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. Only been o Namibia and Ghana in Africa, so keen to see what you see in Mozambique. I just love a good safari, makes me become a kid with unbridled excitement all over again. MM 🍀

  2. Thank you for visiting my site and liking my post. I love your storytelling ability just as much as your photography skills. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts!

  3. Hello, I have nominated you for the “Shine On Award”. I really enjoy following your blog, keep up the wonderful work! Rose

  4. Can’t beat Africa, we made the transition from beloved South Africa to Mud England last year. Something about seeing Africa in these beautiful pics, makes you long for the bushels and braai’s. great blog and love the pics .

  5. Thanks for coming over and taking a peak at my humble blog and giving it a like. The dunes of Namibia were amazing. Sure looks like you are having a great time in Mozambique and may the venture continue. Great photos. MM

  6. Wonderful blog with a great intro. It’s a pleasure following you. Your ay of writing puts a big smile on my face! 🙂
    Best regards

  7. I’ve been to Zim exactly in 2005, during my honeymoon which was more of a journey through southern Africa. I still remember the huge pain I went through to get some bruise ointment at the pharmacy, the deserted streets at night, the hyperinflation…you’re a brave girl! And we ended our trip in Mozambico, which I remember as an incredibly beautiful country. I am glad to have found this blog!

  8. I’m so glad that you found my blog so that in turn I could find yours. It’s fantastic and I’m looking forward to delving more into your past posts and reading about your experiences. And loving your photos – you really are truly talented and teamed with your writing I can almost close my eyes and imagine being there with you. I’m just getting into photography as well – it’s my new passion. I wasn’t a chef, but was running my own catering business providing home-cooked lunches to office workers before moving to Jordan. I’ve lost my mojo in the kitchen for a number of reason (being completely sick of chicken for one 🙂 !) and cooking was no longer giving me the enjoyment that it used to and I’ve filled that spot with photography. Lots to learn but that’s half the fun! I love the people that I’m meeting through the blogging world!

    • Well pleased to meet you!!! I agree with you about the blogging bit – about it opening up the world for us in the way of meeting people from all walks of life and it seems, in our case – with a similar experience!

      How refreshing it is to read an upbeat blog about the every day life in a Middle Eastern country and of course about making Jordan your new home! Thanks for the follow – I look forward to reading about your experiences and observations too!

  9. Thanks for coming by my blog. You are giving me new ideas and inspiring me. This is great. Look forward to seeing more!

  10. Hey! Just got around to reading your blog properly (you visited mine a few weeks ago). I love getting your posts in my Reader. Malawi and Mozambique are so similar in some respects. Whenever I’m at the lake I gaze across at Mozambique and hope that someday I’ll be able to visit. I enjoyed reading you About section today because I’ve recently been coming to terms with the fact that my life hasn’t quite worked out the way I had planned and I’m actually totally fine with that! I also tried to ‘make it big’ in London, not as a chef but as an actor. When that proved to be pretty much impossible, I moved to Malawi and found a different kind of happiness. Keep taking your beautiful photographs!
    All the best,
    Magdalena of Migratory Habits

    • Thank you 🙂 Glad to know there is someone else out there experiencing the same kind of story! In my experience, opportunities crop up at the unlikeliest of times. And never in a million years would I have imagined myself living in a little pondokkie in Mozambique and living a life that I feel is fulfilling and the start of great things to come. Your new blog looks great and I’m sure it will capture the essence of the colourful and vibrant Malawi. And better yet, maybe it will open doors for you that you never even dreamed of 🙂

  11. Hi there!! Thanks for stopping by my blog (theomnicurious.wordpress.com) – glad you liked the post. Very interesting About page and loved the Photographic journal! Great work!

  12. Have just knocked on your door and as it opened, I could smell the enticing aroma of adventure, so am going to return to make a meal of it! I loved Mozambique! Thanks for the like! Future posts will include a helicopter survey of the Zambezi delta and the Morromeu sugar estates, so I’d be honoured if you pop back for a read from time to time.

  13. Hello: As part of a technical condition of responding to a nomination, I have listed Africafarandwide as a recommendation for the Sunshine Award. It all seems a little hooky, but If you wish to pursue this please see my site at Mvschulze.wordpresss.com under the “Awards” Page. Thank you for your time and effort in producing your most enjoyable posts. Sincerely, Mschulze.

    • Thank-you so much for the nomination and for the comments you made about my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your blog and would recommend it to anyone interested in travel photography.

  14. You seriously need to read the book 20 chickens for a saddle by Robyn Scott – I think you’d like it… thanks for reading my blog – come again soon!

