About us

Crafted Africa was founded by our prime explorer and main man, Mike Varndell. Born in Zimbabwe and brought up in Malawi, Mike flitted off to the UK to pursue a career in finance before Africa called him home in 2009 to pack it all in and begin his dream as a travel industry guru in the form of ‘Malawian Style’.

Malawian Style went from strength to strength, starting off in the Malawi budget group tour market and slowly making its way up to high end adventure tours that now operates across Southern Africa – in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and even Botswana and Zanzibar! We soon felt it was time for a rebrand, now that our expertise extended past just Malawi – and thus Crafted Africa was born.

The success of Crafted Africa is a product of Mike’s tenacity and passion for the industry and the countries we work in, combined with our exceptional team of experienced and knowledgeable experts. Our team of rockstars blend local knowledge with international understanding of standards, offering quick response times and truly personalised service to give you trips that are intricately tailored to your needs.

For those of you that don’t know where to start in your planning, we have compiled a medley of extensively researched and well-thought-out itineraries, combining the best destinations and lodges around, with a focus on independent and sustainable boutique properties that ooze charm and character. We combine this with a myriad of adventure activities to suit your taste and that will build memories to last a lifetime – from walking safaris to helicopter or hot air balloon flights, from water-sports to cultural experiences, from mountain hiking to tiger fishing – the opportunities are endless.

So whether you’re on your honeymoon, looking for an adrenaline packed adventure, travelling with a group of friends, your family, or flying solo, give us a shout and we’ll be here to cook you up the African Adventure you’ve been dreaming of.

Sustainable Tourism

At Crafted Africa we are passionate about supporting lodges that are committed to operating sustainably and minimising their ecological footprint.

Our planet is precious and the resources it provides are finite, which is why many of the lodges we work with choose to operate by solar power; recycle and minimise their water usage; grow their own produce; reduce and recycle waste; use eco-friendly cleaning products etc.

These lodges are also involved in supporting the community, hiring local people, buying from local suppliers, supporting community programmes with conservation and community levies on their bed nights that go straight into these projects.

This levy also goes towards the environment surrounding the lodge, such as wildlife and fish conservation, reforestation projects, clean up drives and community education programmes.

Meet our Team:

Mike was born in Zimbabwe but raised in Malawi. Whilst working in the finance industry he realised he wanted a life of adventure. He threw in the towel in London and travelled across South America before the lure of home called and he moved back to Malawi. Realising a gap in the market he set up Malawian Style 8 years ago, creating exciting adventures across the Warm Heart of Africa. The business has since grown and expanded to include Zambia, with some offsets in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Mike has since hired a flourishing team of experts who he entrusts to sort out the details of the incredible trips we offer whilst he flies the Malawian flag across the world! With a keen passion for uniting like minds and showcasing this beautiful continent, he continues to strive to get tourists to visit his home nation. Where is your favourite place in Malawi? Mumbo Island. Your favourite Malawi dish? Nsima - Jokes, Funkys Kampango Curry. If you were an African animal, what would you be? A tsetse fly! Contact Mike at
mike@craftedafrica.com

Mike Varndell

Managing Founder

Mike was born in Zimbabwe but raised in Malawi. Whilst working in the finance industry he realised he wanted a life of adventure. He threw in the towel in London and travelled across South America before the lure of home called and he moved back to Malawi. Realising a gap in the market he set up Malawian Style 8 years ago, creating exciting adventures across the Warm Heart of Africa. The business has since grown and expanded to include Zambia, with some offsets in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Mike has since hired a flourishing team of experts who he entrusts to sort out the details of the incredible trips we offer whilst he flies the Malawian flag across the world! With a keen passion for uniting like minds and showcasing this beautiful continent, he continues to strive to get tourists to visit his home nation.

Where is your favourite place in Malawi?
Mumbo Island.

Your favourite Malawi dish?
Nsima – Jokes, Funkys Kampango Curry.

If you were an African animal, what would you be?
A tsetse fly!

