Hi there, thank you for dropping in at the Africa far and wide blog!

My name is Lianne  Ashton and I am the author, photographer and soon to be ‘host’ of a brand new podcast. This blog has been really close to my heart in that it’s been the vehicle for me to explore and discover my ‘home’ Africa and also to dig into ‘life!’ It’s been a vehicle for me to explore my own ‘journey,’ as well as to learn about other people’s way of life and experiences and all the gritty, beautiful, raw stuff that comes with living in Africa! For the most part, Africa far and wide is an adventure, one that is not afraid to take the bumpy, unpaved road to a destination not yet known! Sometimes it is light, sometimes it’s raw and heartbreaking, sometimes it’s a heap of fun – but it is always real! 

I would love for you to join me on this journey! I have no idea where it might go, but I do know that it will be an experience and an adventure!  HIT THE FOLLOW BUTTON TO HOP ON – this vehicle is about to leave! 

About the Africa far and wide blog; where it started, where it’s been and where it is now.

The life of this blog seems to roll in chapters, with every new African country that we’ve moved to, being a new chapter. This is the 3rd time I’m rewriting my About page, coinciding with our move back to my home country, South Africa.

Our move back to South Africa in 2016 has certainly earned it’s new About page, being so completely different to the previous years. This photographic blog started a number of years ago when my husband and I lived in central Mozambique. But our story started in Zimbabwe a few years before.


I got married and moved to Zimbabwe – a country in the throes of hyperinflation and ruled by a dictator. There I began to write, documenting my experience of living in a country where every single resident was a ‘trillionaire,’ only a trillion dollars could hardly buy you a box of matches.

We’d wait for hours in queues to buy a loaf of bread, some cooking oil or a bag of sugar with a tog bag full up of Zimbabwean dollars. We’d pay our bills with fuel, we cooked on fire most nights and we’d attempt to make a living by farming paprika. Zimbabwe was where I learned that ‘life’ is not obliged to be fair, or to make sense. I learned about ‘power,’ and ‘corruption.’ I had to toughen up and I had to be careful of what I say.  It’s where I got given my first lesson in ‘making a plan’  and where I learned that sometimes having a good sense of humour is the only way through a difficult time.  In Zimbabwe, laughter is actual medicine.



2 years later, we were given an opportunity to farm sugarcane in central Mozambique for a South African sugar company. We lived in Mozambique for 8 years. This is when I started the Africa far and wide blog. I wanted to do something meaningful and creative with my time and importantly, capture and share with you the ‘experience’ of Mozambique.

From 1964 to 1992, Mozambique had back to back wars, starting with the Mozambican war of Independence followed by the Civil War in which over a million people lost their lives. It was a guerrilla war and it was brutal with long lasting repercussions that still linger on today.

During my time in Mozambique I discovered the true meaning of ‘resilience’ in its people. Though there is much poverty, their strength, will to survive and the deep wisdom that comes with loss,  shows up in their every day life, their commitment to family and their upbeat tenacity when confronted with a set back. I also noticed the very thin line that separates life and death here, how death comes quickly and how it is accepted.

I fell in love with Mozambique. Bit by bit, I began to look deeper and ask more questions. With my camera in hand, I took notice of the everyday life, the struggles, the celebrations, the disputes and the culture. I observed ‘life’ nothing like mine.



8 years later, we moved to Nchalo – another sugarcane estate on the Southern tip of Malawi.  We lived here as expats for a blissful 2 years – making new friends, discovering the ‘lake of stars,’ and exploring this landlocked, highly populated but beautiful country.  It was here that I got to learn about ‘deforestation’ and its devastating consequences, fueling the vicious cycle of poverty. Our time in Malawi was all about adventure and exploring a tropical paradise – the fragile paradise that still remains! For the most part, Malawi felt like a very long holiday and it made the next move that much harder!

I loved our expat life; a life of ‘permanent’ travel, of meeting people from all walks of life and continually discovering new things. Little did we know, a completely new way of life would be calling sooner than we had anticipated. We were offered a good opportunity in South Africa that would mean we’d return  to my ‘home’ and live on the farm that I grew up on in KwaZulu-Natal.

