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Five Reasons to Experience Authentic Ethiopian Culture in Blantyre

Mar 19

One of the best known non-Malawian, but still African, cultural experiences in Blantyre, is some authentic Ethiopian hospitality.

Alem Ethiopian used to be located on Victoria Avenue in the centre of town. There they had a restaurant. However, Alem have not gone far and although they no longer operate a restaurant, with some advance planning, you can still experience and enjoy an Ethiopian cultural experience. It was with this thought in mind, and some advance planning (the reasons for which will soon be revealed), that we headed out to learn some more. Why should we experience authentic Ethiopian culture in Malawi?


Ethiopia has intruiged me ever since I first changed planes in Addis Ababa on the way to Malawi. When even a modern airport offers a glimpse of an ancient civilization one comprehends that there must be something fascinating to uncover. It is not just the long history of Ethiopia but it’s separation and...

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The Kwa Haraba Arts Cafe

Mar 8

The Kwa Haraba Arts Cafe has a pleasant outlook across to Nyambadwe Hill. For the sunny and warm day today I have the right mix of sun, shade and breeze with some chilled music emerging from the cafe behind me. As the location is at the back of the building looking out, we are away from the noise of Glyn Jones Road on the other side. It's the right combination for a good first impression.

For some time I have been meaning to visit the Kwa Haraba Arts Cafe in the centre of Blantyre. For the location, I think it hits the spot for a quiet and relaxing drink and perhaps some reading or writing.

Talking of reading, one of the first things I noticed was the full bookshelf. I asked and seemingly they are for sale rather than reading with your coffee. Having stocked up on coffee before I left home this morning I have opted for one of their exotic fruit juices.

If I decide I like this place then perhaps I will work my way through the menu. The fresh juices certainly look...

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Visitor Travel Options in Malawi

Feb 5

Travelling in Malawi can be rewarding for the visitor, it can also present it’s own challenges. If one of the attractions of travel is to appreciate the variety of life in different places (vive la différence), then the challenge can be part of the attraction. The scenery is without question, one of the benefits.

Unfortunately, a fully comprehensive work of art, or written guide to travel in Malawi, is much more work than just one blog post. So, for this post I will try to content myself with an introduction to different forms of travel. Furthermore, I will try to focus more on the issue of travel, for the visitor, rather than travel issues faced by a resident.

I have had some interesting conversations recently with visitors, and lodge owners, on this subject. Some of the challenges seem to be to do with finding out information in advance of the trip and others are to do with costs and the unexpected. Some unexpected occurrences are entirely innocent but could...

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Mulanje Mountain - An Introduction

Jan 29

A few years ago I wrote a blog about our time in Malawi then. Now that I have resumed blogging rather than dispense with the previous written material I thought I would use some of the 'vintage' posts that are still useful. Some of what I wrote before is an introduction or was intended as part one of a series. We therefore may have some work that can be something upon which we can build.

In the meantime, let's go back to 2011.

We have just returned from a long weekend and three nights on Mulanje Mountain. Mulanje Mountain is the highest mountain in tropical southern Africa or the highest mountain in all of the band of countries running from Mozambique on the Indian Ocean over to Namibia and Angola on the Atlantic.

I have heard several people say that Mulanje is the third highest mountain in Africa. That is not true - it is far from that. Instead it is better to point out that it is one of the largest inselbergs (literally 'island mountains') in the world and the...

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Lake Malawi, a LLW flight stopover?

Jan 15

I have been asked by someone whether Lilongwe is a worthwhile stopover point on a return journey between Europe and South Africa. The idea is easy access to Lake Malawi from Kamuzu International airport in Lilongwe.

I’d rather not give a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to that question as the truth sometimes requires a bit of work. Surely the truth and nuances are friends? As this same potential visitor did say to me, sometimes when you dig a bit, you strike gold. Furthermore, why give one person a lengthy enough answer to do justice to the question when one can write something roughly similar for a blog post and therefore benefit a wider audience.

Let’s start off with some assumptions with regard to the situation of the potential stop-over visitor. The assumptions are as follows: 1/ the visitor has some inkling of the magic of the Lake of Stars, probably the best Lake in the world, 2/ the visitor has four nights to spare, 3/ they are interested in a backpacker style,...

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