Contact Mike at
mike@craftedafrica.com

Ronald Kampani our finance manager was born and bred in Malawi. He is the money man leading the money team (TMT) of Malawian Style. He has always been fascinated with and has a passion for numbers and nature, probably also explains why he initially majored Mathematics and minored Biology on his undergrad. He then studied finance and accounting and as fate would have it, he ended up at Malawian style doing what he loves. When he’s chasing for payment its nothing ‘personal’ just ‘finance’ :). Why should people come to Malawi? Because of its natural scenery, people & weather, plus culture. A piece of advice for someone coming to Malawi for the first time? Brace yourself for an experience of a lifetime! Sum up Malawi in one word? Epic! Contact Ronald at
ronald@craftedafrica.com

Ronald Kampani

Head of Finance

Ronald Kampani our finance manager was born and bred in Malawi. He is the money man leading the money team (TMT) of Malawian Style. He has always been fascinated with and has a passion for numbers and nature, probably also explains why he initially majored Mathematics and minored Biology on his undergrad. He then studied finance and accounting and as fate would have it, he ended up at Malawian style doing what he loves. When he’s chasing for payment its nothing ‘personal’ just ‘finance’ :).

Why should people come to Malawi?
Because of its natural scenery, people & weather, plus culture.

A piece of advice for someone coming to Malawi for the first time?
Brace yourself for an experience of a lifetime!

Sum up Malawi in one word?
Epic!

Contact Ronald at
ronald@craftedafrica.com

Gabi is our third-culture-kid, having grown up around the world; of Italian and English origin; and with her family having settled in Malawi in the 1920s, she's seen it all and after finishing her studies in 2012, Malawi was calling her home. With a strong background in hospitality management, she's a hard girl to impress so can guide you in selecting the very best accommodation to make your trip an unforgettable one. As an animal lover, foodie and photography enthusiast, Gabi would rather be camping in the bush with her camera, pasta-maker and five pets in tow. Favourite place in Malawi or Zambia? South Luangwa - a.k.a the valley of leopards. How could anyone choose differently? To me, it is the beating heart of the animal kingdom. Best travel advice for clients? Kick off your shoes often and connect with Mother Nature - it's good for the soul (and the sole)! Try to leave your mobile devices turned off and put away. You'll soon forget about them and immersing yourself entirely in the natural world is a truly priceless experience. If you were an African animal which one would you be and why? I would love to say something elegant like a leopard but as my family insist on calling me, at 5"10, a giraffe is more my speed. Contact Gabi at
gabriella@craftedafrica.com

Gabi

Sales & Marketing

Gabi is our third-culture-kid, having grown up around the world; of Italian and English origin; and with her family having settled in Malawi in the 1920s, she’s seen it all and after finishing her studies in 2012, Malawi was calling her home. With a strong background in hospitality management, she’s a hard girl to impress so can guide you in selecting the very best accommodation to make your trip an unforgettable one. As an animal lover, foodie and photography enthusiast, Gabi would rather be camping in the bush with her camera, pasta-maker and five pets in tow.

Favourite place in Malawi or Zambia?
South Luangwa – a.k.a the valley of leopards. How could anyone choose differently? To me, it is the beating heart of the animal kingdom.

Best travel advice for clients?
Kick off your shoes often and connect with Mother Nature – it’s good for the soul (and the sole)! Try to leave your mobile devices turned off and put away. You’ll soon forget about them and immersing yourself entirely in the natural world is a truly priceless experience.

If you were an African animal which one would you be and why?
I would love to say something elegant like a leopard but as my family insist on calling me, at 5″10, a giraffe is more my speed.

Contact Gabi at
gabriella@craftedafrica.com

Michael is an accidental accountant who wanted to become a rapper but was forced by his parents to go to school (#TIA) and ended up falling in love with problem-solving. After graduating in 2014, he started working for an insurance company before joining us on October 2016. He has since played a huge role alongside his mates in ensuring Malawian Style as an industry leader. Aside from punching figures, wearing suits and ties etc. he is also an adventurous traveller, African wear designer, partygoer and enjoys spending time with the MS team. Where in Malawi do you dream to go? Mulanje Mountain Why should people come to Malawi? Malawi is a Naturally beautiful, peaceful Nation with friendly citizens and has a lot to offer. What is your favorite animal of the Big5? Lion #KingoftheJungle. Contact Michael at
mchikuse@craftedafrica.com

Michael Chikuse

Accountant

Michael is an accidental accountant who wanted to become a rapper but was forced by his parents to go to school (#TIA) and ended up falling in love with problem-solving. After graduating in 2014, he started working for an insurance company before joining us on October 2016. He has since played a huge role alongside his mates in ensuring Malawian Style as an industry leader. Aside from punching figures, wearing suits and ties etc. he is also an adventurous traveller, African wear designer, partygoer and enjoys spending time with the MS team.

