Malawi Style!

I’ve been planning a ‘first impression type blog’ since the first week we got here, over 3 months ago. My delay has not been due lack of impression but rather, because it’s taken me 3 months to get brave!

I made the mistake of thinking the Malawi experience would be much the same as the Mozambican one. After almost 7 years in Mozambique, I was confident when it came to the people and the culture;I  had learned enough Portuguese to hold a decent conversation, I knew what to say and how to say it to make people feel at ease – so that I could get that cracking photo! I was familiar with my surroundings.

Within days of being here, I quickly realised that Malawi is not Mozambique! And in hindsight, what was I thinking when I thought it would be! I thought I’d stroll into this country, with swagger of course! I’d take my seat, pull out the camera and shoot anything I want! I’d continue, confidently, in the direction of my dreams. Malawi was mine!

Moving to Malawi has felt just like that feeling you get when you walk into a small-town pub and everyone turns around to look at you at the same time, when your bubble of “I’m here” confidence is popped and your swagger becomes a ‘slink’ with a quiet ‘hi.’

Yes, it’s taken me 3 months to gather enough photos to back up my ‘first impressions of Malawi’ blog. It has been pointed out to me that Malawi is not all the same. While it is one of the smaller countries in Africa – the south, central and northern regions are all different with regards to their population density, landscape, friendliness and culture.

I live in the southern region of Malawi on a sugar cane estate. As I did in Mozambique, I hope to share with you my experience of this country and while it may not be everyone else’s experience, it’s going to be mine. I hope to shed light on topics such as conservation or lack of, Malawian culture, animals, travel, food and the every day life of  the Malawian. I hope to meet more people like Rudi, whose story will inspire. But most of all, as did my blog in Mozambique, I hope that my Malawi blog experience will give me the opportunity to grow as a person.

The last few months have been transitional. Although we are still camping in our house while we wait for our furniture – 2 things have changed. The first is that I have met a number of wonderful people! In fact this move to Malawi has been a treat in the way of friends; I see so much possibility in the way of friendship, but not enough time! And two, I’m getting to know this place. Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes it make me  question myself, sometimes it saddens or angers me, sometimes it frightens me and often, it makes me happy. Either way, it does what Africa does best – it makes me feel alive!

So I built up some courage today and did what I did in Mozambique. Instead of being chauffeured to town with a driver (company policy and a good way of saving fuel/money) I drove myself! And when I saw someone/something interesting I stopped and spoke to them.

Although not all of these pictures are from today, some of them are. And I can’t quite explain to you how happy it made me feel to do what I do and for it to work in Malawi 🙂

These are my first impressions of Malawi, Malawi style!

Nchalo estate 062

First, cows dominate the roads.


Cows, again.

Sheep pedestrians!

And sheep  too!

Right of way

But mostly bicycles….

   IMG_9484  IMG_9222  IMG_0084

 The ‘transport’ is a story in itself; the type of transport, what type of ticket money will buy, what people transport, the risks people take, the time it takes to reach their destination and the ‘Where are you going?’ Travel can tell us so much about a place.

  IMG_0525   Cape Mclear July Brock 090

Cape Mclear July Brock 072   IMG_2118

Quite often, especially when travelling down the steep and winding road to the Shire river, travel does not go as planned.

Cape Mclear July Brock 001

But never doubt the Malawians ability to ‘make a plan.’ And don’t doubt the plan either!

   Cape Mclear July Brock 020   Cape Mclear July Brock 013

Where are you going to good sir?

Paint Job


IMG_9436   IMG_9577

After a hard days work or a job well done, where better to go to other than…


…the pub!

After all those Carlsberg beers you had, Malawi has everything you might need to cure that excruciating pain you feel in your frontal lobe region.

The hangover clinic

And if that doesn’t cure it, you might find that a good hearty fresh meal will do the trick…

IMG_0203  IMG_9545

A fine way to keep the fish cool – hang it on your mirror while proceeding at pace to your destination.

Slaughtered pig

Pork for sale at a roadside butchery.

If pork, fish, beef or chicken don’t excite you, you can always try the famous Malawi Mice kebab…

Rat Kebabs

 I always admire those folk who hit the gym after a big night out when too much Carlsberg was consumed…

For those of you gym enthusiasts, why spend a fortune on Trojan treadmills and gym equipment when you can simply make your own using old car parts?


I must be honest and say that I’m more the movie type. A quick visit to the local dvd store seems like a good idea when feeling crap…

DVD shop

The local pirated DVD outlet!

But sympathy for a hangover victim only goes so far. As Elizabeth Taylor once said, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”

Fanta Orange

Fanta Orange, Africa’s all time favourite!

Then, get your best kit on and be seen!

Malawi fashion


Photo Gallery:

35 replies »

  1. I am so glad I find your blog some time ago. My husband lived in Mozambique and South Africa a long time ago but he always told me Malawi is the best. I love your photos.

  2. Excellent stuff. This gives a real snapshot image of your new country. The mice kebab does take some beating. I’ll stick to the roadside pork butchery. I hope Malawi brings plenty of inspiration and more good photographs as the months progress.

  3. Wonderful. Shame the people are not relaxed around the camera. I’ve known many a place like that. In those places, i’ve honed many a trick to sneak a shot or two… Hope you fit into your new surroundings like a piece in the jigsaw puzzle. 🙂

  4. Oh, so hilarious! And so accurate. One might think you had to go out of your way to find the humorous roadside stall or storefront, but no. They’re everywhere! This is classic Malawi, and I love it! And the best quote of the blog – Africa makes you feel alive. True indeed.

    • Thank you, glad you enjoyed the post! You are so right in that there is huge element of ‘humour’ in Malawi, especially when it comes to names of shops! I think one of my favourite spots for fun shop names is Kasungu! Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comments 🙂

  5. What a great post. How did the mice kebab taste? 🙂 I went to Malawi 3 years ago and absolutely loved it. It had some of the nicest people I’d ever met. I was in Nhkata bay, Chizimulu, Likoma and the capital. Great place.

    Thanks for sharing these awesome photos and good luck in your new venture.

    • Noooo, I have not been brave enough to sample a mice kebab yet! That will take a fair amount of bravery! For now I will focus my ‘bravery’ efforts on photography and leave the mice for the locals!

      I spent some time around Lilongwe/Kasungu about 10 years ago and definitely want to get back up there. And to explore the north too. My Malawi bucket list grows by the day! Thank you for reading 🙂

  6. Fantastic photos. Thanks so much for sharing your Malawi adventures. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your life there. I’ve been to five different countries in beautiful Africa, and, like you, am always amazed how different each one is. 🙂

    • Thank you Jet 🙂 You are right, no country is alike! Malawi has been like unwrapping a multi-layered gift, with each layer becoming more colourful and unique. Hopefully the big prize will be loads of awesome photos and stories!

    • I had no idea it was so cold in Lesotho for the winter. But, of course. I should have looked at a temperature chart for a typical year. Now I’m wondering how the people stay warm — so many families have no electricity. Thanks for reading and making me think today.

  7. Gosh, I love your posts. As I said before, in my nomination for A Lovely Blog Award, it’s Africa Unplugged! Your stories and photographs are authentic and compelling. I look forward to following your adventures in Malawi. All the best, Annabel

    • Thank you for the lovely blog award and for your thoughtful comments Annabel 🙂 It’s great to get feed back from fellow Africans like yourself who have embraced a unique African lifestyle in such a creative, delicious way 🙂