After nearly 24 hours of travel, our group of 26 arrived at Annie’s Lodge in Lilongwe around 3pm (Malawian time). We spent the rest of the day exploring the quaint lodge and meeting the staff. Everyone spoke great English and was very welcoming! Peter, Annie’s son, is the owner of the lodge. He is British and quite charming!
Before dinner, Sammy (our unofficial tour guide) traded money for us on the black market. The US dollar is rare in Malawi and the government tries to control the exchange rate. Malawian currency is the kwacha. He sat in a room with 4 other men and we went in to trade our money. It was sketchy to say the least. The exchange rate was 185 kwacha for every $1 as oppose to the bank, which would have been 152 kwacha for every dollar. Don’t worry, Dad, I only exchanged $100 at first. But after the “deal”, we all felt pretty rich!
Our dinner consisted of chicken and rice. It was exactly what expected the food to be like. We all sat around, drank a few beers and got to know each other for the rest of the night before returning to our beds covered by mosquito nets.