Where in Malawi do you dream to go?
Mulanje Mountain

Why should people come to Malawi?
Malawi is a Naturally beautiful, peaceful Nation with friendly citizens and has a lot to offer.

What is your favorite animal of the Big5?
Lion #KingoftheJungle.

Contact Michael at
mchikuse@craftedafrica.com

Tapiwa, a born and bred Malawian and has been Malawian Style’s leading lady for the last 4 years. Tapiwa is a passionate Malawi advocate having watched both the tourism and conservation sectors grow. She is eager to show you what this unique destination has to offer as well as the incredible combinations it has with its better-known neighbours. Tapiwa is a keen explorer with an eager eye for a deal with an incredible warmth please do get in touch should you wish to discuss these destinations. Where would you most like to visit in Malawi? St. Peter’s Cathedral on Likoma Island, I’ve been to Likoma and missed out on visiting the Cathedral built over 100 years ago. An architectural wonder on this small island. What is your favourite Malawi food? Mandasi’s, everyone loves a good fat cake. What is your favourite place in Malawi? Lilongwe to stay, it's home, Liwonde to Visit it's Amazing. Contact Tapiwa at
tapiwa@craftedafrica.com

Tapiwa Mayuni

Sales and Reservation Manager

Tapiwa, a born and bred Malawian and has been Malawian Style’s leading lady for the last 4 years. Tapiwa is a passionate Malawi advocate having watched both the tourism and conservation sectors grow. She is eager to show you what this unique destination has to offer as well as the incredible combinations it has with its better-known neighbours. Tapiwa is a keen explorer with an eager eye for a deal with an incredible warmth please do get in touch should you wish to discuss these destinations.

Where would you most like to visit in Malawi?
St. Peter’s Cathedral on Likoma Island, I’ve been to Likoma and missed out on visiting the Cathedral built over 100 years ago. An architectural wonder on this small island.

What is your favourite Malawi food?
Mandasi’s, everyone loves a good fat cake.

What is your favourite place in Malawi?
Lilongwe to stay, it’s home, Liwonde to Visit it’s Amazing.

Contact Tapiwa at
tapiwa@craftedafrica.com

Chifundo Malawian Style
I have been in the sales & reservations department for 5 years, booking tours across Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The destinations include Liwonde N.P, Lake Malawi, South Luangwa N.P, Lower Zambezi, Kariba, Hwange and Chobe. With every reservation that I make, I give special attention to exactly what the clients are looking for and what is important to them. I am extremely lucky, fortunate and blessed to say that “I love my job. Where in Malawi do you dream to go? Kaya Mawa at the Likoma Island What is your favourite animal in the Big5? The king of the Jungle (Lion) Why should people come to Malawi? Because of the following amazing geographical features: beautiful Lake Malawi magnificent Mulanje Mountains and splendid National Parks. Contact Chifundo at
chifundo@craftedafrica.com

Chifundo Mgomba

Reservations Manager

I have been in the sales & reservations department for 5 years, booking tours across Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The destinations include Liwonde N.P, Lake Malawi, South Luangwa N.P, Lower Zambezi, Kariba, Hwange and Chobe. With every reservation that I make, I give special attention to exactly what the clients are looking for and what is important to them. I am extremely lucky, fortunate and blessed to say that “I love my job.

Where in Malawi do you dream to go?
Kaya Mawa at the Likoma Island

What is your favourite animal in the Big5?
The king of the Jungle (Lion)

Why should people come to Malawi?
Because of the following amazing
geographical features: beautiful Lake Malawi magnificent Mulanje Mountains and splendid National Parks.

