In Malawi you’ll find the best of Africa!
We’re young, but experienced. Well organized, without losing the sense of adventure. Warm hospitality combined with being down to earth. We love spending time in nature, and also enjoy the company of great people. And most of all; we keep telling you how fantastic Malawi is, but would rather let you experience that all for yourself!
How our love for Africa started
In February 2013 we, Hessel and Dilo from the Netherlands, met on an Eco & Wildlife study trip to Tanzania. Hessel did the Eco & Wildlife training full-time and Dilo part-time, which was still possible at the time, so we did not know each other from school. We connected instantly and soon started planning our next adventure.
The year before, Hessel did his internship at a lodge in Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa, and he wanted to go see some of his friends there again. Obviously Dilo said ‘’yes’’ when he got the opportunity to join! We booked for two months and never could have imagined how much that would change our lives.
Unique experiences in South Africa
The lodge had been closed for several months because the owner couldn’t find trustworthy management and staff. We were asked to sort out some maintenance jobs rather than paying for our stay. After about two weeks we agreed to open the lodge for the weekend due to a South African public holiday, which usually means potential guests.
And we got quite a few bookings! We had some hospitality experience, but nothing like running a lodge with 26 beds. Literally while the first guests drove onto the parking, we were still running around with pillow chocolates and soap for in the bathrooms. The guests must have noticed the chaos, but it turned out to be a fun weekend and with our common sense and being down to earth, we managed to impress everyone.
Including the owner, so we became the new lodge managers. And cleaning staff, handy men, receptionists, chefs… It was a rollercoaster of hosting guests, making beds, frying eggs, doing the laundry, cutting grass, painting fences and after every thunderstorm a swimming pool in fifty shades of green.
It was a lot of hard work, early mornings and late nights, but smiling guests and positive reviews made it all worth it!
Eventually we decided to focus all our efforts on the nature reserve itself. We bought our own game viewing vehicle and developed new hiking trails. We even got the opportunity to get our own herd of eleven horses, which we trained ourselves for the safaris. What an amazing experience!
What an amazing experience! We also worked hard on the gardens and buildings, so that we could offer self-catering chalets to visitors, which worked very well in combination with the activities in the Nature Reserve.
We were living a dream and learned a lot. We were incredibly lucky to be at the right place at the right time and together with following our gut feeling and perseverance, we also started our own tour company 1 2 Travel Africa to assist more people to come experience this extraordinary continent. Here you can read our Vision & Mission.
Halfway through 2019 we got the devastating news, that the South African government didn’t want to renew our work permits. So we had to start looking for a new home for ourselves and our company 1 2 Travel Africa.
On 29 August 2019 we went on an incredible adventure with our two dogs JayJay and Mocha. A special Tourism Friendly road trip through Botswana and Zambia took us to Malawi. The ‘’Warm Heart of Africa’’ is our friend Howard’s home country and after years of hearing his stories, we all decided to move here. Malawi is working hard on conservation to restore the natural beauty, and the government wants to further develop ecotourism. We are excited to play our part!
Malawi offers the best of Africa, without having to travel long distances during your trip. This relatively small country is packed with hidden gems in nature, which you can explore with us. And the people you’ll meet here, genuinely enjoy to immerse you in their culture. On top of that, we don’t sell one-size-fits-all itineraries. During the planning stages, we really want to get to know you in video calls, to find out exactly what it is you are looking for. For us you’re not just a number, but an individual who deserves to make a trip of a lifetime.
We focus on authentic and sustainable travel in Malawi. For those who, just like us, choose their own path and don’t follow the masses!
Did you know we also regularly write blogs about Malawi and what it’s like to live here?
Like this one about the Big 5 reasons why you should travel to Malawi!