becomes clear why Livingstone was enchanted. Africa’s second deepest lake spans 365 kilometres in length and 52 kilometres width, frequently referred to as ‘Calendar Lake.’ Seemingly endless flat waters ensure enduring sunsets, of progressively deepening richness and intensity, over a slow-motioned hour. A charter Cessna plane transfers visitors from Lilongwe, capital and international entry point of Malawi, to Likoma island on Lake Malawi. Here, it’s a quick check-out of Malawi to proceed to the Mozambican shores. En route, we stop at the most rural immigration I’ve ever encountered. The boat stops in Cobue village. It’s a short trek up a sandy hill to a mud shack with no electricity and fading natural light, surrounded by village children who’ve come to see the foreigner. Certainly the most informal customs I’ve ever known, we knock on a tin-roofed shack. The friendly customs officer runs across from his home to stamp my passport. This is as removed as it gets. From the plane here, the dazzling, infinite royal blue lake appears fringed by iridescent mythic mountains to one side and remote sun-bleached coastline to the other. Now, the sun is setting, villagers are washing off a long day’s sweat and grind; a group of young women wash topless lakeside, wrapped only in a sarong, whilst laughing and teasing each other. We zip speedily across placid waters whilst the sunset transcends luminous shades of gold, orange and indigo before nightfall. The silence and stillness is dumbfounding. I’ve just missed full moon, as tonight it’s the finest sliver of silver. Livingstone named this the ‘Lake of Stars.’ Staggering starry constellations literally illuminate the night sky, creating the impression of a falsified dome. Entire clusters twinkle and blink across a 180-degree aerial panorama. The later it gets, the more the distant clusters appear, in their thousands. I have never seen so many stars. Amongst them, an orange star burns bright, Mars. My boat arrives at Nkwichi Lodge, on the Mozambican shores of Lake Malawi. 383