Founded by Scottish missionaries in the late 19th century, Livingstonia sits on top of the cliffs of the Rift Valley, dropping dramatically towards Lake Malawi, 900 meters below.
From the lakeshore village of Chitimba, a 19 kilometer long horrid dirt road climbs up to Livingstonia. While we felt like heroes being thrown around in our Suzuki Jimny, most local people walk up and down, since there is no public transport. We gave several of them lifts, until our car was full to the rim.
Lukwe Eco-Camp, a few kilometers downhill from Livingstonia, is where we stayed. Our home there was an A frame, an A-shaped structure with a bed inside and no wall facing the valley. We woke up with the full view of the valley and even the lake in front of us… Beat that! In July, temperatures were a bit iffy, but bearable.
Hard to get used to were the owner’s two cats. When they got tired of racing up and down the roof made of reeds, they jumped into our bed. Other types of accommodation were tents and little chalets, all perched on the cliffs.
Another well-known lodge is Mushroom Farm, with a very similar setting with great views, but one additional attraction: an extensive well-tended permaculture garden. A very knowledgeable gardener takes visitors around for a little tip.
Besides the scenery, Livingstonia Mission is what attracts tourists – the old church, the Mission hospital, the clock tower and the quaint houses. For us though, the highlights were simply wandering around – talking to the locals, having lunch with students in the tiny restaurant next to the superb little museum and shopping amazing wooden crafts.
Had we discovered the little wooden cabins earlier – we would have stayed there. Very comfortable, cheap, right next to the quaint museum facing the breathtaking valley, we would have preferred it to the lodges quite far down the road. Maybe next time, because leaving this relaxed place was not easy.