  15. Hello,

    I am a producer for Al-Jazeera English’s award-winning, social media based show The Stream. Our show, which has recently won an Emmy nomination, is a half-hour, live, interactive, daily talk show.

    I am doing a show this Thursday April 4th on reverse migration. Saw your excellent blog. Wanted to see if you wanted to participate in our discussion on the channel to talk about your experience.

    Let me know if you are available and interested to participate in this program. Show goes live at 3:30 pm EST/1930 GMT this Thursday. Because of the live nature of the show, we would take you on via Skype 1930 GMT.

    If there is a number I can reach you at, we can further discuss the details.

    More about our show:

    The Stream is a social media community with its own daily television program, focusing on stories that are ongoing, global, and sourced from social media. The Stream is an aggregator of online sources and discussion, seeking out unheard voices, new perspectives from people on the ground and untold angles related to the most compelling stories of the day. We also share the platform with artists, celebrities and intellectuals who are an integral part of the social media community.

    The program is critically acclaimed, having won the prestigious Royal Television Society Award in the UK for ‘the most innovative news show’ and an Emmy nomination in the US for its “best new approaches to news and documentaries”.

    The show appears live on Al Jazeera, streams live online (available via YouTube, podcast, Facebook), and repeats at 04:30 GMT, 08:30GMT, 14:30GMT.

    Al Jazeera’s global footprint continues to grow, broadcasting to more than 280 million households in more than 130 countries. But, from your perspective, this isn’t just about global viewers – we also have a big (and growing!) American audience: AJE has a reach of around 32 million US viewers in places as diverse as New York, Texas and Vermont. The program will also be available on the Al Jazeera English website, which receives more than 20 million visits per month, approximately 50 per cent of which come from North America. To quote the New Yorker magazine: “Americans have fallen for Al Jazeera English’s authenticity.”

    To get a feel for the show, please watch some of our past episodes:

    – Neil deGrasse Tyson, US astrophysicist
    – Lupe Fiasco, hip-hop artist, activist, and entrepreneur, on Skype:
    – Pervez Musharraf, former president of Pakistan, on the couch:
    – Robin Wright, Actress & Congo activist, on the couch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCJr1LLc0_o&feature=player_embedded
    – Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion, on the couch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2-INCZx_KM&feature=player_embedded#!
    – Alek Wek, Sudanese supermodel, on the couch: http://stream.aljazeera.com/episode/12087
    – K’naan, Somali rapper, on Skype discussing #FeedSomalia: http://stream.aljazeera.com/episode/11109
    – Alec Ross, Sr. Advisor of Innovation to Secretary Clinton, on the couch: http://stream.aljazeera.com/episode/2567
    – Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, on the couch: http://stream.aljazeera.com/episode/2670
    – PJ Crowley, Former State Dept. Spokesman, on the couch: http://stream.aljazeera.com/episode/10755
    – Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, on the couch: http://stream.aljazeera.com/episode/2936
    – Girl Talk, mash-up artist, on Skype: http://stream.aljazeera.com/episode/8174
    – Interview with the Twitter user in Abbottabad, who unwittingly Tweeted the OBL operation, the night prior:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCT963Na4aU&feature=sh_e_sl&list=SL

    For more:
    – NYT: How TV & The Web are Merging, Al Jazeera’s New Show: The Stream
    – Round-up of international press coverage: http://storify.com/ajstream/the-stream-press


    Zuleqa Husain
    Al Jazeera English | The Stream
    Washington DC – GMT -4
    desk: +1 (202) 496-5794
    Twitter | Facebook

  16. Just came across this blog and love it. Such a good read. I’ve got one year to wait till ill be living in Mozambique, leaving the UK behind me

    • Thank-you Robbie 🙂 If you have not been to Mozam already, I hope my blog gives you some good insight into life here. Best of luck with your up and coming adventure and let me know if there is any info I can help you with.

  17. I am so inspired by your blog. Your journey sounds fascinating and I can very much relate to moving around the globe, especially when love gets involved and changes your plans! I have lived in the UK and Australia and I am now moving to Cape Town with my husband in a few months time. I thought I would start my blog (only just recently) knowing there are undoubtedly going to be many adventures to write about as I discover the layers of Africa. Life is so precious and your awareness to the people you are revealing to us is humbling and brave. I look forward to finding ways to be useful once I arrive.

  18. Your blog is great, whether you know it or not. So, I have nominated you for a Sunshine Blog Award leaving you with two options: 1) bask in the glow; or 2) bask in the glow and spread it further as described on my blog (the post titled “A Sunny Friday”).

  19. I recently discovered your blog and I am loving it! The first of your post to grab me was on rainy season. Keep up the good work.

