Bike Touring Malawi: From Mua to The North

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As we worked our way North, we had several unexpected surprises, including the amazing Mua Mission…

Sorry for the radio silence lately. We’ve been on a massive, and very remote, dirt road journey over the magical high rift plateau of Nyika (more on that next week). Here are some pictures and details from our trek North through the beautiful country of Malawi:

Bike Touring Malawi - House

Peering through tunnels off the road.

Corn in Malawi

Being caught under an awning in the rainy season…

Malawi Rainy Season

… always leads to some interesting views.
Mua Malawi Art
After following a side dirt road, with a sign that modestly read, ‘MUA MISSION, WOOD CARVINGS,’ we discovered a village in the jungle that was beyond amazing. The Mission is now lead by a French Canadian priest, who has turned the area into an arts mecca.

Mua Malawi Wood Carving

Ridiculously talented Malawian wood carvers, painters and jewelry makers have studied here.
Mua Malawi Wood Carving
I was very sad to not be able to take home any of these fine pieces.

Mua Malawi Wood Carving

Wood carvings displaying their masks and cultural dances.

Mua Malawi Camping

Camping on the grounds of the small cultural museum…

Mua Malawi

… complete with a series of frescos that tell the story of the area.
Mua Malawi
Meanwhile a tiny village goes about its business.
Mua Malawi
And all of the women carry goods to the local market.

Mua Malawi Wood Carving

A visit to the woodcarvers area.
Mua Malawi
We happened on the town as a special cultural performance was being held.

Mua Malawi Cultural Program

The performers in full regalia.
Mua Malawi Cultural Program
And small innocent bystanders.
Mua Malawi Cultural Program
A series of dances ensued with multiple large and intricate masks, each telling a story with and underlying message.
Mua Malawi Cultural Program
This particular mask popped popcorn that viewers were encouraged to eat.

Malawi Bike Touring Snack

Over the next few days riding we found our favorite roadside lunch: avocado, cucumber and tomato with a simple dressing of lime juice, salt and a few herbs.

Malawi bicycle

Charles commutes about 40kms a day on this.

Lake Malawi Bugs

Along the lake it’s hard to avoid the insects.
Malawi Gecko
Geckos are everywhere. I’ve become quite fond of watching them hunt inside backpacker rooms, or on exterior walls around lights.
Malawi Bao
Gin preparing our nightly Bawo game next to the Bua river.

Malawi Worms

A strange formation of worms in the dirt road.

Malawi offroad bicycle

Following a dirt track back towards the lake.

Malawi bike Touring Snack

Stopping for a new snack… fried cassava.

Malawi Portrait

Always an audience.
Bike Touring Malawi - House
A young lady playing with a doll made from mud.
Lake Malawi Sky
Another magical sky on Lake Malawi.

Lake Malawi

Our Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 drying out after a big rain night.
Bike Touring Malawi - Surly ECR
The ECR looking nice in the morning light.

Bike Touring Malawi - Surly ECR

Packed up and ready for another stretch.
Malawi Goat head
A severed head serves as an advertisement for fresh meat that day.

Bike Touring Malawi - Portrait

Malawi Farming

Tending rice fields.

Malawi Farming

Malawi Kids

Never get tired of children squealing, ‘Wazungo!’

Malawi old man

A gentleman struggling to stay awake…

Malawi old man

Legend has it they he ran a candy stand in town, but he’d fall asleep and get robbed. Now he plies his trade at a backpacker and folks watch his goods after he takes the plunge.
Malawi canoe kid
Mother and child at the canoes…

Malawi market

On the market street…

Selle Anatomica Titanico X

The Titanico holding up well, and getting an admirer.

Lake Malawi Sky

Another fantastic sky.

Spoke kabobs

Steak served on spokes… only ten cents for about five pieces.

Rice fields

Rice fields.

African beards bikes bike touring

African beard-off. We saw 8 cyclists on this day. This French gentleman was doing France to Cape Toen.

Lake Malawi Sky

Another calm day on the lake.


  • Lucas

    Great set. The beard is looking good, as is the cap! I just picked up a new bike and I’m heading off on a 10-day desert adventure shortly… though it’s no Malawi.

  • Logan

    Thanks Lucas! Keep meaning to get a photo of that hat (side view). Glad to hear you are getting back in the saddle!

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