Chitimba and Livingstonia

Trip Start Nov 18, 2002
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Chitimba and Livingstonia 21st June 2008

Cornelius very kindly drove us to Chitimba and we said our huge thank you and farewells there.
Now we are staying in a lovely room overlooking the beautiful blue of Lake Malawi and the fantastic plateau of Livingstonia to the south.
Chitimba Beach Campsite is very popular with overland trucks such as Toucan, Africa Travel Company, Acacia, Oasis, Dragoman etc. It was great to meet with other Mazongu's (African for 'white skin') who were doing their 6 or 10 or even 17 week trips usually from Cape Town right up to Nairobi or vice versa. We had always been interested in what these overland truck companies had to offer in terms of comfort etc and getting to know some of the guides/drivers and their customers allowed us unlimited access to explore this very alien (to us) way of travel. It is definitely very apparent that 'you get what you pay for.' The more expensive trucks had electricity facilities for charging camera batteries, phones etc which is a must these days. Some had plug in fridges instead of just a cool box with a block of ice! Some provided thick sleep mats others said bring your own. One particular company truck didn't have glass windows in their truck just see through plastic sheeting which was no longer see through!! It was a good education for us and should anyone wish for more information/opinions on the companies then just email us.
We spent the next few days chilling out by the lake side getting to know Eddie and Carmen the Dutch owners of this place and the young kids who frequent the beach front here trying to sell their home made bracelets or personally carved key rings.
We had spent 4 nights here before we mustered up the energy to relocate for a couple of nights to Livingstonia. We stayed with Mick at Mushroom Farm who had an eco-friendly/perma-culture place. 'Perma-culture' being the 'in' word meaning eco-living by growing your own veggies etc, composting toilets (which was a new experience to us) and no mains power just solar. Mick did have the most amazing hot water bush showers which are a sheer luxury considering we had not had a hot shower for over 2 weeks. Mushroom farm afforded the best views down to the coast. It's a real mission to get there as the road is dusty, steep and 20kms long before you reach it. Luckily Mick had popped into see Eddie and Carmen and so we got a lift up. And boy were we pleased we did. Your only other option is to wait at the bottom of the Livinstonia turn-off and try to blag a lift from any vehicle going up!
Then next day we walked through the fields and paths to the small town of Livingstonia. We passed loads of children who had just finished school. Livingstonia is described in the LP as "producing a fascinating glimpse into Malawi's colonial architecture." Again it affords some quite beautiful panoramic views from its wide dusty tree-lined streets. We stopped at the Stone House for a simple lunch of rice, an omelette and tomato salsa.
We tried in vein to get entry to the church built in 1894 to see the stained-glass window featuring David Livingstone but it wasn't to be. A few days later we did however meet a couple who tried all the locked doors around the church and found one loose one. With a little gentle shove it magically opened. Myself and Martin being the sensible ones tried to find someone with the key, but it was no use.
We walked back to Mick's and spent another night there enjoying the hot showers and somewhat drunken conversations around the fire. The next day we walked ALL the way back down at a somewhat leisurely pace (we never do fast!). We left the road at times to walk down the short cuts in between the hair-pin bends. The short cuts being dried up water falls some steep natural channels cut into the stone/rock surface by the heavy rainfalls during the rainy season. Even with these short-cuts it still took us 3 hours. We were so pleased we just took a small bag with us. We arrived back at Chitimba beach campsite and collapsed in a heap at the bar! It was good to be back.
We decided to spend the next 3 days at Chitimba, having made good friends with Eddie and Carmen and in such a lovely location we could not resist staying.
After using up most of our quacher cash it was time to move on to somewhere with a bank, so on the 30th June we said our farewells to Eddie and Carmen (promising to visit again) and headed off to our next destination of Nkhata Bay via the 3rd biggest city in Malawi called Mzugu.
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