Magnificent Malawi

June 13th

I am stealing two minutes of Internet time at the Lujeri Tea Estate in southern Malawi to check in; this is my favorite African visit by far. I cannot believe how gorgeous the landscape is. The estate is a fabulous mix of Hawaii’s tropical splendor and Ireland’s myriad of green. It is otherworldly.
I am staying in a colonial guesthouse and being waited on hand and foot — this makes me uncomfortable on many levels. And yet, I’ve been exhausted and it has been so nice to have someone turn down my bed, make my breakfast, help start a fire in the guest house each night. I start each morning with a long hike through the tea plantation, along a raging river. In the distance, waterfalls cascade off of Mount Mulanji — the peak is hidden by clouds. I am bruised from pinching myself. I cannot believe I am here.
Malawi was a British colony and the workers speak rolling English. They pepper their vocab with the local dialect. The food is a great mix of European and African staples too. We’ve had beans, plantains, rice, grilled meats, fresh bread, tropical fruit and some sort of English cake for dinner each night. I have had more tea in the last few days than my entire life, topped with milk from the estate cows. Thankfully I am just starting to feel right after three days of a sick stomach. I think the continent hopping caught up with me. Last night I slept well and the exercise and healthy, fresh food is helping get me on track.
Monday we leave for a visit to a game reserve where our group has a canoe trip booked. Apparently we are set to see elephants and hippos. I will be in Mozambique the following week and am looking forward to working too, although this vacation could happily last forever. Zimbabwe isn’t in the cards after all for this trip; the elections next week have everyone in this region on edge and many from Zim are in Malawi and Bostwana to get away. Swinging through Harare just to see it isn’t a wise move considering the unrest.
If you get the chance to visit Malawi for whatever reason, jump on it. The luxury, comfort, safety, natural beauty, kindness of the people is simply incredible. I am so lucky to have been invited along with this group for this adventure; I only wish my parents and brother were here to enjoy it with me. I know my dad and brother would love the outdoors and my mom and I could spend days with the ladies in the village watching them weave baskets, cook, and care for their community. I have to get my family here one day.
I’ll post photos soon. Hope you are all well!


Posted in
Africa, Journal, Travel
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20 Responses

  1. Your article was forwarded to my Mum in London, as we were brought up in Lujeri. Our house was just above the guesthouse you probably stayed in (big white building with a massive verandah, right? Our view was right into Mt Milanje in Mozambique.
    And don’t forget the two waterfalls – when we were there, there were no bridges (well, two swing bridges for foot traffic) between the two factories – so we had to cross by a drift (a sort of floor level bridge that overflowed whenever there was rain. We could tell whether the drifts were passbale by the size of the waterfalls!! Glad you had a great time

  2. Glad you’re enjoying it! My hubby & I lived in Blantyre for six months right after we married and climbed Mulanje back then. It really is beautiful.

  3. sounds absolutely gorgeous Kelli, and I look forward to seeing your photos.

  4. Glad to hear you are having a great time. Blow South Africa a kiss for me as you pass over her πŸ˜‰

  5. Wow, it sounds amazing – can’t wait to see some pics.

  6. I’m so glad to hear you made it safely and are having a good time. Can’t wait to see pictures!

  7. Sounds fabulous! I’m so glad you’re taking some time for yourself.

  8. Sounds like a wonderful time Kelli. The landscape sounds amazing and wish I could see it in person one day. Be safe and have fun.

  9. I’m glad you’re having such a great trip–it sounds amazing! I’m really excited to see your pictures–be safe and have fun!

  10. MariaCristina June 14, 2008

    You deserve all this goodness. Have a great time and take lots of pictures of the elephants! Hugs

  11. Kelli,

    LOVE hearing about your trip, can’t wait to see the pics!


  12. Your description made me hungry for the pics I’m sure you’re taking! Glad you have a wonderful trip so far.

  13. Thanks for keeping us posted on your travels!
    Smiles, Dee πŸ™‚

  14. Thanks for checking in – I was having Kelli withdrawl. Enjoy! Relish! Live! Love! and stay safe!

  15. kelli, you deserve some rest and being taken care. you do so much. looking forward to reading about the next stop.

  16. Danielle June 16, 2008

    Hi Kelli,
    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and just wanted to say hi. It’s great to hear about your adventures and travel … especially when you’re chained to a University and being a student. It’s good to see what other people are doing out in the wide blue yonder. Stay safe and keep on blogging.

  17. Can’t wait to see pictures. I’m actually glad to hear that you won’t be in Zimbabwe. Be safe so you can continue to do all your good works!

  18. I’m so glad your trip is proving successful. It’s smart of you to stay safe and out of harm’s way in the politically volatile elections. I look forward to seeing your trip photos.

  19. Sounds amazing! Can’t wait to hear more & see pictures!!

    Safe travels!!

  20. Kelli, I love hearing about your adventures this summer. You really are doing such great work in our world. I’m sure that at times your heart is very heavy with the magnitude of suffering that you encounter. I’m glad we have people such as yourself to make the world a better place.