A MINI AFRICAN ROAD TRIP IN THE 'FUN CARGO'

A MINI AFRICAN ROAD TRIP IN THE 'FUN CARGO'


Back in 2013, Nash and I set out on a road trip in the aptly named "Fun Cargo" - effectively a minivan body on a Toyota Camry chassis.

Luxurious, spacious, indestructible... but entirely unfit for most Malawian roads. Despite Fun Cargo's limitations, we covered some serious ground. 

The land of long walks

Malawi is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Even long stretches between cities are full of people, walking, biking, and keep you on your toes. People put all sorts of things on the back of bicycles - goats, kids, bricks, firewood, baskets with chickens - in this case it's sugarcane.

As a gringo, driving across Malawi reminded me of the America west. Big mountains and lots of distractions.

North to Nkhata Bay

Driving north to Nkhata Bay, you effectively parallel Lake Malawi. One of the most remarkable agriculture projects in Malawi is Ilovo Sugar's Dwangwa Estate. It's ~10km long and you can smell the sugar processing for miles. 

 

Boat Building

Along we the way, we stopped in a fishing village to check out our friend's fishing operation. These gents were building a new fishing skiff. These boats were very sturdy craft, and often fitted out with a salvaged car engine for propulsion. Sailing isn't a big thing on Lake Malawi - paddle and engine power are. 

Most non-commercial fisherman still use dug-out canoes like these. And often they work as a group using drag nets and lanterns to attract fish. 

Fishing Towns

Malawi's lakeside towns all have a big fish drying set up like this. 

My next trip to Malawi will be shorter, but I will be spending time with my suppliers and touring local youth support organizations.

Stay tuned, and please share and get involved. 

Cape Town to Malawi

Cape Town to Malawi

I aspire to keep it short and sweet in my first ever blog... but this story might take a while. It's a winding road from the Boston suburbs to African tea specialist.  

Cape Town

One of the best decisions I've ever made, was studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.

Not only did I get college credits, I surfed everyday 

 Big Bay, north of Cape town is known more for windsurfing, but it's a fun 'novelty' wave for traditional surfing. 

Big Bay, north of Cape town is known more for windsurfing, but it's a fun 'novelty' wave for traditional surfing. 

and I met the girl who is now my wife. 

 Noordhoek Beach, south of Cape Town is home to one of the best barreling beach breaks in the world... and a great date spot.  

Noordhoek Beach, south of Cape Town is home to one of the best barreling beach breaks in the world... and a great date spot.  

Malawi

Blantyre, Malawi is my wife Nasha's hometown. Blantyre is a bustling commercial city in the south and one of the early trading posts for colonial traders in central/southern Africa.  

Malawi is "The Warm Heart of Africa" for good reason. I joke that the Malawian resting face is an ear-to-ear grin.

People with very little, will open their homes and offer you a tasty meal. When your car breaks down (not uncommon in Malawi) a crowd of eager push-starters assembles from nowhere. 

 Nash doing a very mediocre job pounding cassava into flour for 'nsima', in her white jeans.  These ladies and I found it hilarious. 

Nash doing a very mediocre job pounding cassava into flour for 'nsima', in her white jeans.

These ladies and I found it hilarious. 

Mulanje

My father-in-law, Mussa, is originally from Mozambique, but immigrated to the Mulanje region in southern Malawi.

 

Mulanje is a 'massif' and plays host not only to all kinds of spirits and legends, but also most of Malawi's tea estates. 

 The view from the base of Mulanje. The scale of this mountain is hard to capture. 

The view from the base of Mulanje. The scale of this mountain is hard to capture. 

Satemwa Tea Estate

In the Thyolo region, a slight detour on the way to Mulanje, you drive through rolling tea fields. Satemwa is one of the most innovative tea estates in Africa and their product is world-class.

We're proud to work directly with them to bring you the best of Africa flavors and artisinal foods. 

 Huntington House is the old residence on Satemwa Tea Estate. It is now operated as a lodge. 

Huntington House is the old residence on Satemwa Tea Estate. It is now operated as a lodge. 

Stay tuned for updates, stories, and new retail partners.