South Africa

“The years teach much the days never know.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leaving behind a way of life that I loved was difficult. It’s been like mending a broken heart. It takes time to accept what is gone and time to see what is in front of you or what can be.

And so Chapter 3 of this blog begins; the start of a professional photography career and  rediscovering South Africa – a land of opportunity, complexity, turmoil and hope. My time in South Africa has been a big adjustment; from being part of a fluid, diverse international community to being part of a close-knit generational farming community.  I’ve struggled. I’ve not known where I fit or how  I can continue with a life immersed in adventure, discovery, diversity and one that is expansive.

It’s coming up to 5 years since we moved to South Africa.  I am absolutely thrilled to tell you that I have a grand plan that has already started! It encapsulates everything that I have hoped for. It’s the start of a BIG, wonderful, terrifying journey and it knows no borders! It’s immersed in diversity, it requires me to be completely true to myself, brave and vulnerable and it will be one heck of an adventure! I’m going to create the life I want, irrespective of where I live.  Please do join me on this next big-ass chapter!

The journey starts here.

“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.” – Rich Ridgeway


144 replies »

  1. wouw… very good story. Interesting to read your blog and your life experience. I like KwaZulu Natal. We visited last Nov 2017 and we had a blast.

  2. Hello! I really like your Blog and I’ve only just started reading some of it! I lived in Mozambique for 13 years so I love reading about your life and your different experiences. It brings back memories. 🙂

    • Thank you Marcia 🙂 I loved our life in Mozambique and still miss it! It was where I started this blog…never a dull moment in Mozam and so many interesting people with fascinating stories.

  3. Interesting travels. We did the Zim -> SA -> Zim move, then settled in the UK. Somehow, without much planning, we have ended up in Mozambique last year, and heading for Durban this week. It will be interesting to see the changes as we lived in Natal in the 80’s and I went to university in Durban.
    Ixopo was part of a regular childhood tour which included Park Rynie anmd Umzinto as my Dad grew up in the area.

  4. I’m fascinated by your work. I have to say that I hold an incredible fascination for Mozambique and its people. Living in Canada and being a descendant of Portuguese parents, my world has always been filled with stories of this place.
    I’m putting the finishing touches on a new book and will be travelling to Mozambique in the Spring. I’m very interested in contacting the superintendent of The Grande Hotel because the hotel features prominently in my novel. Can you help in any way? Suggest possible channels through which I can attain permissions to enter? Any lead will help.

    • Hi there Anthony, I may be able to help. I just need to re-connect with my contacts in Mozambique as I live in Malawi right now. I am actually hoping to go to Mozambique in the next couple weeks and do another shoot of the Grande Hotel and various. If you send me your email add via my contact page, I can see what I can do 🙂 Your book sounds really interesting!

  5. Awesome blog! I love that other people can see and appreciate Zimbabwe, and other parts of Africa for the magical places that they can be. And you put it all into words so well. Will be keeping up with all your adventures. 🙂

  6. Thanks for dropping by the Crone den… how did you find me? Fascinating stuff this internet, the serendipity of it all. I will be going to Mozambique in Oct to hang with some horses at the Mozambique Horse Safari. I shall enjoy poking around your blog for insights and reading about Malawi. Hope you don’t mind me saying this but it is really hard to read white on black..

    • Hi there Donnae, thank you for the follow. I’ve heard great things about the Mozambique Horse Safari and they have quite a story to tell too, hope you enjoy 🙂 I found you when looking through the tags of Zanzibar, the post of the gardens. We’re trying to decide on our next holiday destination, Zanzibar being on top of the list right now. Thank you for the feed back about the white on black- I’ll definitely look into this and consider other options. I chose black mostly because I like the background for a photograph and would be very interested to hear if anyone else feels this way 🙂

  7. Just discovered your blog today. Lived for awhile in Tete as well as in SA and Lesotho. I always love seeing pics and hearing stories of Africa… a very special continent. Soon I will be moving to Cairo with my teen daughter, although located in Africa, not quite the same at all. I look forward to following you. Happy travels, Cheryl

  8. Dear africafarandwide,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Mozambique, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

    • Hi Joyce, thanks for getting in touch. I would be happy to contribute, only I don’t live in Mozambique anymore. (Still need to update my about page!) We live in Malawi now which is all very new to me and very different to Mozambique. I would be happy to share my experience of Mozambique with your site though. Please will you send me the link via my ‘contact’ option and we can progress from there via email. Regards, Lianne Ashton

  9. Happy that I discovered you ! or is it the other way ! lookong forward to read your entire blog. 6 years in Moz ? wow . Zim ? even a bigger wow !

