John Littlejohn, of Turriff, was sitting at the dinner table with other project workers when masked raiders came into the room.
They were targeted with machetes and clubs at their lodge in Malawi where they were staying while working on a village water project.
The 63-year-old said it was a "scary" experience but that he was determined not to let it colour his impression of the country.
The retired Scottish Water manager said: "When the first couple of them charged through the door with masks on, one carrying a gun and one carrying a machete, you very quickly realised something was not right.
"The rest of us were tied up. I was told later they used electric cable.
"At first I wondered if it was all real, but the machetes and clubs were real. And when someone points a gun at you, cocks it and tells you to get down on the ground, you get down on the ground."
The father-of-two had his camera, mobile phone and pyjama jacket stolen in the raid on October 11.
He added: "I can't deny it was scary but it could have lasted an awful lot longer and they could have had more sinister motives. Malawi is termed the warm heart of Africa and, bar that half hour, it was.."