Enterprise, hope and inspiration...Malawi style
The hustle and bustle of Malawi hits you as soon as you leave the airport. Just wind down the windows, let the dust and heat pour in and breathe, listen, watch and wait…
I remember my first trip to Africa as a 23 year old- I was running as fast as I could away from corporate London and realised when I landed that I had absolutely no idea where this year would take me…I was enchanted, inspired and addicted to the busy-ness around me, the never ending chatter, the tinkering of bicycle menders, the haggling of market sellers- entrepreneurship at every corner. All around me were people determined to create, market and sell their products, a raw need to get money to survive. This pure entrepreneurship was what I had been searching for, it was our drive to start our own business in this tiny slice of Africa, known to the locals as The Warm Heart. Malawi was our home for 7 years and where we set up our travel company, The Responsible Safari Company.
I run our company with my husband. Rather he runs the company and I look after our two very young children and work whenever they sleep (on the days I manage to get them to sleep at the same time!) I know I am very lucky to be able to combine being a full time mother with doing a job that I am so passionate about and try to appreciate this, even when I have work to do, a toddler to potty train and a baby to wean!
Next year our travel company is ten years old, and I want to invite you to head behind the scenes of Safari Africa and join me to discover why I believe women are the key to sustainable development in this fragile destination. I am putting together two 9 day expeditions for women. Each expedition will be tailored to your personal interests and aims to link you with inspirational Malawian women, challenge you both physically and mentally and give you an opportunity to spend time with an international group of women all passionate about sustainable development and women’s empowerment. I can’t wait!
Your journey will start before you leave and continue well after you have landed. You will begin by meeting a group of ladies whom you will have been corresponding with prior to arriving in Africa. Matched to your interests, this cross cultural entrepreneurs forum will be a fantastic starting point for your week in Malawi and may even lead to future business links and markets. After the forum, you will head out of town and into Malawi’s tea growing region, arriving at a fair trade estate in time for a sundowner, the rolling tea fields providing an incredible backdrop to watch the setting African sun and mull over your day.
An early start and time to take on the challenge of Mount Mulanje. Climb over 1,000m (5-7hrs) through beautiful woodland winding your way up to your mountain hut. Arrive in time for an afternoon swim in the natural pools and cook dinner around the fire with your guide and porters- the peace and quiet of the mountain and basic living provides amazing restoration to your aching muscles. Rise early and take an easy hike across the plateau, descend to meet your driver and transfer to Liwonde National Park for 24 hrs on safari. Arrive in time for an afternoon siesta round the pool before heading out on a night game drive, a chance to see some of the park’s nocturnal wildlife! After a night under canvas, you will rise early to the sounds of the bush and take a river boat safari- watch large herds of elephant coming to the banks of The Shire River to drink- or try and snap a malachite kingfisher diving for its lunch (one of my favourite birds!)
Then we head on to the shores of Lake Malawi and two days spent working with a local youth group who are mentoring secondary school students. Work with the girls at the village school, learn about the challenges of completing your education in Malawi, chat about career possibilities, inspire…and be inspired. Resilience, adaptability and determination are all key skills that I have learnt are paramount to reaching university or having a career as a woman in Malawi. Many of the girls at the school will be sponsored students, coming from vulnerable families and often the first female to be literate in their community. The options post school are very limited and culturally it is a lot more challenging to find a career and not be reliant on your family/husband. The aim of these days is to work on building relationships with the girls, chatting about experiences, working very closely with the community youth group and probably ending each day with a village netball match- the girls are amazing- be warned!
Your goodbyes done, it is time to head to Mumbo Island on Lake Malawi. A small motor boat will take you to this eco-island where it will be time to kick off your sandals, don your bikini, grab a good book and relax. The crystal clear water is ideal for snorkelling (and scuba diving) and the island has a number of short walking routes to stunning look out points, offering the ideal sundowner spot. Or my favourite activity… take a kayak and meander in and out of the island's bays before stopping with a cool gin and tonic as the sun dips down into Lake Malawi...
In my opening paragraph, I asked you to just watch and wait. Do you get it now? If you think you might, then please email me as I want you to join me in Malawi for our 9 Day 2018 Expedition. Hope to hear from you soon!
Email Kate: email@example.com
The Expedition- I am looking for 20 dynamic women from around the world to join two teams travelling to Malawi in May and October 2018. Each expedition is tailored to your personal interests and aims to link you with inspirational Malawian women, challenge you both physically and mentally and give you an opportunity to spend time with an international group of women all passionate about sustainable development and women’s empowerment.
• Female Entrepreneurs Forum
• Staying on a Fairtrade Tea Estate
• Taking on the challenge of hiking Mount Mulanje
• A Wildlife Safari
• 2 days spent in the village working with a group of secondary
school girls and their families.
• Final night on the idyllic Mumbo Island
Costs from: £1,500 pp
*Based on 10 pax
Inclusions: All Accommodation, Meals (where stated) All Transport (inc. fuel & driver), RSC Guide, All Project set up and support, All Activities (where applicable), Air Evacuation cover, All local Taxes and Bank Fees.
Exclusions: Return International Flights, Meals not included, Activities not included, Personal Travel Insurance, Visas, Bar Drinks, Tips & Items of a personal nature