We are Michael and Emma, and have been running a smallholding in South Devon for several years, whilst attempting to earn a living in the construction industry. We have 3 daughters who have now, flown the nest (well, almost!) and although we shall miss them and all our family and friends enormously, this will be a once in a lifetime experience,which we hope you will enjoy too by following our progress along the way on our blog and twitter feed (whatever that is) which we will endeavour to keep updated !

smile or i will kill you

Our intention is to drive down the west coast of Africa in a Land Rover Defender 130 which will  be our home for quite a while and renting our house out whilst  we are away.

This is something we have always dreamed of and we came to the conclusion it was now or never before we get too old and decrepid . The depressing economic climate added another spur, as did the timing in respect of our animal stock which has been either,sold,rehoused with friends and neighbours etc.

It was our initial idea to simply drive, however having seen Jerry and Lisas website and read about their experiences in Nyika National Park, Malawi  we were inspired to make contact with the Nyika Trust, by coincidence, several Trustees lived quite locally. The original idea was that we would tour for 2012, hopefully ending up in Nyika towards the end of the year with a view to taking up the volunteer post when the current volunteers term was over but developments in Malawi namely the setting up of a Trans frontier Conservation Zone with neighbouring Zambia meant there will hopefully be additional funding available to enable the project to be brought forward.

The aim now is to travel to Nyika for July 2012 with a view to assisting with the construction of a permanent dam on Lake Kazuni in the Vwaza Marsh Park which neighbours Nyika.

In doing some research, we came across a website started by Sophie, a  nurse from Liverpool, who set it up to help her in assisting the Chigwere Orphanage, in Kazuni village nearby. Her efforts in respect of the nursery and in general, are amazing and we have made initial contact to hopefully help where we can by possibly taking stuff out and helping whilst out there. Huge things have been achieved on a limited budget including much funding by Sophie herself, so, if you think you can help have a look at the get involved page.

To achieve this we need to leave by early March 2012 to avoid too much of  rush.We hope to compile a daily blog of our travels posting photos etc as we go.

Job Michael Emma
Driver Mainly Sometimes
Navigator Always Never
Cook Not a lot Mostly
Cleaner Que?? Always
Mechanic Hopefully Not very likely
Fire starter Yes Trainee arsonist
 Blogger Assistant Supposedly
 Photographer Untrained/useless In theory
 Nurse Don’t know how I did it Stupid!
Twitcher Its one of those thingys! Thats nice dear

13 thoughts on “ABOUT US

  1. all the very best for you amazing adventure ahead. will be following your trip thank to cyberspace. love from pat and anfred(dave and flo’s hiking friends in Edgemead.S..A.)

  2. Hi Mike and Emma,

    All is going well in the garden in Allaleigh and Cath and Ian are very happy in their country estate and can’t believe their luck. I think that they want to stay from 3 years.

    I will be away from the 16th July for about 5 weeks. I have told Susy and we will find a suitable replacement for that time and make sure that everyone knows what is happening.

    A friend has asked for your email address to get some info from you about Africa and Malawi, will you please send it to my email address richardmscanlon@yahoo.com.

    Its wonderful to read of your adventures, and to see how you are coping with everything, the sense of humour is obviously vital!

    Best wishes,


  3. Bloody ‘ell. You aren’t half going fast. I thought you were still in Spain. Trust Michael to be able to do the repairs. My fuel filter has just blocked on the tractor and I am having to ship in the mechanic.

    I hope you are enjoying it all. We are slack-jawed at your sangfroid.

    Lots of love from all at Allaleigh. I will get Philip to look at the photos.

  4. Well, just reading your website is like a David Attenburgh award winning film! So impressed, inspired and may I say, jealous!
    Here we are in Allaleigh coping with minor floods, Toms tree falling in the lane and how to cope with the recession, and you are on this awesome adventure having such an experience and fun.
    You are clearly having a ball and We look forward to following you on this site and reading the book to be published by Tom upon your return, assuming you do return! Keep smiling and respect from Mark and Aly

  5. Hi Mike and Emma,

    I was speaking to Laura the other day and she mentioned you guys are in Africa and to check out the blog!! How exciting hope you both are enjoying the opportunity of a life time and all is well.

    Best wishes

    Stef xxx

  6. We met Mike and Emma at Ithala Game Reserve, Northern KZN, South Africa, on Christmas Eve. Both looking fit and healthy, Landy sounding strong. Lovely to meet them and looking forward to keeping up with the rest of their adventure!

    Jean and Marie, Rosie and Frankie

  7. Hi Mike and Emma.
    We saw your surname and had to say Hi! We did a similar trip in 2009/2010 and loved it! We were in a very similar position, 3 boys that have flow the nest so we took our gapyear (ish) and set off down the East coast of Africa. We now have itchy feet, rearing to get back on the road, once we have accumulated some more funds. Keep travelling!
    Trevor & Jan Rutters

  8. Hi mike is pa the juice man at pocoloco the boy you meet in the Gambia at the beach.how are you and your wife hope everything is fine?is been a while i was searching the web but i can’t see your email.this is my phone number +2206326837. wish you all the best in 2013 hope to hear from you soon.

    • hi
      nice to hear from you. in South africa at the moment heading for mozambique. Had a great time so far met some nice people. This is best way to contact as mobiles change all the time.


      mike & Emma

  9. Hi Mike and Emma, I want to write my aprication for your trip. To remeber: we met eachother in May last year in Afi drill ranch (I am the german volontair who spent her last days in the time around your arival there). Today I red you travel report and I am impressed and wish to do the same. it was a pleasure to see yournice pictures from Afi .
    I left Nigeria last year end of may and since that time I started with working again in germany. But Africa is like a virus in my blood and I cannot spent one singele day without being there in my mind.
    I wish you a safely and further impresed journey.
    My regards from Germany

  10. Hi Mike and Emma! We met you at Ithala Game reserve in South Africa just before Christmas. We are leaving on holiday to Malawi tomorrow! Doing a week’s kayaking holiday on the lake and then driving up to Nyika Plato for a few days! How can we get in touch with you?
    Jean, Marie, Rosie and Frankie du Toit