— By Harvey from Malawi
How much do you know about Malawi as a country? Probably very little. Experience everything about the country through Harvey’s eyes, a local who is traveling across the country, reporting for YaLa Africa Press. You just might like it!
There are very few things in this life that gets my blood pressure boiling. Non-does that more than the road networks in Malawi. For anyone thinking of visiting or even driving on Malawian roads in the near future, this piece is definitely for you. After traveling and driving on Malawian roads for close to three years, here is what I know:
— The general rule is that all motorists drive on the left side of the road section, but don’t be surprised when you see someone drive comfortably on the right-hand side, especially after last year’s massive rainy season. Many roads have chronic potholes, forcing everyone to drive as they please to ensure their vehicles don’t get injured.
— Most roads have no pedestrian sidewalk. A cautionary statement: if you see a pedestrian walking, or cyclist in the same road section as cars, do not be alarmed. Personally, I do not blame them – like the rest of the motorists, they too do pay taxes and deserve to be treated with a proper road experience.
— Most minor road offenses can be remedied by cash. These include driving without a valid driver’s license, driving of a vehicle without proper documentation, driving vehicles that are not road-worthy, etc. (Disclaimer: don’t blame me if it doesn’t work for you). This is business as usual, cash for the permission of passage, especially with minibus drivers. So, if you are traveling long distances, prepare yourself to persevere multiple sessions of cop-driver diplomacy along the stretch. It’s not all that bad though, one gets to experience the true characters of men and themselves under these intense conditions.
— If you happen to own a car and reside in the ghetto like I do, expect to wash your vehicles hourly, as most low-middle class residential areas have super dusty road networks. This is not a good thing though, as it is perpetuating the wastage of clean water resources, which if I may add is already in short supply.
— Of course, keep a look out for goats, cows, dogs, chickens, and other earthly creatures on the road as you drive through the M1 road in smaller districts. They have a tendency to show up when you are least expecting them.