Lots of forests around Mzuzu, but very dry and the smokes of wildfires are all around. Deforestation is one of the plagues that Malawi’s struggling with. Much is lost to charcoal that is readily available along the roads. Buying it is illegal, and police do check cars for it (I know from experience), and still everyone does it. As do the police. Once they find a sack in someone’s boot, that sack will be confiscated for the benefit of you know who.
The road from Lilongwe to Kasunga is bad, as in: bad. It improves after Mzuzu, and later on we found ourselves driving very narrow serpentines, in what looks like empty mountainous bushland, where Chimz kept on telling stories of car-jackings. Our car decided to stop randomly three times. Not funny. Especially in such an area, shortly before nightfall, and with the zero-est of signals on your phone.
Almost inevitably, considering the distance in total, we spent the last hour driving in the dark trying to avoid oncoming trucks, unlit bicycles, the odd pothole (few though that side), and veering off a road with no sidelines.