The Heartbeat off the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, Malawi

Kids playing with tyres in a remote village in the Northern Region, Malawi

Kids playing with tyres in a remote village in the Northern Region, Malawi

Malawi is often referred as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, as people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. This was the first impression I got when I crossed the border and has continued all through my travels and destinations in Malawi. Never once did I feel not welcomed, or at least accepted as a tourist ‘Mzungu’ (white person).

It is no wonder that so many expats chose Malawi as their new home. Formally known as ‘Nyasa land’ Malawi’s first president ‘Hastings Kazunu Banda’ changed the name to ‘Malawi’, which means as much as ‘sparks’.

Malawi flag on Zimba’s flank, Malawi

Malawi flag on Zimba’s flank, Malawi

These sparks coming from early blacksmiths hammering glowing steel in hot fire pits. The Malawian flag still represents that with sparks around the sun.

Dusty dirt bike tracks, Northern Region, Malawi

Dusty dirt bike tracks, Northern Region, Malawi

These sparks were particularly strong whilst driving through deserted, dusty one lane mountain dirt tracks through the heart of this fascinating country.

Dusty roads used by pedestrians, Northern Region, Malawi

Dusty roads used by pedestrians, Northern Region, Malawi

Cars don’t drive these rough, corrugated and dusty roads often, Zimba and his paint job were a sensation for these isolated communities. Again, this incredible experience is to be witnessed and not to be described in words.

What is that thing?, Northern Region, Malawi

What is that thing?, Northern Region, Malawi

Locals, old or young,

Daddy cool, Northern Region, Malawi

Daddy cool, Northern Region, Malawi

male or female, unsure at first, before starting smiling, waving and giving me a thumbs up. Kids often ran towards me to ‘high five’ whilst driving slowly.

Up to mischief?, Northern Region, Malawi

Up to mischief?, Northern Region, Malawi

Where and whenever I stopped for a toilet or coffee break, I was quickly surrounded by people of young and old.

Suspicious about Mzungu, Northern Region, Malawi

Suspicious about Mzungu, Northern Region, Malawi

A classic example happened on a busy dusty road on my way to ‘Vwaza National Reserve’.

Still not sure!, Northern Region, Malawi

Still not sure!, Northern Region, Malawi

I stopped for a much-needed coffee break, carefully watched by a bunch of cute kids rolling tires around.

Just cute, Northern Region, Malawi

Just cute, Northern Region, Malawi

Careful and anxious at first, they quickly loosened up to become ‘cool’ boys.

Getting cheeky now, Northern Region, Malawi

Getting cheeky now, Northern Region, Malawi

Posing in front of Zimba,

Who me? Northern Region, Malawi

Who me? Northern Region, Malawi

or still unsure of the camera in my hand.

The girls joined in, Northern Region, Malawi

The girls joined in, Northern Region, Malawi

It didn’t take long for the girls to see what all this commotion was all about.

Having a good laugh, Northern Region, Malawi

Having a good laugh, Northern Region, Malawi

Giggling as young girls do. Early childbirth was obvious too, sadly enough. The fellas at the pub across the road kept them entertained with comments. Which kept everyone amused.

I wasn’t sure what he was trying to do, Northern Region, Malawi

I wasn’t sure what he was trying to do, Northern Region, Malawi

One even ran across to have his photo taken.

Ox wagon comedian, Northern Region, Malawi

Ox wagon comedian, Northern Region, Malawi

An Ox wagon driver passed yelling and laughing, full of beans. 

Sun kissed kids, Northern Region, Malawi

Sun-kissed kids, Northern Region, Malawi

This was just one off many unexpected memorable moments the two of us encountered.

Perfect sunset to finish the day, Northern Region, Malawi

Perfect sunset to finish the day, Northern Region, Malawi

A fabulous sunset over the mountains just topped the experience.

Happy faces, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

Happy faces, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

A few boys generally inquire carefully about what I am doing.

Football team?, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

Football team?, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

A few more appear,

The girls joined, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

The girls joined, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

before the girls join in. The result is a group gathering when I display the photos with lots of laughter.

