Bike Touring Malawi: From Mua to The North

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

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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.

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