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Welcome to Malawi

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I recently went on a journey to visit Malawi for 10 days; Malawi is a small country in South Eastern Africa. I wanted to share a brief insight of my journey & my time in Malawi in the hopes that you might just like the sound of the culture & things to do & want to go and see it for yourself.

I have relatives in Malawi who are all from my Mothers side of the family & given the distance, it isn’t often I get to visit. It has been 10 years since I last visited Malawi to visit my Uncles, and cousins and I was very much looking forward to catching up with them all and meeting my nieces and nephew for the first time. The only thing I wasn’t looking forward to was the journey to get there.

Travelling from Manchester airport and stopping in Italy, Sweden and Ethiopia before finally reaching Malawi is every travelers nightmare. It had taken 40 hours to finally reach my destination. Stepping from the air-conditioned 20 degree plane straight into 35 degree heat was suffocating & it took me a minute to be able to breathe normally.

Blantyre Airport is a world away from Manchester International… it’s tiny. It’s essentially a 2 storey building about the same footprint as a three terrace houses. The arrivals area only had 10 employees so through the door, I had to walk 2 yards for passport control, 2 yards further to collect my luggage & 10 yards later I was outside to be greeted by the 9 relatives who had made the journey to meet me.

I was excited to just get to the family home as I had been told a lot had changed since I last visited. As soon as I arrived at the family home I was amazed at how good the views where from my room. The house sits next to Lake Malawi so I had views of palm trees, the beach & the lake without another car or building in sight. It was naturally beautiful.

The family had laid out a BBQ to welcome me which consisted of the famous Chambo fish with lamb, chicken and steak available too. I was definitely glad I had skipped eating on the plane to build my appetite! I learned later that to buy meat, locals (I never found out who or how this operated) would arrive at the house each morning with live animals in tow. If the family needed meat that day, they chose the desired creature which would then be slaughtered & butchered on site. Not something I cared to witness!

On one of the days my cousin Abrar decided to take me out and see the lake. As the family home was based on the beach it was a matter of seconds to step on to the beach and get in the boat to the lake. I was amazed at how clean the water was. He drove the boat out to Cape McLear and we went for a swim in the beautiful clear, cool water – locals say Prince Charles was supposed to have had his honeymoon here but changed his mind when he heard of the crime rate (more on that later).

I had seen fishermen on the lake and was told they practically live on their boats day and night to provide a living for their family. They had a small hollowed out logs for boats (8’ x 3’) and would go out in pairs with no life jackets or any other health & safety in mind. I had been told there were approximately 15 deaths of fishermen every fortnight so you can imagine how dangerous it was for them.

Abrar decided we should buy some fish off the fishermen and go to feed the eagles… Yes, feed the eagles!! We drove the boat down the coast a little, then Abrar whistled at the cliffs & an eagle appeared – he then threw a fish into the lake & we watched as the eagle swooped down & snatched the fish from the water. It was an amazing experience and had never seen anything like it before.

The following day, we went to the local market. It couldn’t be more different from your local supermarket – it’s cramped, lots of DIY stalls selling everything from fruit to homemade knives and a lot of competing stores vying for your business. Once thing is for certain, some of the poverty was clear to see here. My overriding memory was not the unpaved, dirt floor or the smell – a mix of mud, fish and body odour – but it was the constant worrying about the warning my cousin had given that pick pockets were everywhere and all the crimes that go on!

Leaving the country was a very sad moment. I loved the weather, the scenery, the lake & spending time with my family. There are changes taking place at the moment to improve the facilities for tourists wanting to go out and experience the Malawi but I wouldn’t recommend Malawi for the unadventurous at the moment due to the crime. I hope that in the near future more people can go and experience the beautiful, vibrant and colourful country of Malawi (although I hope you get an easier flight!!!).
Recent Comments
i'm pleased to hear your great exploits in the warm heart of Africa, Malawi. I also have visited the country many times and as a visitor for many years, not much has changed there. But coming from the UK, its always exciting to visit the country for its culture and memories.
Richard Chandler, 10/05/16
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