Incredibly beautiful, Blantyre, Malawi

Incredibly beautiful, Blantyre, Malawi

The whole country called Malawi sure is the ‘Warm heart of Africa’.

Walking miles for water, Northern Region, Malawi

Walking miles for water, Northern Region, Malawi

It is just heartbreaking to see these poor souls suffering and neglected by their government. Walking deserted roads to supply on basic staple food.

Always bikes anywhere, Northern Region, Malawi

Always bikes anywhere, Northern Region, Malawi

Food in supermarkets was expensive for me, unimaginable for the locals. 

Zimba on kids playground, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Zimba on kids playground, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

I was in Nhakata Bay on July 6th. Little did I know that it was the 54th Independence Day for this friendly nation. I checked in at ‘Butterfly Backpackers’ and parked Zimba on the kids’ playground, as no other spacious spot was available.

Kids on the swing, Nhakata Bay,Malawi

Kids on the swing, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

The neighbours kids loved to come down to play, just enjoying themselves. In fact, as far as I can remember, this is the only playground with swings and slide I have seen in Malawi.

Good effort, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Good effort, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Some were clearly showing off, good on them.

Not quite sure about a zebra on her playground, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Not quite sure about a zebra on her playground, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Some were a bit unsure of a zebra parked on their territory. I was an intruder once more.

Butterfly Backpackers Bar, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Butterfly Backpackers Bar, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

There was a funky vibe at the bar overlooking Lake Malawi with a spacious deck. There is a Rastaman vibe here, lots of strong built tall men

Malawin Beauty, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Malawian Beauty, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

and pretty women mingled with travelers from around the world. Malawian Gin and ‘Gold’ was shared until the early morning hours, a funtastic night to celebrate freedom.

Cool market vendors, Lilongwe, Malawi

Cool market vendors, Lilongwe, Malawi

Via Mzuzu, I drove to Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital. Like all other capital cities in black Africa, it is a bustling city filled with markets all around

Mosque in Lilongwe, Malawi

Mosque in Lilongwe, Malawi

and a few mosques dotted here and there.

Army parade in Lilongwe, Malawi

Army parade in Lilongwe, Malawi

 The army paraded along the Main Street for unknown reasons, maybe it is a power thing.  I did get a haircut, which normally isn’t worth to mention. Apart from the fact, that after the actual haircut, I had some colour in my hair. Ha ha, I didn’t see that coming. Maybe the grey hair was too overwhelming?

For a large city, it is surprisingly small in terms of people knowing each other. I met a fair amount of locals who either recognized me or Zimba from previous outings. Staying at ‘Mabuya Camp’ was a good option to camp.

Matching fur, Mabuya Backpackers, Lilongwe, Malawi

Matching fur, Mabuya Backpackers, Lilongwe, Malawi

A massive ‘Ridgeback’ dog by the name of Sammy patrolled for security. The area was secured.

Manuela checking out Zimba’s rooftop tent, Lilongwe, Malawi

Manuela checking out Zimba’s rooftop tent, Lilongwe, Malawi

After weeks of communicating on ‘Couchsurfing’, I finally met Manuela. She works closely with poor communities in remote areas and tries her best to make a difference for those in need.

Sexy Birthday girl Manuela, Lilongwe, Malawi

Sexy Birthday girl Manuela, Lilongwe, Malawi

It was her birthday a few days back and I was invited to celebrate. Plenty of chatting, beer and gin in the friendly happy atmosphere.

Sexy Hostess Vitowe, Lilongwe, Malawi

Sexy Hostess Vitowe, Lilongwe, Malawi

What a way to end my incredible journey through Malawi. We celebrated till the early morning hours. 

My Malawian visa runs out tomorrow and I will be crossing over to Zambia, which I am really looking forward to as well. National Parks and wildlife viewing options all around in this large African country. See what happens in Zambia, shall we?

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For now, it is ‘Sikomo’ Malawi. Thank you so much for an unforgettable journey through the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’.

Banana boat fisherman in paintings with eye in the sky in Chembe, Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi, Malawi

Banana boat fisherman in paintings with an eye in the sky in Chembe, Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi, Malawi

A tear will be shed like the sun did over Lake Malawi.

2 thoughts on “The Heartbeat off the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, Malawi

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