There is something romantic about the idea of taking a ship across a lake in Africa, and the Ilala gives you just such an opportunity. The Ilala ferry has been traversing Lake Malawi for some 60 years and travels the 365-mile lake from north to south and back again once a week. We boarded the Ilala in Monkey Bay, its southernmost port, to take us north to Nkhata Bay. Only three of the twelve ports on the route had a working pier, and the others were serviced by teams of shore boats, so exploring each port was not an option. With a 42-hour journey facing us at a running speed of 8.4 knots, there was nothing but time to explore the ship and look out over the lake.