Contact Chifundo at
chifundo@craftedafrica.com

I was delighted to join Malawian style in June 2014 to help out with sales and reservations. With the experience I gained during the time, I give special attention to exactly what the clients are looking for and what is important to them. Best travel advice for clients? When planning a trip do not forget to come to Africa, the people are warm and friendly. From wildlife to the people and culture, to the landscapes, prepare yourself for spectacular sights. It is hard to have a bad day when all these are so dazzling.. Where would you most like to visit in Malawi? ): Kaya Maw in Likoma Island and Royal Livingstone Hotel in Livingstone. Your favourite Malawi food? Nsima with Chambo Contact Razziah at
razziah@craftedafrica.com

Razziah Lamarque

Sales and Reservations

I was delighted to join Malawian style in June 2014 to help out with sales and reservations. With the experience I gained during the time, I give special attention to exactly what the clients are looking for and what is important to them.

Best travel advice for clients?
When planning a trip do not forget to come to Africa, the people are warm and friendly. From wildlife to the people and culture, to the landscapes, prepare yourself for spectacular sights. It is hard to have a bad day when all these are so dazzling..

Where would you most like to visit in Malawi?
): Kaya Maw in Likoma Island and Royal Livingstone Hotel in Livingstone.

Your favourite Malawi food?
Nsima with Chambo

Contact Razziah at
razziah@craftedafrica.com

My name is Francis Tandwe and I have worked at Malawian Style as a guide for 5 years. Before that, I studied Motor Vehicle Mechanics from the year 2003 to 2005 at Binary School of Technology which is located in Lilongwe city. I worked as a mechanic for three years before I joined the tourism industry in April 2010 when I started working as a tour guide and mechanic at Kiboko Safaris. I joined the Malawian Style team as a tour guide in 2014. What is your favourite Malawi food? Nsima with nicely cooked local chicken. Favourite place in Malawi or Zambia? Mulanje Mountain - because of its location surrounded by the tea plantations and also because of its hiking challenges. What is your favourite animal in the big 5? I do enjoy the way leopards hunt! they are smart hunters with their deadly tactics.

Francis

Guide

My name is Francis Tandwe and I have worked at Malawian Style as a guide for 5 years. Before that, I studied Motor Vehicle Mechanics from the year 2003 to 2005 at Binary School of Technology which is located in Lilongwe city. I worked as a mechanic for three years before I joined the tourism industry in April 2010 when I started working as a tour guide and mechanic at Kiboko Safaris. I joined the Malawian Style team as a tour guide in 2014.

What is your favourite Malawi food?
Nsima with nicely cooked local chicken.

Favourite place in Malawi or Zambia?
Mulanje Mountain – because of its location surrounded by the tea plantations and also because of its hiking challenges.

What is your favourite animal in the big 5?
I do enjoy the way leopards hunt! they are smart hunters with their deadly tactics.

Born and raised in Malawi, I was fortunate to travel through much of Malawi i.e. Liwonde N.P, Majete Wildlife Reserve, Lake Malawi, Mulanje Mountain. My passion for being a tour guide grew when I was working as a freelance guide in the year 2009. I joined the Malawian style team in the year 2016 in the operations department. My pleasant nature and attention to detail have earned me a very good name as a tour guide. Guiding is my true passion! What is your favourite place in Malawi? Cape Maclear, Malawi. What is your favourite Malawi food? Nsima with Chambo. If you were an African animal which one would you be and why? Leopard because it is a shy animal but smart in thinking.

Emmanuel

Guide

Born and raised in Malawi, I was fortunate to travel through much of Malawi i.e. Liwonde N.P, Majete Wildlife Reserve, Lake Malawi, Mulanje Mountain. My passion for being a tour guide grew when I was working as a freelance guide in the year 2009.

I joined the Malawian style team in the year 2016 in the operations department. My pleasant nature and attention to detail have earned me a very good name as a tour guide. Guiding is my true passion!

What is your favourite place in Malawi?
Cape Maclear, Malawi.

What is your favourite Malawi food?
Nsima with Chambo.

If you were an African animal which one would you be and why?
Leopard because it is a shy animal but smart in thinking.