  10. Thank you for liking my blog hopper post. I have just had a look through your wonderful site, and am glad to find a blogger near by (relatively speaking!). I look forward to following you. All the best, Annabel

    • Thanks Savanna, just had a peak at some of your latest recipes and YUM!!! It’s one thing living in this part of the world and paging through recipes books…usually to find that we can only get 4 out of the 10 ingredients required for the recipe! I know to refer to your blog next time I put on an African bush style feast for friends! Good luck with bugs and elli’s!

  11. Wow, what life experiences! It must have been quite an adjustment moving out of Britain and away from that Michelin setting as a chef! And what a bummer that paprika crop wasn’t paid for! But I’m really glad everything worked out in the end =) I look forward to reading more about Mozambique and Africa in general! I’m heading to Africa (specifically South Africa) for the first time in December and am very excited to explore the culture, the people and the food =)

    • Hi there ‘The Lu Life!’ Thank you for the follow 🙂 How exciting that you will be visiting South Africa in December. I am from Kwazulu Natal which is lush green in the summer months with spectacular mountain scenery! It’s well worth the visit. You can also access the small country ‘Lesotho’ through the Drakensberg mountains which is located on the peaks the mountainous region. Hope it’s a wonderful trip, it’s an incredibly diverse country from landscapes to people. Don’t forget to try some Biltong when you are there! It’s an all time favourite snack for the South Africans! Best with an ice cold beer of course!

    • Thanks for the awesome tips! And I’m definitely going to try LOTS of Biltong! It looks really yummy, and I can just imagine how great it is with some cold beer on a summer day! I can’t wait!

  12. Hi! And thanks so much for stopping by my blog. You have a really lovely blog which I look forward to seeing more of.

  13. Wow! Talk about making the right call in life :-). I loved Mozambique. I would dearly love to go back some day. But China was calling me…Look forward to seeing Africa through your eyes now.

  14. It’s so amazing to find people you can relate to – I am a Slovak-Russian girl who fell in love with South African and here I am melting under the African sun! 🙂 Your pictures are beautiful.

  15. Having grown up in Africa and lived in a few countries away from home, I believe there is no place like Africa and I miss the friendly smiles. You are lucky and blessed to be back there.

  16. Wow, you have a really beautiful blog, from where we all should learn. Thanks for sharing your life in here. You just got a new follower.

  17. You have a very interesting blog! I’ve enjoyed my visit here and look forward to following your posts. 😀

  18. You are living quite an interesting life. Zimbabwe must have been such a strange and hard experience. Decades ago, I had an American colleague who moved there with her Zimb. husband believing in Z.’s future under Mugabe. They must have been badly disappointed… unfortunately, I lost touch with her.

    • It was very hard at times, but the people made it worth my while! Zimbabweans have a great sense of community which is why they get through the toughest of times and always seem to ‘make a plan!’ Maybe their resilience and ability to make a plan is the reason why change does not come fast enough! Zimbabwe has now adopted the US dollar as a currency and economically, is much more stable than it was during my stint in the country. But the politics are another story altogether!

    • I hope that the US $ doesn’t follow the old Zimbabwean currency!
      A people that is still connected to the earth can always find ways to sustain itself. I am sorry for the lost decades, though, where Z. could have built up its economy instead of destroying it.

  19. Super stuff – a picture does indeed tell a thousand words! Ironically, I discovered your blog today from a competitor’s sugar estate in Kilombero, Tanzania. Looking forward to more great photos!

    • Thank you so much for thinking of me 🙂 I’ve checked out your blog and would well recommend it to all those interested in travel! You’ve certainly been globe trotting, that’s for sure! Love how you offer your readers a fresh outlook and insight on some rather unusual destinations. Thanks for the vote 🙂

  20. Hi! Thank you for following me back!
    You have such amazing photographs here and interesting stories too! I have yet to explore your site. Can’t wait to see more posts from you!

    Have a nice day!