The moments that make Malawi

I grew up in the lush hills of Ixopo in KwaZulu Natal. It’s been 10 years since I lived there and even back then, it was only for a couple of years, in between going ‘other’ places.  Since I was 10 years old, I wanted to travel and explore the world. It must have been the wanderlust gene, born with a hunger to explore!

It completely ‘ceased’ to be home when I got married and moved to Zimbabwe. Suddenly I found myself in a different world; one of hyper-inflation, power cuts and water cuts, queues to buy food and dealing with brief cases of dollar notes! It was my rather harsh introduction into life north of the Limpopo and a few years later, life as an expat in Africa.

On my previous departure from my old home town, a friend said to me, ‘Lianne you’ll hate it, that life in the bush. No bright lights, no dazzling career, no malls, no movies, no trendy restaurants. What will you do with all your time?’

But back then, I had no idea where this road would take me; of what I’d experience, of what I’d see and of what I’d learn. Since leaving ‘home,’ I’ve acquired a taste for dust, dirt, markets, bumpy roads, violent thunder storms and second hand clothes! I’ve also acquired a whole lot more patience for inefficiency and bad drivers (!) as well as tolerance and building friendships with people so very different to myself. And above all, I’ve acquired a sense of fluidity, of accepting and moving with what life gives.

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” -Maya Angelou

Living in Africa has given me a different perspective on life. The unusual has become the usual.  I’m familiar and comfortable in a bustling roadside market, of maneuvering around goat and cow jams, of being delayed, of Kamikaze cyclists…and even rat kebabs!  With certainty, I can say that I love this life and am going to miss it!

Never in my wildest dreams, did I think I’d be going back to my home town! My husband has been offered an opportunity in Ixopo in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa – at the very place I grew up.

For the last few years, I’ve worn a different pair of shoes. And I wonder where these shoes might take me in South Africa – in a place I once called home and will again.

I have 2 weeks left of living in Malawi. These next few posts will be about the little inconspicuous moments and scenes I have come to know and love.


I say, do you see any fish tonight?


One photo = to the price of one rat kebab


Family wash day


Melons for sale!


I’m sure some of these Malawians would be good competition to any pro canoeist!


No such thing as no space!


Women gathering for their morning chat and wash


Mulanje Massif


Snacks for the road


On the road to Dedza



Cow jam!


Beautiful Lake Malawi, also known as the calendar lake because it is 365 miles long and 52 miles wide!


Mr and Mrs Banda, parents of Phillip store!


Nobody is a hero garments store



“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.” – T. S. Eliot

19 replies »

    • Thank you 🙂 Although I am naturally feeling a little apprehensive about this next move, I’m choosing to look at it as a whole new adventure! It feels like this ‘move back home,’ should be more ‘familiar’ than what it is, but I truly have no idea what it might bring! And I find that quite exciting!

    • Thank you 🙂 This next road will no doubt be quite different from the current one, having to do all that normal kind of stuff like pay rent and electricity bills, drop kids off for school and pack lunch boxes but I am quite sure that where ever we go as a family, we’ll make it an adventure! Even if it’s back to my home town…I hope!!!

    • Thank you:-) Yes, that’s a good question – what will our next adventures be?! Sadly no rat kebabs, but I’m sure South Africa has a box of surprises waiting for us! I’m looking forward to getting to know it all over again and where it might take my blog 🙂

    • That’s definitely the way to guarantee fresh experiences (with your camera in tow) – land somewhere new! I look forward to hearing about it 🙂

  1. I have just loved your Malawi blog having been born at Malamula Mission many, many years ago (parents were at Namingomba Tea Estates and frequented Thyolo club playing tennis and cricket etc. I wish you a happy time in Ixopo sometimes hotashell and sometimes shrouded in mist near Qunu falls!! You will fit right back in at “home” good luck, take care ansd stay safe. Looking forward to your new blog. Regards Lynne Hulett Ballito/ex Nyasaland and Alice EP.

    • Thank you Lynne 🙂 I’m really going to miss this place! Although it’s a small country, the landscapes are so diverse and the experiences are raw, which I love! Ixopo will be quite an adjustment, especially weather-wise, but I’m very excited about our future and what South Africa might bring for our family and my blog! Like snow, mountains, the Wild Coast and biltong – that’s enough for me! Thank you for reading. Qunu falls sounds like a good starting point!

  2. I am so happy in a mixed up way, to hear that you are returning to Natal, loved your brave life up north. But i look forward to stories closer to home for me. Umzinto, Park Rynie and Cafe Erica that we managed for 7 years! I worried for your safety in Malawi. However what knowledge do we have of safety anywhere!! X

    • Thank you Liz 🙂 I’m looking forward to my return and where it might take my blog and it’s future. Funnily enough, I am quite nervous about returning to SA because of the safety. Malawi is honestly one of the safest countries I have lived in. While there is crime, it’s not violent. Might you be thinking of our time in Mozambique? Thank you for reading and I hope my blog brings back some good memories when we are back in Natal. Have a good Easter 🙂