  20. Wow, your story is quite compelling! Thanks for sharing and glad to hear things turned out great for you, although not the way you had them all planned out originally 🙂
    Thank you, also, for stopping by my photo blog and liking a post: appreciate it 🙂

  21. Went through some of your posts, really liked the way you write, and the photos accompany the text simply but in a beautiful way!Quite astonishing way of life there, keep on the nice work!:)
    I’m gonna add some links to our blog (www.pinchofadventure.wordpress.com) and our facebook page soon, if you don’t mind of course!Cheers!

  22. Love your posts, lived in zim for many years and went through that border many times, though none were quite as bad as your experience!

  23. This is the reason adventure exists, I live in Uganda and I have not yet even got to the posts in your blog, but dare I say I already love the blog!

  24. Wow, what a great, adventurous life you are living! You are definitely the definition of intrepid. We lived in Khartoum, Sudan for several years and it made all the difference in our life. Can’t wait to dig in and read more. All the Best, Terri

    • Thank-you Terri 🙂 I’ve checked out your blog and must say that the two of you have lived quite adventurous life too, way to go! I look forward to following 🙂

  25. I’ve just stopped by to check out your blog, because I saw your most recent post on the Freshly Pressed page, and so far, I’m liking what I see! Photography has been a hobby of mine for quite some time now and you have encouraged me to get back into it. Also… I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Africa, so looking at your photos really quenches a thirst inside of me. LOVE it! 🙂

    • Thank-you Zebrahurst! Glad to hear you’re inspired to pick up the camera again, it must surely be one of the most addictive hobbies around! I will most definitely be checking your blog out 🙂

  26. Wow! what a life.

    You must have the most amazing and interesting subject matter to photograph where you live in Mafambissie.
    Thanks for dropping by my PhotoBlog and I hope to read some more of your posts on your life in Sth Africa.

    My favourite phrase in life is “it’s never too late to become what you might have been” & so I bought a camera at the ripe old age of 56 and photography has become the focus of my life.

    • Thanks Victoria 🙂 Mozambique is a photographer’s dream, oozing with character and stories to tell! It’s wonderful that you have found photography – I’m sure you’ll agree that it gives us a whole new outlook on life! Best of luck, I’ll be sure to keep up with your blog:-)

  27. Enjoy Mocambique you guys – sun and space to play! Sounds brilliant. I’ll follow – it’ll keep me warm just thinking about you out there as we rush smack into winter here.

  28. You seem to have what i takes, girl! Yolu’re a survivor! And your lucky day will come in the end. The only thing you need is patience 🙂

  29. Hi There
    Beauty and the Beast is a wonderful interrpretation of Africa. Your ‘About’ was written in 2005, so the kids must be big now. You visited my site recently, “The U of SA, as part of the Alphebet Thursday challenge”. I lived in South Africa for 50 years, spent many holidays in Zim, then Rhodesia. Had a few holidays in Mozambique, LM. Love your writings and can relate to being ‘moved about’ because of circumstance and not out of choice.
    Very informative, but cuts to the bone.
    From Liz

    • Thank-you Liz 🙂 Wow, from SA to the USA – must be worlds apart! Thanks for checking out my blog, hope it brings back some good memories/times in Africa for you.

  30. Thank-you 🙂 I think you have hit the nail on the head with your description of Africa being ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Thank-you for checking out my blog, There are many different layers to Africa and I hope to reveal/emphasise that with my blog. It can get a bit tough sometimes, mostly frustrating but for the most part, it’s a wonderful life here, especially for the kids! Quite an adventure 🙂

  31. You have written a fascinating “about” to your blog but I’m particularly struck by the image you’ve used for your banner. At first glance you might think it was a pair of clasped hands but a more careful examination reveals the barbed wire. Beauty and the beast is perhaps a good way of describing Africa, a continent I admit to not knowing only having visited Tunisia and Morocco for a couple of weeks each. I admire your courage and enthusiasm in making the most of what must be quite a difficult life.

  32. Wonderful introduction to your blog. Thank you for finding me and I hope you enjoy meeting some of my African connected friends. I look forward to reading your posts!

  33. Wow — what an adventure! Amazing. Thanks for sharing your photos and the scenarios behind them. Also, thanks for stopping by Travel Oops and liking the Visegrad photos! Steph

  34. Hey there! Your story is great. I had an amazing time in Africa this year and simply can’t wait to get back and see more of the West. Looking forward to reading your thoughts and recommendations about the continent. Stay safe, Kazza =D

  35. Well, you’re not only a great photographer but a good writer as well! Love your “about” section.
    Best of luck looking at things through fresh eyes.

  36. How truly interesting! I would absolutely love to go travel around Africa, never mind live there!! Would you mind me asking where you are from in S. America?